When children honor their parents, they are also glorifying God.
When children honor their parents, they are also glorifying God. (iStock photo )

As I was fasting and praying while doing a conference in Argentina, the Lord began to drop this teaching in my spirit on honor.

Several years ago, I was in a conference and I heard a pastor say that understanding this concept revolutionized his life and ministry. Immediately, I knew I was supposed to delve into this as well. As of the writing of this article, I have not yet read or listened to any teachings on this subject; thus, any overlap with other teachings is due to having the same Holy Spirit teaching us.

What Is Honor?

Honor in this context has to do with recognizing what a person is worth, celebrating who they are and what they have accomplished and making room for them according to the God-given honor they deserve. Honor is an offshoot of worship. The greatest example of worship is when a person and creature worships God as their Creator both in song, words, actions and in having no other god before the one and true God.

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Biblical examples for this are found in the book of Revelation when the elders and living creatures come before the throne of God and worship the Lamb of God. (In Revelation 4:6-11, the inhabitants of heaven worship God by giving Him glory and honor and praise.) Since humans are created and not the Creator, they should never be worshipped, but since they are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:28) they should be honored as God's image bearer and the crown of His creation (Ps. 8:3-4.)

Furthermore, honor is not exactly the same as worship but a symptom of worship in the same way heat is not the sun but an offshoot of the sun, it is not a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:3 to honor a human being. Worship is the highest and most powerful expression of honor, but honoring worthy humans for certain characteristics is absolutely vital to release kingdom harmony, synergy and power in the Earth.

As a matter of fact, God even bestows His glory upon those who follow Him faithfully (Is. 60:2) and Jesus told us in His kingdom prayer that He gives the church the glory that the Father bestowed upon Him (John 17:22; read also Eph. 3:21.)

Many pastors and leaders are frustrated because they don't sense the power and presence of God in their churches and many people are frustrated in the church because they do not feel appreciated and released into their kingdom destiny. We think this will come automatically with prayer, fasting, healings and great preaching. However, if pastors would help create a culture of honor in their church and if members would learn how to respect and honor spiritual authority, there would be an incredible release of the glory of God in our midst!

Honoring God Properly

We honor God first and foremost by ascribing to the Lord the glory due His name by having no other gods before Him. That is to say, in our lives, affections, goals and purpose, we should fully surrender to His will for our life and His kingdom. Paul described living like this as his "one thing" that he lives for, to know Christ and be conformed to His resurrection and His death. (Phil. 3:7-10)

Furthermore, since honor is based on worth and worth determines how much we financially give to someone or something, one of the primary ways God is honored in our life is by how much we sacrifice to give financially to His kingdom. Proverbs 3:9 connects financial giving with honoring the Lord, and in another place in the Pentateuch, it teaches us not to appear before the Lord empty handed (meaning, every time you assemble with God's people to worship the Lord you should bring an offering or a gift.)

In the strictest meaning of finances and honor, it means that we don't only give to a person because they are in financial need; we give to a person because it is a way we honor them for who they are and what they have done. (First Kings 10 teaches us that the kings and queens of the Earth who came to hear the wisdom of Solomon honored him for his wisdom by lavishing him with gifts even though he was already the richest person on the face of the Earth!)

Here are two principles of honoring people. Five more will follow in part 2 of this story Tuesday:

1. Honoring parents/The Fifth Commandment – Exodus 20:12 teach us to honor our father and mother so that it will go well with us in the land the Lord has given us. Because the honor of parents is the only one of the Ten Commandments that commands honor, we know that the bedrock of honoring fellow human beings starts first and foremost with honoring both physical and spiritual parents. If we cannot honor our parents, we will not be able to honor anybody body else adequately because parents are the bedrock of our childhood emotions and spiritual parents the foundation of our spiritual growth. Honoring parents also has to do with spiritual fathers and mothers in the Hebrew culture. The 1960s released upon the Earth through England and the United States a spirit of rebellion (the worst since the French Revolution!) that attempted to overthrow all religion and belief in God.

Western culture went from honoring old people for their wisdom and life experience to hating everybody over 30 years old and creating a so called "generation gap" in which parents were taught to expect their teenager to mess up and grow emotionally apart from them. Culture has never recovered from this spirit of rebellion, and now all over the world the media and advertisers glorify youth, strength, beauty and sexual ability as the highest ideals while old people are looked at as a nuisance and people to be discarded by their children and put in "old age homes." Even though the Bible says that having grey hair is a crown of wisdom, now even older people are getting face lifts, shooting themselves with Botox, dying their hair, injecting their bodies with HGH, all in an attempt to look young to keep up with what's acceptable in culture.  

Thus, as we interpret this, we understand in principle the following things:

  • Honoring your parents have to do with respecting their wisdom, experience and accomplishments by learning from the mistakes and successes of their life and building upon that to go to a higher level in life. Those who just have unforgiveness toward their parents because of their failures do not honor their parents and, consequently, will not go to another level because they aren't freed up in their emotions from the sin of unforgiveness.
  • Honoring our father and mother protects us from rebellion to authority, which is like the sin of witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23.) While honoring doesn't always mean to "obey," it has to due with having a spirit of submission, in which we weigh carefully what our biological parents say and respond to them with the utmost respect and humility.
  • Honoring authority means to pray for them and believe for their latter years to be spent in peace watching their children grow to become greater than they are.
  • Support them financially when they retire.
  • Care for them when they are sick.

2. Spiritual Authority (1 Thess. 5:12-13; Heb. 13:7-13)

  • Honoring spiritual authority has to do with allowing them to speak into your life and give you counsel.
  • Honoring spiritual authority has to do with allowing them to speak prophetically over your life.
  • Honoring spiritual authority has to do with allowing them to hold you personally accountable when you make mistakes.
  • Honoring spiritual authority has to do with allowing them to place you properly in the kingdom of God and the church. Don't presumptuously attempt to place yourself and ordain yourself in the kingdom or church.
  • Honoring spiritual authority has to do with respecting the decisions they make in the church.
  • Honoring spiritual authority has to do with receiving and walking in love with the other spiritual children of your spiritual parents.
  • Honoring your spiritual and biological parents has to do with not uncovering them to others when you discover sin in their lives (Gen. 9:20-28.)
  • Honoring spiritual authority has to do with celebrating their godly legacy and building your life upon it while at the same time retaining our own call and identity as children in life.
  • Supporting the corporate vision of the local church and or ministry founded by spiritual fathers and mothers.

For part two of this story, tune in Tuesday.

Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, futurist, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He leads several organizations, including The United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma magazine called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.

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