How to Show It, and What the Bible Says
The Bible says that there are several different groups we should honor. I’m going to focus only on the three that I believe are most important for you to become all God wants you to be.
Honor Your Parents
First, we’re supposed to honor our parents. The Bible is incredibly clear on this one. It’s so important, God actually included it in his top ten in Exodus 20:12:
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Find ways you can honor them, not just because they deserve it but because it’s the right thing to do.
Honor Those in Authority
The next group that the Bible says we ought to show honor to includes those who are in authority over us. Romans 13:1-7 explains that God, in his sovereignty, has placed people in positions of leadership. In this context, verse 7 says that you should give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Notice that this verse makes a distinction between respect and honor again.)
Maybe you’d like to be the boss someday. Before you can learn to be over, you have to learn to be under. Practice being under by showing honor to those people whom God has put over you.
Honor Your Church Leaders
The third group God calls us to honor is pastors and church leaders. The Bible tells us that we are to show honor to those who are spiritually instructing and discipling us:
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. — 1 Timothy 5:17
When you show honor to those who lead you spiritually, I guarantee you that they will take very seriously the role that God has placed them in.
Since most of us have been raised in a dishonoring culture, how can we grow in honor? The English Standard Version of the Bible translates Romans 12:10 like this:
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. So it’s really that simple. Take that verse to heart, and not only show honor to other people but try to outdo one another in showing honor. What does that mean? That means that you go out of your way to demonstrate honor to them. Whether they deserve it or not (and honestly, many won’t), you give it out freely. Treat honor like it’s the most renewable resource on the planet.
At your church, single out the people who serve you. Thank them. Show them honor. Write a note to those who minister to your kids. Bring a gift to your small group leader. Email the worship pastor to say thanks for helping you grow closer to God through worship. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Lean in. Listen closely. Outdo each other. Lift them up. Encourage them. Esteem them highly. Tell them you value them, and then demonstrate it by your actions. You might just be surprised to see them grow into what you speak to them in faith.
Our culture tends to treat God as common. We’re too familiar with him. We refer to Him as “the Man Upstairs” or “the Big Guy,” or we say things like “Jesus is my homeboy.” Jesus is not your homeboy. He is the soon-to-return, ruling, reigning King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Righteous One who shed His blood so that we would live.
We have to stop treating God as common or ordinary. When we’re able to see Him as He is, we’ll honor others not because we want to be good people but because His name is on our hearts. We’re no longer common or ordinary, because having His name on us makes us valuable. We have God’s autograph written across our hearts just as a great painter would sign His masterpiece.
If you’re a Christian, what makes you valuable is the name of Jesus written on your heart. Because of what He did for us on the cross, our only reasonable response is to do something with our lives that honors Him.
We will not be a generation that gives God only lip service. Instead, we’ll show Him honor from our hearts. It’s because of what He did that we are who we are. We should value others and show them honor, and we should help them see that they were valuable enough for Jesus to give His life for.
Living with honor reminds us of who we really are, who God is, and how much He loves those around us. When we place our selfish egos on the altar of honor, we become aware of the value that God places on each and every life, including our own.
Excerpted with permission from Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel, copyright Zondervan.