Honor. The word means to prize, to put high value; to regard with great respect, esteem, devotion, and awe. Victory exists to honor God and to make disciples. The honor of God is the prime value and starting point of everything that we are and do in Victory. I believe to live one’s life to honor God is the appropriate response to everything He has done for us in our salvation and redemption. Have you ever thought about how you could live a life that honors God? To do so, we need to understand where we begin to honor God.
In the seventh chapter of Mark, we find the religious leaders complaining to Jesus, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” (Mark 7:5, ESV). Their complaint was not on the issue of having dirty hands before meals, but more on the disciples’ non-compliance to established religious tradition (of washing hands). The religious leaders valued the Scriptures, and they also valued their traditions. The problem was that they were more passionate about their traditions than upholding Scriptural truth. The Mishnah, a collection of Jewish traditions in the Talmud, states that “It is a greater offense to teach anything contrary to the voice of the Rabbis than to contradict Scripture itself.” When traditions are equated to Scriptural truth, external conformity is emphasized more and faith is reduced to mere religiosity and legalism.
Jesus responded to the religious leaders by emphasizing the supremacy of the truth of Scripture over man-made traditions. Quoting from Isaiah 29:13, Jesus reflected the state of their blindness and hypocrisy: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6b-7, ESV). Notice “honor” and “heart” are mentioned in the same sentence. Honoring God is not about the externals; it is about the heart. It is a heart issue! We cannot honor God with lip service or with religious traditions and legalism (Mark 7:8-9). To honor God, it must begin in the heart. It means to prize and value Him in our hearts above all things. This is the heart of the Great Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37, ESV). If we just honor God externally, then all our “righteous” acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) before God.
When we put high value on God; when we prize and honor Him in and from our hearts, obedience will be a joy and not a burden. Scottish theologian Peter Forsyth was right when he said, “The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master.”Honoring God from the heart and above all things leads to a life of joyful obedience to Him in all things.
We all go through challenges and adversities in life that melt our hearts. The good news is that by His grace we can live to honor God from our hearts in spite all of these. Peter encourages us, “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV). No matter what our circumstances may be, there is no need to be afraid when Jesus is in our hearts! In Him we have a living hope!
Who do you prize and value the most in your heart?