Almost three years ago to the day, a very special event happened.
My husband, Blake, had been deployed to a combat zone in Afghanistan for most of 2013. All of us families stateside got news that our soldiers were coming home in time for Christmas! It was a Christmas miracle!
The day arrived for the big Welcome Home Ceremony, and we all gathered in the Armory Auditorium in Broken Arrow, OK. The anticipation was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
Yet, as the time for the start of the ceremony approached and passed, we were still waiting! Things had to be just right before they could begin.
Finally, the soldiers filed in and stood at attention. Speakers addressed them and honored their service and sacrifices.
As hard as it was to see my husband just feet away and have to wait 15-20 minutes to look into his eyes and give him a bear hug, honoring these men and women was important. That pause, that remembering, that thanking them for their service was good and right and necessary.
The military is a culture of honor, and we would do well to learn how to honor those in our lives.
I recently listened to (multiple times) a teaching by Larry Stockstill on Honor (First Wednesday - Larry Stockstill). It is fantastic. In it, he defines honor as
“Looking past the person to the position.”
We are all called to different positions through different seasons of our lives. Some of us are sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, spouses, parents, friends, teachers, managers, etc.
It is biblical to give honor to different positions. Even if the people in these positions aren’t perfect. Multiple times God calls us to give honor to others.
However, honoring some people is just hard. Sometimes people can be a real treat.
The funny thing is, we rarely enter a position as an expert. We don’t master a new position over night. We grow in wisdom and favor with God and man - over time.
Goodness, when I first became a wife at 24, I was a hot mess. I sometimes look at Blake and say, “Thank you for dealing with my crazy in those early years.”
Even Jesus coming to earth did not look like what the world expected for His position.
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords showed up as a poor, vulnerable baby.
Surely God missed something here.
If honor really means looking past the person to the position, then the important part of honor is learning to look with the eyes of the Spirit instead of the eyes of the natural.
God sees beyond time and knows the end from the beginning.
We, however, need to learn to see past people’s shortcomings, or what we are so sure they can do or not do, or what we remember about them from years ago, and see how God sees - with eyes of honor.
The Wise Men (Lord, let me be like them!) are perfect examples of this. They knew the times and seasons and followed a star to come and worship the new King Jesus.
They didn’t change their mind once they arrived at a manger. (That Star GPS must have a glitch!) They were rich men, accustomed to prestige and influence. And here they were amongst animals. Giving gifts to a baby.
They had heart postures of honor because they saw with the eyes of the Spirit.
A similar story occurs in 1 Samuel 16 as the Prophet Samuel is sent to anoint the next king over Israel. He goes to Jesse’s house and asks to see his sons.
When Samuel catches a glimpse of the eldest son, he is certain this must be the new King. He’s incredibly tall and handsome and just overall very kingly:
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
If we simply look at the natural, we could miss what God is doing in those around us.
I’m so grateful when people don’t just see what I have to offer in my own strength, but honor who God has made me to be.
So let us give, “honor to whom honor is owed.”
Here are some positions we are called to honor:
- God. We honor God by keeping the Sabbath holy, and in our daily worship and spending time with Him. It can be as simple as getting on our knees in the morning and saying, “I honor You.” Also, one of the only times God says to honor Him in the Bible is with our money.
- Those in authority. Government officials, like the President, elected leaders, those making decisions for our city, and pastors. Their positions are positions of honor. Most of us will disagree with one or more of their policies. Sometimes simply being silent instead of complaining is a great way to show honor! God calls us to honor them by looking past the person to the position.
- Our spouse. Husbands and wives hold positions of honor in our lives. This one can be particularly challenging because we become so familiar with family. A famous proverb says “Familiarity breeds contempt.” One way to combat this is by purposefully choosing to honor the position your spouse holds in your life. Speak well of them, treat them like royalty, see them with the eyes of the Spirit.
- Our parents. Eph. 6:2-3 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Again, not all parents are picture perfect. Some were even abusive. Healthy boundaries are good and right, but it’s our heart posture that matters! God commands us to honor our parents.
- Our children. We train them from infancy and see all of their strengths and weaknesses, but they are God’s, and we are simple stewards. We honor their gifts and callings and who they are in the Lord.
All of this takes seeing with the eyes of the Spirit and not just our natural eyes. Honor others by looking past the person to their position.
What person/position can you show honor to today? Send a text, make a phone call, write a note, and let someone know that you honor who they are and the position they hold in your life.
Some extra resources:
John Bevere’s The Fear of the Lord.
Kris Vallaton’s teaching on Cultivating Prophetic Families and seeing those closest to you with the eyes of the Spirit.