Are you living an honorable life? To find out, take a peek at God’s Word and 10 people He says you must honor.
Honor. In today’s society, it seems nonexistent. Even so, honor still claims the attention of moviegoers, and stories of true honor still have the power to move us. But what about honor in our everyday lives? Spend some time in a crowd, at the grocery store, watching television or on social media, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that many people in our society fail to show honor. Why is that? It boils down to the fact that no one has taught them how. No one has lived honor out before them.
As Christians, we ought to be the world’s greatest example of high integrity and the most honorable men and women on the face of God’s earth. Other people should know us by our honor.
What is honor? The world defines it in many ways, but we will define honor as “a keen sense of ethical conduct.” Honor is often used to refer to one’s word being given as a guarantee. It is personal integrity, honesty and showing respect to others.
It’s time to go back to the Source of honor (God) and learn how to live honorably before God and man. In doing so, you will find that endless rewards await you. Begin today with these 10 people God says you must honor.
1. Honor God
“Those who honor me I will honor.” –1 Samuel 2:30 (NIV)
Honor is God’s system—it is His way, His being and His doing. And He expects it to be ours, too. The first place we are called to direct our honor is to Him. Revelation 5:12 says He is “worthy…to receive…honor and glory and praise” (NIV). Without complete and genuine honor to God, it will be impossible to honor anyone else. So this is where it starts.
Some people think they honor God simply because they acknowledge He exists, attend church and speak Christianese, but there is far more to it than just exterior actions. Honor cannot be faked. It only comes from the heart.
How do you honor God? His Word is clear:
- You honor God in your finances. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase” (NKJV). When you obey God by tithing and giving back to Him what is His, you absolutely demolish any plans the enemy has for your money.
- You honor God in what you say. Words of doubt, unbelief, negativity and grumbling are dishonoring to God, and they fail to acknowledge what He has done in your life. Also, coarse language or inappropriate joking is not showing honor to His vessel, which is your body and includes your mouth.
- You honor God in what you do. John 14:21 says, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.” This is how you behave day in and day out. When you deal with your family, when you are in public, and when you conduct business at work.
The more you meditate on God’s Word, the easier it will be for you to honor Him in all things because you have continually deposited His way of thinking in your heart. God bought you with a high price. He expects you to honor Him with your body (1 Corinthians 6:20).
2. Honor Your Parents
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” –Exodus 20:12 (NIV)
The command to honor your parents may seem easy to some, while much more challenging for others who were raised in negative or abusive environments. Are all parents deserving of honor? No. Does God still command it? Yes. How can you honor someone who has been cruel or who is no longer in relationship with you? You honor your parents in your heart.
Even if you cannot or do not have a relationship with your parents, you can choose not to think or speak ill of them, no matter what has happened. Forgive them for any offenses, and most importantly, pray for them.
If you have a relationship with your parents, you can honor them by respecting their age and life experiences. Don’t mock them or their abilities. Revere and respect them for who they are and what they’ve done for you. Speak with the utmost respect to them at all times. Be available to help them with any needs they may have.
When you choose to honor your parents, God says it will go well with you, and you will live long on the earth!
3. Honor Your Spouse
“Husbands…[give] honor to the wife.” –1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV)
“Let the wife see that she respects her husband.”—Ephesians 5:33 (ESV)
Do you show honor to your husband or your wife? Honor doesn’t belittle or criticize. Honor builds up and doesn’t tear down. To show honor to your spouse is to be his or her biggest fan. It’s a husband who puts his wife before himself in everything. It’s a wife who doesn’t speak disrespectfully and who shows admiration for his good qualities.
So often, when couples become comfortable with one another, it becomes easier to be less considerate than they once were with one another. However, God has commanded honor within marriage not only because it will bless both the husband, the wife, their children, grandchildren and everyone else around them, but because marriage is a type and shadow of Christ and the Church.
4. Honor Those Who Are Older
“You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged.” –Leviticus 19:32 (NASB)
There has been an alarming decline of respect for older citizens in this nation. Entire generations have determined that they know it all, so assume they know more than those who have gone before them, and they fail to show respect and honor where it is due. One such area is in that which the Bible has commanded—honoring those who are older than we are. This is a critical area of obedience for every age. There is always someone older than you are—they deserve honor.
What does it look like to honor those who are older? Be patient on the road. Make friendly conversation in public. Help them load groceries into their car. Mow an older neighbor’s yard. Invite them to lunch, or to have tea or coffee in your home. Listen when they talk, seek their advice, and respect their experience. Speak kindly to them.
5. Honor Your Boss
“Servants, be submissive to your masters…not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.” –1 Peter 2:18 (NKJV)
In 1 Peter 2:18, God is commanding us to give due respect and honor to our masters—or our employers. In 1 Timothy 6:1, we see this again, “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against” (NASB). That is the purpose of honor—to stand out as God’s children among those in the world. There are plenty of people who show dishonor to employers, but we shine His light when we honor and submit to those in authority over us.
Notice that we are to give reverence and honor not only to the good bosses and gentle masters but also to the harsh, unfair and unpleasant. If you treat with honor a dishonorable boss or superior, you will find favor with God. Of course, you don’t have to stay working there unless God tells you to, but as long as you work there, be subject to him.
6. Honor Church Leaders
“Honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work.” –1 Thessalonians 5:12
This is an area that needs serious work and correction in the lives of many believers. It is never acceptable to criticize, gossip or make cutting remarks about a pastor, minister or church leader, as these acts are in direct disobedience to the Word of God. The scripture above continues through verse 13: “[They] work hard among you and warn you against all that is wrong. Think highly of them and give them your wholehearted love because they are straining to help you” (TLB).
The Bible never says that pastors, elders, deacons, evangelists, ministers or any other church leaders will be perfect—just as none of us is perfect. The only perfect One whom God calls us to honor is Him—all others He tells us to honor out of obedience, not conditionally based on their behavior.
What does it look like to honor church leaders, including pastors, elders, ministers? Here is a short list:
- Do not speak critically of them in public or private.
- Do not talk or play around on your cellphone during their teaching.
- Open doors for them.
- If you see a need, meet it.
- Recognize them on their birthdays.
- Do not criticize their salaries or their possessions.
If you’ve been missing it in this area, repent, and begin to honor your church leaders today.
Watch as Kenneth Copeland teaches ministers the importance of living honorable lives.
7. Honor Government Officials
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God.” –Romans 13:1-2 (NKJV)
Romans 13:1-2 is not a suggestion—it is a command. First Peter 2:17 confirms that we are to “show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” (NIV).
What about ungodly authority? Think of David and Saul. David’s path to becoming king hinged on one thing—honor. And he lived up to the test. David refused to dishonor Saul, even when Saul was after his life. David chose to honor the position over the person because He knew that by doing so, he was showing honor to God.
God does not hold us blameless for dishonoring those in authority. In fact, he declares there will be a punishment for “those who follow the corrupt desire of the fleshand despise authority” (2 Peter 2:9-10, NIV).
You can honor government officials by refusing to speak against any of them. You’ll have your say—quietly—in the voting booth. You can also write respectful correspondence to voice your opinions or concerns, but if you want to see blessing and prosperity in your life, don’t block it by dishonoring those in authority. Instead, obey 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and pray for them, that we may have peace in our land.
8. Honor Police and Military
“Give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” –Romans 13:7
The recent lack of respect and honor for our police and military has been nothing less than disgraceful. Yes, a small percentage of those in these positions have behaved dishonorably, but that does not justify a lack of honor for all who serve in these positions. Jesus even prayed for the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross, saying “Father, forgive them; for they don’t know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). By praying for them, He showed honor to the soldiers who mistreated him, falsely accused him, humiliated him and, ultimately, killed him.
As believers, we should be conscious to never speak against our police or military. They serve, protect and risk their lives for you, and they deserve honor. Police officers and members of the armed forces should never buy their own meal in the presence of a believer. Be a blessing. Thank them for their service. In doing so, you will be obeying God’s Word, and it will be well-pleasing to Him.
9. Honor Your Children
“Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.” –Ephesians 6:4
You might think of honor as putting someone in a position of authority above yourself, but honor is to be extended in every direction. To honor also means “to value,” and children should be greatly valued by a society and their parents.
You honor your children by:
- Showing affection
- Spending quality time with them
- Speaking words of affirmation to them
- Making them a priority in your life
- Disciplining them.
You also honor your children by teaching them what it means to show honor. Teach them to respect God, their parents, elders, teachers, police officers, etc. Teach them simple principles, such as: When you use something that belongs to someone else, wash it, clean it, fill it with gas or fix it (even if you didn’t break it) before you return it. Whatever you borrow, return it in better condition than when you got it.
Another basic principle of honor to teach and model before your children is: Don’t lie. The most dishonorable thing you can do is to misrepresent or distort the truth. If children see their parents cheating or lying, what do you think they will end up doing?
It’s time to bring honor back—and it begins by teaching and modeling honor at home.
10. Honor Others Before Yourself
“Honor one another above yourselves.” –Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Honoring others is not always about the position, but it’s about walking in love toward all people. Jesus said that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and love our neighbor as ourself (Mark 12: 30-31). When you honor others before yourself in every situation, you will show God’s love to the world, and you will be a living testimony of who He is. This can be a real test of the will! Yet, there is an excellent reward for those who crucify the flesh to obey God’s command to love and honor others.
Watch George Pearsons and Terry Mize as they honor the fathers of the faith.
What should you do differently now that you know more about the 10 people God says you must honor? As you train yourself to be a person of honor, you will be honoring God and you will be a testimony of who He is to others. More importantly, you’ll find yourself in sweet fellowship with the Source of all honor—God Himself. It is in our honorable behavior—not in the behavior of those around us—that we will find peace, joy and blessing in our own lives.
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