We live in a world and culture where dishonor is present everywhere. We hear and see it in the news, on social media, at work, at church, and home. People everywhere talk about how our government and those in authority aren’t doing the right thing and dishonor them by how they speak about them and expose their weaknesses.
Our society trains us to dishonor our parents and those in authority, i.e., through movies, teaching from books, and by teachers, etc. Dishonor in Greek means to treat as common, ordinary, and in Hebrew as trivial or to take it lightly. How we treat people is directly related to how we treat Jesus and the Father (Matthew 10:40 – 42).
The Lord tells us to pray for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2:1 – 3). We must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). Therefore, we must submit to imperfect leaders without dishonoring them. We don’t have to trust them, but we must honor and respect them (Romans 13:1, 7). We honor imperfect people!
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2
Jesus said that men ought always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1), and Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18 to pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit!
What does honor mean? In Oxford’s dictionary, when used as a noun, honor means high respect; great esteem; and adherence to what is right or a conventional standard of conduct. As a verb, it means to regard with great respect, to fulfill an obligation, or keep an agreement.
Honor is more than respectful behavior, i.e., being polite, courteous, and having good manners. Respect focuses on outward behavior and leads to outer conformity. Respect acknowledges a person’s position, but honor attaches worth to a person. Honor is not earned but given.
Honor in the New Testament refers to giving worth or value, such as a value in which a price is fixed. The Greek word for honor means valuing, weighty, precious, esteem, favorably regard, appreciate, and respect. We have a Biblical definition of honor when we recognize a person’s value and express it appropriately.
Honor is foundational to understanding who we are and what we are worth. Our value is not based on performance or position, as the world says. But God has placed an intrinsic value on us because He made us in His image, then gave us dominion over the earth and everything in it, and Blessed us. (Genesis 1:26 – 31).
Honor is relational! It releases the other person in a relationship to be all that they are to that other person. So, when we value or honor God for who He is, it releases Him to be all He is to us! When we recognize how God honors us, it frees us to be who we are – His children and how He made us, i.e., gifts, talents, etc. We are to honor everyone with equal value, just as God does. We all are created in His image.
For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. Psalm 8:5
Honor comes from the delegation of authority and dominion, so we must delegate authority and dominion over our lives to them when we honor someone. We often do not honor people because we don’t agree with them and their authority over us, whether in the government, at work, or home. We want to do our own thing and not have people tell us what to do.
However, the kingdom of God is a culture that embraces honor and respect for the dignity of all people. We see in 1 Peter 2:17 that we are to honor all men, love the brotherhood, fear God, and honor the king.
We are not to honor people’s behavior or worship them, but to honor the person, even when someone acts dishonorably to us. We must ask the Holy Spirit how to honor a person even when they are not treating us correctly. We also need God’s wisdom on setting boundaries and even removing ourselves honorably from an unhealthy relationship or situation when necessary.
When we set boundaries with others, we begin with love and provide truth, i.e., I have some rules and requirements. Next, give them the freedom to choose to respect or reject the rules, then share the consequences of what will happen if they decide not to follow or respect the rules. Boundaries are not something we set on another person, but boundaries are about ourselves. They help determine who is responsible for what and protect us. i.e., guard the good and not let evil destroy it.
To honor God, we give Him authority and dominion over our lives. Therefore, our hearts, will, and lives must be surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, our King. We honor God when we live a godly life (Romans 12:1 – 2; 17 – 21; Galatians 5:16, 22; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 2:15 – 16). Our God is a holy God who is loving and merciful, yet He must be honored in the fear of the Lord!
There was a time in my life when I struggled with seeing Jesus as my King, surrendering to and obeying Him. This negative attitude appeared when I watched movies or even read stories in the Bible, where people were supposed to obey their king. The Bible teaches honor, and the Holy Spirit showed me that I had a heart issue. I could see how Esther and David walked in honor of the king, trusting the Lord to give them favor. I didn’t realize I was not honoring Jesus as my King until the Holy Spirit revealed it to me. I then repented of my dishonor and surrendered my heart, will, and life to the Lord. Consecration and surrender to the Lord should be done daily.
When we walk in honor, we will receive the Blessings of God because of the blood covenant we have with Him through Jesus, and God honors His promises. When we honor God, we open ourselves up to a great reward (Proverbs 11:31)!
Some of the Blessings and rewards we receive from the Lord when we walk in honor are living a fruitful and abundant life, marriage and relationships improving, business prospers, peace, joy, etc. When we live a life that pleases and honors Him, it positions us to receive His gifts. He is a giver!
Honor originates in the heart and is an outflow of the reverential fear of the Lord. Therefore, honor is a heart issue. It must come from the heart to have pure motives. Walking in honor means doing the right thing all the time, whether people see it or not, regardless of how we are treated or liked.
We often don’t honor others because of wounds in our souls causing unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, anger, etc. Allowing the Lord to bring healing to these wounds will bring us freedom allowing us to honor others.
God looks at our hearts and places a high value on character. Honor is not just words that could be insincere, but we must create an atmosphere of honor through our words, attitudes, responses, and actions that must line up!
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.’ Matthew 15:8
Our choices form character, e.g., being truthful versus lying, honest versus dishonest, late versus punctual, etc. We do not follow situational ethics like the world, i.e., they may not lie except under pressure or when it’s to their advantage. One of the basic principles of honor is don’t lie. When we lie, we misrepresent or distort the truth, which we must not do because God’s Word and Jesus are the truth (John 17:17; 14:6)! The Holy Spirit wants to work with us to develop our character and the fruit of the Spirit that He has given us (Galatians 5:22 – 23).
We must also walk in humility because humility comes before honor. There are riches, honor, and life by humility and the fear of the LORD (Proverbs 22:4).
The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility. Proverbs 15:33
We honor God first because He is our Creator, Source, Sustainer, Owner, and Judge of all (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:1 – 3; 4:13)! He is pure, righteous, generous, love, merciful, gracious, faithful, true, Holy, all-knowing, all-powerful, and present everywhere. He is the Healer, Deliverer, and Provider! When we honor God first, we will honor other people.
He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy. Proverbs 14:31
When we don’t honor Him, what He says won’t matter to us. But we honor God by believing Him, obeying Him, glorifying Him, and giving Him praise, thanksgiving, and our tithes and offerings (Revelation 4:11; Proverbs 3:9 – 10). Also, we honor God, the Father, when we honor Jesus. (John 5:23).
God’s heart has always been to show up and be God! He wants to show Himself strong on our behalf! When we respond to Him in honor, it releases Him to be God! He longs for an intimate relationship with us that honors Him. How we value God is how we will honor Him. We must align our hearts with Him.
The enemy loves to throw things in our faces and dishonor God! Every attack of the enemy is in some way a slander against the character and nature of God (Genesis 3:1 – 6). The enemy calls into question who God is, and our responses answer how we value God.
Rob Packer states in his audio MP3, The Power of Honor, that the essence of faith is the power of agreement with God and who He is that releases His supernatural power. The Word of God has the inherent power to carry it out (Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:11). Therefore, we must walk in agreement with God and His Word.
The Lord says that if we honor Him, He will honor us (1 Samuel 2:30; Psalm 91:14 – 15; John 12:26).
Let’s look at what the Bible says about honor.
1) We are to honor God in everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 2:12).
2) We are to honor God in our bodies and spirit because our body is God’s temple, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16).
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:18 – 20
We also are not to honor ourselves to satisfy the flesh, which means we don’t give our flesh authority or dominion. We don’t allow our flesh to do whatever it wants and feels good. That will lead to destruction, but honor leads to life (Galatians 6:8).
3) We are to honor our marriage and spouse (Ephesians 5:22 – 31; Hebrews 13:4)
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
4) We must honor our father and mother (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16).
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “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.” Ephesians 6:1 – 3
Honor begins at home. When children honor their parents, it will be well with them. They will succeed and advance in life. Parents are in a God-given role of teaching their children. They lead not only through words but by example. Our children are looking to us to learn how to relate to those in authority. Are you criticizing and exposing the weaknesses of your husband or wife, your boss, your pastor, the president, etc.? Are you a peacemaker or stirring up strife and contention in your home, work, or church?
Parents are also to honor their children. Children are a reward and stewardship (Psalm 127:3; 1 Corinthians 4:2). When we instruct, discipline, and lead by example, we will raise godly children who will positively influence society.
Honor is vital in raising children and the parent-child relationship. It is essential to establish honor as a basis of family life, i.e., children honoring parents and each other and parents honoring children.
According to Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in their book “Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids,” honor is the Biblical value that brings about good behavior. Not just change but changing the deeper issues of the heart that triggered the behavior. Complaining and nagging are dishonoring. We all have selfish behavior which hinders relationships. But honor is the solution (Romans 12:10).
The Lord showed me that my way of responding to or answering my husband was dishonoring him. I didn’t always let him finish what he was saying but interrupted. The Lord showed me that my impatience was based on pride. Also, I often reacted with a loud voice or a wrong tone when I disagreed with him. The Holy Spirit taught me that when He reminded me and felt a check in my spirit, I should stop, pause, ask for forgiveness then rephrase my comments in a more honoring way. I had to do that a lot in the beginning, and it is something I have to be on guard against even today!
5) Fathers are to honor their children and wives.
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, you in turn must treat your wives with tenderness, viewing them as feminine partners who deserve to be honored, for they are co-heirs with you of the “divine grace of life,” so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7 TPT
A husband has a responsibility to serve, protect and steward his wife’s heart, to value her, see her gifts and promote them. Leading in the kingdom of God means to serve, not dominate! I love it when my husband helps me in ways he knows I would like rather than in ways he would like to help. Sometimes he does something because he knows what I would want, and other times I have had to share this with him.
6) Wives are to honor their husbands (Ephesians 5:22 – 24, 33).
The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife transforms her husband into an honored king. But the wife who disgraces her husband weakens the strength of his identity. Proverbs 12:4 TPT
When honor is in our homes, there is a spiritual buffer against the enemy’s attacks. Walking in dishonor opens the door to the enemy! Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there’s anything in your home you are allowing that creates dishonor. Are you cultivating a culture of honor in your home? Ask the Lord to show you how to apply honor in your home.
7) We are to honor older people (Leviticus 19:32).
8) Honor and respect those who are our employers (1 Timothy 6:1).
9) Honor widows (1 Timothy 5:3).
10) Honor the church elders and the body of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Peter 5:5).
When we and the body of Christ walk together in fellowship, communion, and prayer, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord will come upon us. We should not put ourselves above others to look good, wanting to be correct and better than them. No matter what team we are on in the church or the marketplace, we need to walk in honor of one another, i.e., who gets a promotion at work, who is chosen to sing on the worship team, etc.
Jesus has given us the glory so that we may be one just as the Father and Jesus are (John 17:22). When God is honored, and we walk in the reverential fear of the Lord, this atmosphere allows signs and wonders to occur. Honor releases the power of God.
So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:57 – 58
When we love God, we will honor Him and others (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 19:19). Then, the Lord can use us for His glory and advance His kingdom. How can we reach those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior if we aren’t walking in honor and love (Colossians 3:12 – 14)?
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:20 – 21
We are to reflect the same honor and glory that was bestowed upon Jesus by God the Father, and Jesus has given us (John 17:22; 2 Peter 1:17)!
I want to encourage you to spend time with the Lord and ask Him where you are dishonoring Him and others in your life. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you, then repent of any dishonor, asking the Lord to forgive you, then surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life who wants to change you into the Lord’s image, from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Next, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can express honor to them. How do You want me to honor _______? We are to live a godly life in front of our husbands, wives, children, parents, bosses, coworkers, etc. Honor empowers people and brings out their best to grow into whom they are destined to become!
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation. ® Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com
Bevere, John. (2019). Honor’s Reward: Unlocking the Power of This Forgotten Virtue. Palmer Lake, Colorado: Messenger International, Inc.
Cloud, Dr. Henry, and Dr. John Townsend. (1999). Boundaries in Marriage. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.
Copeland, Kenneth. (1992). Honor Walking in Honesty, Truth, and Integrity. Fort Worth, Texas: Kenneth Copeland Publications.
Turansky, D. Min, Scott and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. (2000). Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Shaw Waterbrook Press.
Turansky, Dr. Scott and Joanne Miller. (2005). Parenting is Heart Work. Colorado Springs, Colorado: David C. Cook