"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another."
Over the past year, God has been undeniably stirring our hearts to begin cultivating an intentional culture of honor in our staff and student body. We have been humbled and amazed by His blessings on the journey thus far, and we are only just beginning to realize the tremendous gift that God is granting us. I pray that as you read this, you will be stirred up to invite God to search your heart and, like we have, allow Him to remove anything that is hindering a culture of honor in your heart.
Honor is sort of an uncommon word. We hear it when talking about war veterans or in reference to how we should treat our parents, however, the practice of honor is meant to extend well past our relationships with our elders. According to the Word of God, honor should entirely shape the way we are with one another. It should be the foundation for how we form our actions, words, thoughts and decisions in all of our relationships. As we began our journey to understand and cultivate honor in our culture, His Word provided us with some building blocks about the nature of honor and how it behaves. We learned that it is kindly affectionate, humble, loving, and respectful. It considers the other person more significant and it is submissive. It is also kind, tender-hearted and forgiving. But, we soon found out that even if we set our minds and hearts to treat one another this way, we could still fall short in true honor. We realized that the only way that honor was going to be infused into our culture would be by receiving revelation from God. Honor is far more than a kind and uplifting word, or letting someone go in front of you in line, it is an entire mindset shift about the position we hold in relationship to one another and the kingdom of heaven.
Honor is having “this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:5) It is having the same love, thoughts, behaviors and actions toward others as Christ has for us. God began to show us that if we do not first receive and understand the position of honor that He has granted us, we will never be able to give it away. We are a lowly, rebellious, self-seeking, people who are prone to wander, yet have been given a seat at the family table of the Lord of all the earth. We have been entrusted to house His very presence in our broken, sinful bodies and are called sons and daughters with the same inheritance of Jesus Christ in His kingdom. We have been freely given His gifts, His voice, His identity, and His authority and yet we deserve none of it. If we knew that if we could just manage to comprehend the reality of honor that God has chosen to give us, we would be forever changed in awe and humility. And then, if we could fully receive the position of honor that God has granted us through His Son, everything, yes everything would be touched by it’s effects.
God chooses to look upon us through the lens of His grace and reality of the work of Christ on the cross. He sees us perfected, no longer scarred by our sin or bound to its effects. He sees us as He created us to be; profoundly effective priests and kings, carrying His kingdom of love with great ease and yet great power to the world who does not know Him. He sees us as able, powerful, beautiful, necessary and worthy. And then He simply asks us to give the same honor away. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:11-12) This is a primary desire of God’s heart for His people; that in all things, the measure that He has given to us, we would give to one another.
As the revelation came, so did the evaluation. We began to allow Him to examine our hearts and our culture to expose any ways in us that were not freely bestowing honor. And although we discovered that we are miles and miles and miles away from loving like Him, we are compelled more than ever to pursue His heart and to be changed into His likeness in this area. We realize more than ever that cultivating a culture of honor is going to take work. It has to be cultivated and practiced. It needs to be a discipline and it has to be agreed upon and held accountable by all of us. But we want our culture to be on earth as it is in heaven, and the culture of heaven is a culture defined by honor.
If you are reading this, it is not by chance. God is not only desiring for you to more fully receive the position of honor that He has granted you, but He is appointing you to grow and carry out a culture of honor in your life. Please, let us know how we can pray for you, and keep us in your prayers as we press on to know Him more.
Jessica Busboom is the Director of Oceans Edge School of Worship, and the Worship Leader for Eikon, both ministries of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. She is an amazing wife, friend, sister, daughter, and mentor to many.