The Bible defines faith as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). As we take hold of our faith, God calls us to cling to His love, the blood of Jesus and the presence of His Holy Spirit, knowing it is the substance of these things we cannot see which manifest God’s glory in our lives and carry us into eternity with our Father. Yet in our faith, God also calls us to hold steadfast to the knowledge and understanding of the spiritual laws we do not see. Just as God embedded unchanging, unalterable laws into creation (gravity, physics, seedtime and harvest), He embedded spiritual laws with the same unchanging nature into us and the atmosphere (Genesis 8:22). The struggle we face in believing such spiritual laws which state, a man reaps what he sows, pride comes before destruction and a man will be treated as he or she treats others rests in the delay between our actions and consequences – both good and bad (Galatians 6:7, Proverbs 16:18, Matthew 7:2). In Pastor Tracy’s message, Secrets to Greater Honor, she ties living a life of honor and seeing our relationships strengthened together through the spiritual law which states, “honor is no more associated with fools than snow with summer and rain with harvest,” (Provers 26:1).
Increasing our understanding of the law of honor is vital to the growth of our relationships because honor itself is engraved in the one commandment which fulfills the entire law – to love your neighbor as yourself (Galatians 5:13). While honor is most often associated with honesty, fairness and respect, it is also living with integrity towards one’s beliefs. In other words, honor is living according to what we believe rather than what we feel. Consequently, when we live in honor – when we love our neighbor as ourselves – we are expressing regardless of how someone may have cursed us, abused us or mistreated us, we believe they are valuable and are worthy of being loved. We make the decision to look past the hurt, offense, and possibly the broken trust, remembering the person standing before us is a child of God, worthy of His grace. It’s a decision which strengthens our relationships as it values the person over our situation and circumstances.
As we seek a life full of honor, we must remember every value God asks us to embrace requires us to be intentional about our behavior and mindset. Honor is no different. If we are going to live honorable lives we must make the decision to refrain from offense, speak only truth, live transparently, think before we speak and think of others before ourselves. Offense is the result of letting our feelings lead and our choices follow. When we refrain from offense, we allow the Holy Spirit to filter out the hurt within our hearts and replace it with truth regarding the people around us – a truth which echoes their identity in Christ. Only speaking truth abandons the need for self-preservation in crafting lies and carries us into a life of transparency; it ignites our transformation as we admit our faults and shortcomings, becoming more like Christ, seeking His wholeness in our situations. While God brings transformation in us through our ability to be transparent, He uses our words to transform others. Life and death is in the power of the tongue and if we adopt a lifestyle of thinking before we speak, God will fill our mouths with words seasoned with salt, for the purpose of edifying and encouraging others (Proverbs 18:21). When we pause and listen to the Holy Spirit, we engage in a lifestyle that thinks about others before ourselves. We are longer concerned with our own opinions, but become aware of how we can bring God’s presence into our conversations and the lives of others. Living through the spiritual law of honor carries us into greater relationships because it removes our pride, seeks the value in others and fully expresses God’s love.
- When you think of honoring people, do you connect it with honoring God? How is honoring people directly tied to honoring God?
- God’s word commands us to love others as we love ourselves. Do you love yourself completely as God loves you? How can your lack of confidence in God’s love towards you get in the way of how you love others?
- Are you quick to get offended when someone does something against you? What are things you can do when you feel offense starting to rise in order to shake it off and express forgiveness?
- How does thinking before you speak allow God to shift your perspective regarding the person you’re talking to? How does it enable you to share God’s love more effectively?
- Do you feel the need to preserve your identity within your relationships or are you able to be transparent with those around you? How has your self-preservation limited the growth of your relationships? How has your transparency elevated your relationships?
- What are things that get in the way of allowing you to think about others before yourself? How can you take those same things and let them to draw you into a selfless life? (example: taking the fear of a lack of finances and finding even the smallest ways to bless someone)
Thank God for lavishing His love upon you. Ask that God would open your eyes to the height, depth, width, and length of His love. Pray that He would instill that same love in your heart for everyone you come in contact with. Thank God for leading you in a lifestyle of forgiveness. Thank the Holy Spirit for guiding you in humility and transparency. Pray your words would be seasoned with salt and full of love, speaking only after you’ve taken the time to listen. Ask God to put a burden in your heart for others and the courage to be obedient to His call.
Encourage your group by reminding them as they honor one another, they are releasing God’s love into the atmosphere and hearts of others. Encourage your group to spend time in the Gospels and study how Jesus honored everyone around Him. Encourage your group members to each have someone in their lives who they can be completely transparent and honest with, knowing there won’t be any condemnation or judgement. Share ways your group members can put others first in their day to day lives.