There are advantages in coming to the age where you recognize the repetition of life’s patterns. You see full circle cause and effect coming long before it actually materializes. As difficult as it is to watch, it does provide a certain grim satisfaction. Remember that girlfriend’s wedding you went to in loving support, all the while knowing it would never last? The prognostications and prophetic intimations about the talents in others that proved entirely sterling? The gut feelings about the men you dated and discarded or friendships formed that were graphically validated over time?
On the flip side, it’s easy to be amazingly, horribly, wrong. We would have happily bet the farm on our success in career, romance or the religion of our natural prejudices - consequently enjoying a spectacular crash and burn. Life can be a Rubik’s cube of misalignment that ends up with the wrong color on the title-page of our desire. It seems a high percentage of life is simply a numbers game: luck is a factor not easily dismissed. In the final analysis, however, attaining success is really about what you truly value. In spiritual lingo, that’s called honor.
Boil it all down to what you consider the essential ingredients of success. Ponder a brace of pivotal questions such as “What holds my respect? What defines distinction, dignity, or deference for me? Where does the majesty of existence reside? What am I prepared to give my time away for?” These are the deliberations we will answer over a lifetime, with a few revisions on the fly.
I’ve come, over time, to the inescapable conclusion that what you honor corresponds directly to the level of success you enjoy. Having said that, may I add the slight disclaimer that I’m referring to not only the accumulations of this life, but of the next. In other words, if you make a raving triumph of attainment in your natural life-span, but end up in Hell over eternity, your best accomplishments are for naught, to say the least. It ain’t over ‘till God counts the marbles.
Built profoundly deep within the pages of Scripture, line upon line, precept upon precept, chapter upon chapter, the Honor Protocol of the Kingdom of Heaven unfolds. It’s in every commandment, every story, every genealogy. The Lord clearly, emphatically and repeatedly tells us what it is He places value upon, what He loves. Even more staggeringly, He invites us to share that with Him; to embrace life in all its fullness. But let’s face it – the standards are high, and the walk isn’t easy. There’s a whole value system out there, flashing in gaudy neon lights, that flies in the face of His holiness, and gets away with it. At least, thats what it seems like.
The Word of God pulls no punches. It tells us flatly to honor God, parents, the sabbath, the tithe, authority figures, our families, our bodies, and certainly, our worship. Spiritual disciplines are the foundation upon which all other important and lasting life-choices are established. This truth is highly, highly underrated. The Lord couldn’t say it more simply than He did to the priest, Eli, when rebuking him about his unruly sons, as they commandeered the offerings of Israel’s worshippers to their own coffers.
…For them that honor me, will I honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 Samuel 2:30 KJV
The presence, and promulgation, of honor in our lives is a tree of exceedingly slow growth, which is why its accrued power is so grossly underestimated. It’s the seedling oak amidst the dirt and dandelions of everyday occurrences. Thinking it doesn’t matter when compared to the rapid-fire of other choices coming at us in the day is a common mistake. What we chose to honor is the mystical nacre multiplied patiently, layer upon layer, over everyday irritations and struggles which inevitably forms the pearl of great price in our lives. It’s our internal spiritual sculpture of what is beautiful. Honor is so divinely substanced that you have to choose to embrace it, at cost. It’s almost never convenient, and must be obtained at the pricey trade of something more accessible, and certainly more carnally desirable.
In the end, what we honor will be the gold which survives the fire (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). In fact, honor is supernaturally entwined with both wisdom and success.
Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.” Proverbs 4:5-9 KJV
When we honor what God honors, we place ourselves in the great teeming river of divine will and supernatural favor. We stop fighting the eternal pulse beat, which, without striving or strife, brings both lasting joy and attainment of desire. And the value added of doing things with holy rhythm? It never leaves a back-trail of bitterness, regret and costly brokenness. We don’t kill ourselves on the sharp shoals of our own desire.
Do you find yourself floundering and confused, unable to jump the ditch of repeating negative patterns? Recalibrate your honor investments. Gathering for worship on Sunday morning is more vitally important than you think. Tithe seriously, and watch finances stabilize. Invest passionately and deliberately in family relationships, through perplexity and vexation. Rethink your disrespectful attitudes to bosses, pastors or co-workers. Refuse to buy into the vitriol of contempt and denigration against political leaders and governmental institutions, praying for them instead. Treat your body like the temple of God it actually is by getting the exercise, nutrition and rest it requires for maximum efficiency and longevity.
Isn’t it time you took the question of honor seriously?
Photo by Bing