Honour - The Key To Greatness
By Bro. Dimeji Ibidunni
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:27-30
Sunday 22nd November 2015
Honouring God is one of the key principles of the Kingdom. The heroes of faith in the bible were men and women who honoured God with their lives. If we are going to impact our world positively, then we must aspire to live our lives honouring God.
Our foundation scripture in 1 Samuel 2:27-30 gives us a glimpse into God’s heart on this subject: ‘Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed’.
It seems we confuse God’s honour with worshipping Him. We tend to easily worship God and overlook naively the importance of honouring Him. We find it easier to honour people than God, and this should not be the case. These words in 1 Samuel 2 states this principle clearly. Here is God’s position from this passage once again: ‘But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed’.
These words are echoed once again in Malachi 1:6, as the prophet speaks to the Israelites: “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ Whenever an individual fails to honour God, whether deliberately or inadvertently, such a person is despising Him and God becomes displeased. Here is Jesus position on this issue in Mark 7: 5-7, which reads; ‘Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ Jesus was quoting Isaiah words in Isaiah 29:13.
It is obvious from this scripture above that this subject is vital to God. Our conduct as Christians, as essential as it is, should never be at the expense of honouring God – So important was this issue that it is addressed by no fewer than two prophets in the Old Testament and by Jesus himself. So then, is it actually possible to live outwardly as a Christian and still dishonor God with our inner lives? Jesus says it is possible, because the issue of honour is a matter of the heart. Revisiting the story of Eli the high priest from our foundation scripture, we can surmise that his story is similar to that of King Saul later on in the book of Samuel. Saul’s disobedience as recorded in 1 Samuel 15 cost him his kingship and kingdom. Here is a lesson for us all to learn from – our obedience is simply an extension of our honour of God.
Jesus picks up on the subject of the culture of honour in Heaven from the story in Matthew 8: 5-13; ‘Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. The centurion’s attitude in this story amazed Jesus, simply because He honoured the grace and anointing upon Jesus’ life. It was this same disposition that led to the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. The reference to the ‘sons of the kingdom’ by Jesus should be a point of reflection for all of us. Honour is the culture that Heaven recognizes and as such, our everyday lives ought to reflect these words.
Here are some biblical definitions of the word, honour: ‘to give high respect, esteem, to regard with great respect, to revere, to appreciate'. Some anonyms that we can relate to are: ‘to treat as common or ordinary’. So here is a question to reflect on: ‘Do our lives honour God?’ Do we honour God at home, at work, or during our prayer time? Honour can be displayed in actions, words and thoughts. However, true honour is an issue of the heart. True honour emanates from the fear of God. True honour involves respecting God enough to disregard every distraction that comes our way when we are in His presence.
Many of the heroes of faith in scriptures were considered to be weird and eccentric. In fulfilling our destinies, we must realise that honoring God is the key to greatness. Honour is an issue of the heart, and here is the reason why the writer of Proverbs writes: ‘Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life’ (Proverbs 4:23 NLT). Luke 5:17-23 records the story of the paralytic man who his friends brought to Jesus while he was preaching to a crowd, including the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. God’s power was present to heal all those who were present, including the Pharisees. However, it was the paralytic man who left the room healed, as the Pharisees despised Jesus for healing the sick man on a Sabbath day. We must be careful not to despise God or His word, as this would hinder the flow of His power in our lives.
Honour, inadvertently position us for greatness – it is the doorway to the throne room of grace. When we are honoured by friends or colleagues, we usually give them unhindered access to us. This is also God’s modus operandi – He gives access to those who honour Him. Besides, honour is the key to a wealthier life. For each of us, there is a place on earth that God has demarcated for us, if we would live our lives honouring Him. There is an inheritance that Christ’s death and resurrection release to us, both spiritually and physically.
Abraham waited 25 years for the son of promise, Isaac. He was willing to let Isaac go when God requested for the boy on Mount Moriah. Such was the honour that Abraham had for God that he was distinguished wherever he went, including Egypt. Honour is a personal choice to do God’s will, even when it is not convenient. Honour is also the seed or the key to access any environment on earth. Honour decides who desires, accepts and rewards us. Honour grows in every environment and every season of life, if we can learn to harness the power therein.
Here is a quote: ‘If you succeed with your life, you would be able to trace it to those you chose to honour. If you live a life of failure, it can be traced to those you decided to dishonour'. Those who honour you qualify for a different relationship with you. Heaven only responds to our needs to the level to which we decide to honour God.
Here are four areas through which God delegates authority, which believers must live by to access their destinies: Family, Civil, Social and Spiritual. Let’s go through these four areas briefly.
Family Authority: Ephesians 6:2-3 reads, ‘“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’. The scripture is repeated at least ten times in scripture. Disagreement in families is one of the devil’s weapons to undermine this principle. As family members, we must honour our parents, irrespective of the ills that we may have experienced in the past. We must honour this principle, simply because God has decreed it.
Furthermore in 1 Corinthians 11:3, Paul writes: ‘But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God’. Some women I know have become praying women, because they married stark raving mad men! In this verse is God’s order. If God’s order is honoured, he will also honour you. Ephesians 5:23 also relates to this.
Civil or Government authority: Romans 13:1-5 reads: ‘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, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves’. For he is God’s minister to you for good. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. God desires that we honour those in Government. As Christians, we cannot speak evil of those who governance. Instead of speaking evil against those in authority, we are admonished to pray for them. Here is 1 Timothy 2:1-3: ‘Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior’. Irrespective of the behaviour of some leaders, we ought to respect the office they represent.
Social authority: Here is 1 Timothy 6:1-2, which reads: ‘Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things’ (Also see Ephesians 6:5-8). Again, we ought to obey and be subject to our bosses at work, irrespective of what they believe, morally or otherwise. That workplace could simply be a training ground for the next level that God is bringing soon, and how we behave at every point during our stay could push us along towards our next promotion or destination.
Spiritual authority: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 reads: ‘And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves’. We must dissociate ourselves from amongst those who murmur and speak against authority at work or anywhere else. Gossip is one of the problems we need to disengage from. Daniel excelled because he learnt to honour the king in authority. Honour is simply a function of the heart, and it is based on a decision, to fear Him. We must also be ready to obey God.
Here are the benefits of honouring God, as listed in Proverbs 3:1-10: These include long life (V. 1-2), favour with God and men (V. 3-4), God’s direction (V. 5-6), divine health (V. 7-8) and lastly prosperity (V. 9-10).
In conclusion, we must remember to honour those who have contributed to our lives in the past. Honour is a powerful principle, that is life-long and transgenerational. If we decide to live a life of honour, we set some up our progenies for life.
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