Sunday, February 18, 2018

What Is Honor?

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:

1- Those of us who are followers of Jesus know we must first honor God. What are ways we can show honor to God? He alone is worthy of our highest honor and we cannot honor God without honoring His Son. Jesus said, “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23b NKJV).
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.

2- We need to see ourselves as God sees us and honor ourselves accordingly. God deemed us worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus to reconcile us to full fellowship with our Creator. If God felt we were worth such a price we should certainly see ourselves as valuable.

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.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hugs and Hugging

Hugs and Hugging


 Many hugs to you. 

What do hugs mean to you? Your comments are welcome.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Fill Your New Year With Optimism Seven Strategies to Attain Optimism—Part 3

Fill Your New Year With Optimism
Seven Strategies to Attain Optimism—Part 3

Today’s post concludes my blog series about the seven strategies for attaining optimism. I’m talking about truth-filled hope and an outlook ordained by God that every follower of Jesus can and should attain. 

My previous two posts looked at the first five of the Seven Strategies to Attain Optimism: 1- Let go of the past. 2- Avoid getting hung up on a negative thing or situation. 3- Remember that, for everyone, life has ups and downs. 4- Watch your mouth. 5- Practice gratitude.

Today we’ll consider the last two:

6-  Surround yourself with truth –people, places, things.

Speaking of “fake news”—it doesn’t just exist in politics. We’re surrounded by half-truths, misleading information, exaggerated stories, and our own imaginations. These untruths can flood our minds with worry and wild ideas capable of pulling us down and filling us with stress.

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened,” declared Michel de Montaigne, about 500 years ago. Many of us could say the same ting today.

Photo by Aaron Burden from Unsplash
Experts report that 85%, and some 99%, of things people worry about never really happen. Pause for a moment and consider your own thought life. What thoughts occupy your mind that are not based on facts? 
Where does your imagination wander that does not lift your spirits?

I recommend we draw our thoughts into the truth of God’s Word. There we find the reality our Creator wants us to base our lives upon.

Paul tells us why: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 JKJV).

We need to allow His truth to be a lamp to the feet of our thoughts and a light for the paths we tread in our minds.

Do you believe God and His Word? The psalmist did when he wrote, “The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgements endures forever” (Psalm 119:160 NKJV).

Before His crucifixion, Jesus knew his followers had to have God’s truth and prayed to the Father: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17 NKJV). Sanctify meant to set apart. This is huge! God’s truth sets us apart from the world. It’s knowing and living by God’s truth that sets us apart from the world. We’re of another kingdom—God’s Eternal Kingdom.

So, we should look for truth in everything that crosses our paths—people, places, and things.

The better we know God and His Word, the closer will be our relationship with Him. The closer our relationship with Him, the clearer we’ll hear His voice. The clearer we hear His voice, the keener will be our sense of discernment. The keener our sense of discernment, the better will be our ability to know truth when we encounter it—in people, places, and things.

As we surround ourselves with what is right and true, the optimism that fills us will overflow to others. 

7- Remember that God will have His way in the end.

I believe we all get pretty frustrated and angry when we witness injustices, acts of violence, and tragedy. We often feel helpless and forlorn as streaming news broadcasts the horrors of abused children, terrorist acts, natural disasters, and the like.

The tsunami of bad news can bring us into a free fall of pessimism and anxiety. There are many scientific studies focusing on the affects of negative hews and experiences on a person’s well-being. But there is no way to escape bad things.

We need to continually remind ourselves that God knows, God cares, and God loves us with unfailing, unconditional love. As Christ-followers, we have an internal hope that’s like a pilot light.

A pilot light is “a small gas flame … which serves as an ignition source for a more powerful gas burner” (Wikipedia). This pilot light hope never goes out and is always there to ignite the burner that causes hope to rise up and come against a negative event.

When David was greatly distressed because all seemed lost and his men turned against him, he “encouraged himself in the Lord” because he knew his God and within him burned that flicker of hope. That pilot light of internal hope ignited the burner that caused faith and hope to rise up in his spirit (1 Samuel 30:6).

Like David, when life beats up on us and when the world appears to be going in the wrong direction we need to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow our internal hope to ignite the full flame of knowing God will have His way ultimately.

Yes, we may go through some discomfort and heartache along the way. I repeat Jesus words: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). We who are in Christ—those born-again—will be partakers of the awesome Eternal Kingdom He has waiting for us. All hardships and evil will pass away and a glorious future with our Lord and Savior Jesus awaits us.

Just now I read, in its entirety, Revelation 19-22 and was reminded that God will have His way in the end.

Revelation 19 begins, “After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude on heaven, saying ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgements, because…’” (Verses 1-2a).
“Then I saw and angel coming down from heaven and a new earth … And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new …’” (Revelation 21:1a and 4-5).

Rejoice with me in the final passage of God’s Word, “He (Jesus) who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” Revelation 22:20-21).

Let’s be encouraged by the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and allow optimism to rise up so the world will see Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Every time I read the back of His book I’m blown away by the Ancient of Days—His goodness and greatness—His amazing grace and unfailing love—His breathtaking holiness and perfect justice. In reading these Passages, we’re reminded of God’s cosmic beyond-our-imagination plan. Our God is truly an awesome God. 

I would like to challenge each of us to follow the seven strategies for attaining optimism.  We must remember the bottom line is that ultimately God will have His way and He takes care of His family in the process.

Let’s pray: Holy Father, thank You for the hope that resides in Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Please help me to be mindful of the reasons I can be optimistic. And help me encourage others as well. I know that with Your Spirit in me, I can beam with optimism even in tough times and be a light in darkness because of Your unfailing love. Thank You, Father. In Jesus name—Amen. 


Your comments are welcome.

©Copyright 2018 Connie Wohlford