By: Martin Cisneros
What is Honor*? What is expected of a New Testament believer where Honor is concerned? Is Honor an universal commandment to the Body of Christ, or is it to only select members of the Body of Christ? Are there exceptions to believers regarding New Testament Honor? How is Honor exemplified in the New Testament?
I've been studying these questions for 15 years. How do I distill those studies into something you can take away from this article?
Honor is the duty-bound side of love. The Bible in telling husbands to love their wives, and in telling wives to Honor their husbands, it isn't issuing two different, mutually exclusive, commandments. They're two sides of the same commandment. For a husband to love his wife is, in part, his protecting her and her interests in the way that only he can. While a wife Honoring her husband is, in part, her protecting him and his interests in the way that only she can. When the Bible tells a wife to Honor her husband, it certainly doesn't mean that he's to remain unloved all of the days of his life. Just as when a child honors it's parents, the parents aren't being held in a loveless esteem.
Both Biblical, New Testament, love and Biblical, New Testament, Honor are the selfless promotion of the best, Biblical interests of the other person at the expense of self. Both are the highest calling of God. And both have intimacy as their ultimate harvest. Biblical intimacy is transparent knowledge of each other in a protective, nurturing environment.
Honor in a Biblical marriage would mean to esteem and prize above all others and to seek the best means of promoting your significant other, their reputations, and their effectiveness. Honor is exemplified in the New Testament by Jesus Christ in His sense of duty towards the will of God, the Abrahamic Covenant, and all of Creation everywhere. Were there exceptions to His sense of duty to God, the Covenant, and all of Creation? Did He in His teachings make it as universally applicable and binding upon others as it was upon Himself? Are there limits to our Honor for Him? Then we must all seek Him diligently and daily regarding our duties to God, our Covenants with our spouses and children, and how we as families in the Body of Christ are relating to the whole rest of the Creation of God.
To accept Biblical, New Testament Honor into the life of the Church is for each believer to embrace the responsibilities that the Bible actually declares are the responsibility of each believer. It's not a consideration of what others are or aren't doing, but about working out one's own salvation daily and letting the life of the Christian Spirit manifest in every area of life in an ever-expanding way. It's each believer admitting, "I may not have done all that I should have done yesterday, but I'm understanding a little better, today, what the Lord is expecting of me. And with His help, I'm going to live up to those things that I am understanding of His will for my life, today!" It's a life of repentance at first, but after a while it's "being all you can be." It's looking in the mirror and seeing Jesus Christ there daily! as it should be. It's saying, that "I may have blown it yesterday, but I'm going to go back and" - as much as is possible with me - "pick up yesterday's shattered pieces and try to put them back together again and be all that I should have ever been." It's an emphasis upon doing what's right and upon making things that I totally blew, yesterday, as right, today, as God enables me to. It's not an attempt at living under condemnation over a ridiculous past, but about rebuilding all that God ever intended for each of our lives - as far as each of us are willing. A lot of relationship repair instructions in the Bible would be considered in this category.
As my spiritual dad has said for years about Honor, it's doing what's right - only because it's right - and doing it right!
These things that I've written to you about today are the strength, depth, and power of a healthy overcomer's prayer life. Without Biblical Honor, neither faith nor any area of the full armour of God will work. Biblically based Honor may make you look like a lamb to the slaughter, but if you'll keep it, you'll be more than a conquerer through Him Who first loved you! It carries and is backed by the very supernatural power of God Himself. The life of a faith that overcomes the world begins with this single premise: "Honor." You'll short-circuit everything that you're trying to do with or for God without it. And without Honor, in the true spirit of dishonor, you'll wind up blaming Him or someone else for your powerless lifestyle that takes two steps forward and three or four steps backward. This that I'm talking to you about is the explosive powder keg under your walk of love that'll bring into your life all of the riches that heaven has ever promised to the believer. See: Psalm 15. You're assuming the nature of Jesus Christ when you choose to live an Honorable life. It's the decision to walk in the Word and be the same yesterday, today, and forever - just like Him. I've been walking in it for more than a decade, as of when I'm writing this. It's an exciting way to live. It's the only way to live after a while, when you realize it's at the bottomline of your intimacy with the God of heaven and earth. Again, see: Psalm 15
In every situation, make the promises, principles, and judgments of the New Testament Scriptures first priority and final authority in your life as you go about each of your days worshipping and praising the LORD with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, fasting, thanksgiving, and works of service and generocity. You'll be glad that you did! Seek the LORD through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the Name of Jesus Christ on how to apply each promise, principle, and judgment of the Scriptures each moment of the day. He'll Honor you for it!
*I've chosen to try to remember to capitalize every reference to "Honor" in this article, not to prioritize it over love or other New Testament fruit, but because it's one of the most ignored and forgotten words in the New Testament in the lives of believers.