I have been thinking and reflecting a lot lately about the whole subject of honor. In the world in which we live, I believe that we have forgotton what it is to truly honor each other, to honor those amongst us. I know in Australia we have the tendancy towards the tall poppy syndrome - to cut down those who it may seem to be growing taller then what we are and it can make us uncomfortable. This reflection hasn't been a just a recent thing, but something I have meditated on and off for some time now.
A few years ago I was thinking about this whole issue of honor, and I prayed to the Lord, "Father I really want to honor all the local clergy in this area, open the doors for me to do so" and he did. One pastor I spent the whole day starting early and going with him a few hours drive to help him pick up a whole heap of furniture and items from his house he was selling, and we did so and did some basic maitanence on his house such as painting and fixing the fences, cleaning the pool etc. Another pastor the Lord had me give a certain book to when he was retiring which he recieved with much thanks, another one the Lord had me knock on his doorstep and pray with him, another he had me write a letter too etc etc. all in all the Lord showed me a specific way in which I could honor every clergy person in the local area and each person recieved it with joy and thankfulness.
I think honor, respect, love are all tied up with one another, I am a mrried man, I have 5 children - and sometimes my household gets very messy, noisy and relationships can get very strained, and thats before the devil gets in and stirs the pot a bit, you know sticks the knife in the back and puts the boot in. Being honorable people can often be the hardest thing that we as Christians can be, certainly I find it hard and I reckon it is so for all of us as well at times. And I have to be honest in saying that I often fail in being an honourable man towards my family and those around me - I don't go and do what I do deliberatly, but as the Apostle Paul says about this inherent failure in us all,
"I do what I don't want to do and I don't do what I want to do"
But then I am reminded of John and him telling us that if any one has sinned we have an advocate with the father who is willing to forgive us our sins. And so I turn to the Lord and ask him for my forgiveness and for him to strengthen me to be an honorable person - or what ever other failing may have broken through in my life.
Friends we are called to be people of honour, we need to ensure that our hearts are filled with the good things of God and not of evil things, the scriptures tell us that our lips speak forth from the overflow of our hearts, and as well to ensure that our talk is not just empty words but that our words truly come from a heart of goodness.
Luk 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Mar 7:6 He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
One of the quickest and effective manners that satan uses to bring his people down is through the dishonoring of each other with our words and our actions, satan is called the accuser of the brethren, let us ensure that we do not join his ranks and find ourselves being used as his tools to bring any one down, instead let us make sure that we are used by God as instruments of his mercy and his grace to build each other up, to build those up around us, to build ourselves up. As a man of prayer, it frightens me that I could be a man of empty lips, that my prayers would be of no avail because of my own sinfulness and lack of showing others honor, instead I want my prayers to be as James says about a righteous person, fruitfull and effective - prayers that avail much, I want to be a person who reaps honor because I am a honorable person. As men and woman called to prayer, it is easy for us to become judgemental of anothers failings and shortcomings, I think the lord shows us these things about those around us, not for us to be judgemental, not to be condemning, because thats not Gods nature, but for us to put love and mercy into action and to pray into those very areas and build those people up in those areas of weakness and failings that we see in those around us.
God has been speaking to me a lot about this issue lately, perhaps I'm only sharing my own weakness and you do not share this weakness in your own life, I give Glory and Praise to our living Lord if that is so, perhaps it's an area that you struggle in, if so know that you are not struggling alone in this area, let us not ignore it, let us not give in to it, instead allow God to deal with it in our hearts, allow it not to leave our lips, to affect our thinking, to give a critical spirit a foothold in our lives.
Its my heart, it's my hope and it's my prayer that God will pour out his spirit into our hearts and truly make us honorable men and women, truly make us honorable children, that he will help us to speak forth blessings after blessings after blessings, and in return recieve Gods blessings back to us. I pray for us all, not only in the various groups I send this to, but for all those who we have a influence over, for all those we have a job to witness to, and I would ask that you in return would pray the same for me and each other as well.
May each and every one of us be the beginnings of turning the world in which we live around on it's head, may we bring honor into a broken world that glorifies dishonor, may we be world changers, may we be peace bringers, may we be glorifed as Gods people and known as such.