What Is Honor?
Have you ever been dissed? You know—disrespected, disregarded, disenfranchised, disconnected, or dishonored?
We’ve all been dissed at some time in some way. How does it make you feel? I have certainly experienced it on numerous occasions, leaving me feeling hurt, rejected and even angry.
No one likes to be the target of a diss and it speaks volumes about the perpetrator.
The Bible addresses this topic on many occasions referring to it as honoring and dishonoring. And it’s mentioned by several different writers in both the Old and New Testaments.
We’re probably all familiar with the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12 NKJV).
In order to look at honor from a biblical perspective, let’s go back to the origin of the word as it was used at the time God gave the Ten Commandments and in the days of the early church when the New Testament was penned.
|Big Walker Lookout Tower - Photo by Connie Wohlford|
Kadab, kabed, and hadar are Hebrew words for honor in the Old Testament days of Moses. Some meanings are: honorable, promote, glorify, ornament with splendor, glorious, majestic, favor, weighty—as in carrying great weight or to be ample. (1.) These words are attributed to God, people, things, and blessing from God, depending on the context.
In the time of the First Century early church the Greek word doxa was used in ascribing glory, deity, and honor to God. If doxa brings to mind the doxology—hymn of praise—sung in many churches, it’s because it is the root word for doxology. The word timé (tee-may’), meaning to value, esteem, hold in high regard, venerate, deem precious, costly, beloved, ascribe dignity, was used in reference to God, people, and things, depending on the context. (2.)
So to honor or dishonor someone was a big deal then and is a big deal now. We, in the body of Christ, need to understand honor. We need to know what honor looks like. To honor or dishonor someone is born out of an attitude of the heart.
There are three pillars of ascribing honor:
We could start with a heart of gratitude which begins with recognizing who God is next to who we are. It might seem silly but for a moment try to form a mental picture of yourself standing next to God. Can you even do such a thing? Such a thought makes me tremble.
The Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men” (Isaiah 29:13). Notice the mention of fear toward God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10a) so here is the logical place to begin. Think for a moment—to genuinely fear God, recognizing His majesty, awesomeness and power, leads to honoring Him, respecting Him, and desiring Him.
Next let’s take a look at all God has done for us. First and foremost, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to take the punishment we deserved. And let’s not forget abundant life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV). Certainly God is worthy of all honor and praise.
Paul wrote, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV).
What are ways in which we can honor our bodies and our very life?
According to 2 Peter 1:3 God has provided for us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Knowing that our body houses God Himself should inspire us to maintain our physical bodies in ways that please Him. Our eating, sleeping, and exercise habits should reflect our desire to take good care of our physical shell. Also the things we do with our bodies should honor God’s Holy Spirit who lives in us.
3- We need to honor others. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Are you now asking, “How can I honor myself and still esteem others above myself?” I’ll admit that’s a balancing act. I’ve often had a personal struggle with trying to keep too many plates in the air resulting in the neglect of myself and even my own family. We need to go about this prayerfully, seeking God every step of the way.
In his letter to the house church in Colossae, Paul gave practical advice on how to honor others. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2 NKJV).
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:12-17 NKJV).
So what does honor look like?
It’s basically living by the Golden Rule—treating others the way we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). And we should add to that other principles seen in Scripture regarding honoring God and Jesus, ourselves, and other people.
Bestowing honor to God, self, and others, (beginning in our own homes), will not only bless its recipients but will exemplify Christ in us. In this way we show others what Jesus looks like, drawing them to Him in the process. We can be assured that in so doing we’ll be pleasing God who loves to reward those who honor Him and do things His way.
How will you impart honor today?
Honor Opens New Opportunities & Rewards
Your comments are welcome.
©Copyright 2018 Connie Wohlford
1. (1) Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, by James Strong, Crusade Bible Publishers, INC., Box 90011, Nashville, TN 37209, “Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary,” pages 32 and 3513.
2. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., PO Box 3473, Peabody, Massachusetts, Fourth Printing - May 2000, pages 155-156 and 624.