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Called to Live Differently | Honor

#storychanging

Called to Live Differently | Honor

MondayPay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due… honor to whom honor.  Romans 13:7

Why do we whisper at funerals? Why do we lower our voices at Arlington Cemetery? Why is it customary to bow or curtsey before the Queen of England? Those are all ways we show honor to whom honor is due. From early childhood, we are taught to honor those who are older, those in authority, and those whose sacrifices we respect. But what is honor?

To honor someone or something means we agree with its intrinsic value. We don’t have the power to change that value, only to agree or disagree with it. When we show honor, we are agreeing that the person or entity is worthy of respect. We show dishonor when we discount an intrinsic value. But we’d better be careful. God takes dishonor seriously. When we dishonor something that has intrinsic value, we behave dishonorably. For example, some dishonor the United States by burning the flag or refusing to stand in respect. But they don’t have the power to change the nation’s value, only to disagree with its citizens. America’s intrinsic value comes from its founding principles of “liberty and justice for all.” Simply because some individuals don’t uphold a nation’s values does not make the nation dishonorable. We don’t have to like everything about a person or entity to show honor, or nothing would be honored. Honor is due God, others, and our nation because they have intrinsic value.

Final Thought:  Do you show honor wherever honor is due?

Prayer: Father, do I show honor to that which has intrinsic value? There are people and things that don’t feel worthy of honor, but your word tells me to show honor, so I will. Help me be an honorable person even when I disagree. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

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Tuesday  He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away. 
Proverbs 6:32-33

We live in a dishonorable world. Lying, greed, and lust are the norm. When we meet an honorable person, we’re surprised. They stand out from culture like the North Star in a dark sky. If we view certain actions as dishonorable, imagine how God sees them. Dishonorable behaviors were Satan’s idea, but he cloaks them in politically correct terms so we go right along with him. To help us defend ourselves, God tells us which actions are dishonorable. Topping the list are sexual sins because God honors sex only when it is between husband and wife in a covenant relationship. Any other use of it is dishonorable.

Adultery is dishonorable because it not only dishonors our bodies, it violates the covenant we made with our spouse (Luke 16:18). This verse says adulterers “get wounds and dishonor.” Homosexual acts are also dishonorable because they pervert God’s design (1 Timothy 1:9-10). And despite what our culture celebrates, premarital sex dishonors God, our own bodies, and our future spouse (1 Cor. 6:18). But we don’t like the word “adultery,” so we call it an affair. We’re offended by terms like “sodomite” and “homosexual,” so we hijacked the word “gay” in an attempt to normalize perversion. God is not persuaded by our word-swaps. Instead, He cries out: “Stop dishonoring your bodies and each other with sexual sin. I created that union for honor!”

Final Thought: In what ways have you dishonored the Lord, your body, and your marriage? He forgives when we repent.

Prayer: Lord, you know my struggles and my past. I dishonored you when I listened to Satan’s lies. I repent now and ask your forgiveness. I want to honor you, other people, and my own body by living in sexual purity. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Wednesday And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Romans 12:2

Kaci thought that trying to earn a million dollars before she was thirty was a worthy life goal. Rhett thought that sleeping with as many women as possible proved that he was a real man. Ella and Brock thought that screaming insults at each other helped them win their marriage battles. Then they surrendered to Jesus and He disagreed with all of it. Following Him meant a lot of things had to change, but they weren’t sure where to start. Fortunately, a Christian friend pointed to this verse and told them to identify the source of their thinking. When they realized why they thought the way they did, they couldn’t wait to change it.

They first recognized that their minds were enslaved (2 Peter 2:19). Satan had trapped them by convincing them that they were “free thinkers.” He hints that we’re smart to march to our own drummer. We’re marching all right, but it’s not the drummer we think it is. We are either slaves to sin OR slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:17-19). Each of the people in the illustrations are slaves to sin because their thinking is conformed to this world. To change that, they must renew their minds. We renew something by whittling away at the old and replacing it with the new. Renewing our minds means we stop imagining that we’re free thinkers and choose to think like God thinks. His word shows us how wrong we were. Christ-followers think differently.

Final Thought:  When we think differently, we act differently. What do your actions reveal about your thinking?

Prayer: Father, I want to follow you, but there are areas of my thinking that are overly influenced by this world, my culture, and my own sinful desires. I don’t want to be a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness. Help me think differently. Amen.

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Thursday But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…  2 Timothy 2:1-5

“Are we there yet?” Remember asking that from the back seat? You had no concept of time or distance. You only knew your snacks had run out and you were tired of sitting still. When you got a little older, you didn’t ask that because you’d learned to judge for yourself where you were by the signs you were passing. The MacDonald’s meant another hour. The bumpy road meant you were almost there. God gave us signs to look for, too. When these things dominate the world, we’re almost there.

The lack of honor is one indicator that we’re nearing the end of all things. Those “terrible times” are due to the lack of properly-placed honor. We stopped honoring God, so nothing else is sacred. We stopped honoring the sacredness of human life and slaughter millions of pre-born infants. We stopped honoring sexuality and invented dozens of perverse ways to gratify insatiable lust. We stopped honoring parents and grandparents and history is repeating itself. (Remember the fall of Rome?)

We stopped honoring a work ethic and are producing a generation of dependents. When the Bible warns of the “last days,” it is good news for those who live in the shadow of the cross. For everyone else, a coming horror show. Are we there yet? Almost.

Final Thought:  Read the entire list in 2 Timothy 2:15. Do any of those traits describe you?

Prayer: Father, I long for your future kingdom when you are honored as our righteous King. Help me get ready. May none of the traits on that list describe me. Help me live in a way that honors that which is worthy of honor. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Friday…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”   2 Timothy 2:1-5

God is popular—as long as no one says who He really is. As long as people can define God any way they like, they feel very spiritual claiming that “faith is important to me.” In a recent study, only 9% of professing Christians actually possess a biblical worldview. Only 34% believe salvation is through Jesus alone, 52% claim that moral standards are up to the person, and 57% believe in karma. Despite the fact that many have hijacked the name of Jesus to support their social causes, they would not have liked the real Jesus. He said divisive things like, “No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). 

Our world is filled with people who “have a form of godliness but deny its power.” From YouTube gurus to the Oprah network, self-defined spiritualists are eager to teach us how to tap into our inner power. Galatians 1:6-10 tells us what the real God thinks about that. If you’re new to Christ, you may be confused about who to trust. Here are some clues that a so-called spiritual expert might be Satan’s spokesperson. If a teacher… 1. Spells universe with a capital letter. 2. Talks about tapping into your inner deity. 3. Talks about “the Christ Consciousness.” 4. Helps you find a “spirit guide.” 5. Says “we’re ALL God’s children.” 6. Promises your best life now without Jesus. 7. Says there are many paths to God. 8. Equates health and wealth with spirituality. 9. Promises blessings in return for donations. 10. Exalts the goodness of man. Have nothing to do with them.

Final Thought:  Evaluate your teachers. Does their form of godliness honor them or honor the Lord?

Prayer: Father, you have harsh words for people who pretend to speak for you but teach Satan’s counterfeit gospel. Help me learn your word well enough that I can recognize error. Your way is narrow and I want to stay on it.  In Jesus’ name, amen.