Competition in the Church is not a pretty thing. We have all seen the danger of comparison and competition that causes division within the Body of Christ. However, there is one passage of scripture that gives us permission to try and outdo someone else.
Romans 12:10 admonishes us to: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Paul lays down the challenge to make it your ambition to excel over others in showing honor. That should give some fuel to those of you who like to win.
So what is honor? There are many ways that honor can be defined. It literally means to place a high value upon; to elevate a person’s status. Bill Johnson defines honor as;
“celebrating who someone is without stumbling over who they are not.”
Honor is not just in the words we say about others, but it is actually shown in how we treat others and what we believe about others. The Scripture we read earlier says to, “show honor.” It must be tangible and visible, not only in our words but our actions.
No one demonstrated a lifestyle of honor better than Jesus. There was not a person He encountered that did not leave His presence feeling more valuable and significant. He did not, and does not, see us through the lens of our past, but He sees us through our Heavenly Father’s eyes and from a Heavenly perspective.
The story of Gideon in Judges 6 is one of my favorite passages as it relates to honor. Gideon is minding his own business when the Lord seems to show up out of nowhere and begins to talk with him. The Lord first reassures him that He is with him but then He addresses Gideon in a way that he doesn’t expect or believe. God Himself calls Gideon a valiant warrior. Gideon immediately does what many of us do. He discounts the words based upon his own image of himself. He begins to rattle off a litany of reasons that he couldn’t be who God says he is. Gideon declares over himself that he is an insignificant guy from an insignificant family.
But God sees something much bigger when He sees Gideon. He sees who He created Gideon to be before he was ever born. He sees the hope, the future and the dreams He longs to fulfill through Gideon’s life. He sees the identity and the victory that Gideon will be able to walk in if he will only have faith and believe. God is looking toward the future and destiny that He has for each one of us and constantly calls us up to His perspective. When Gideon finally believes the identity and destiny spoken over his life, he actually becomes who God said he was. The question is; will we believe God and take Him at His word?
God always calls us up before He sends us out.
I remember watching an episode of a show on the Discovery Channel called, Gold Rush Alaska. There was a family that sold everything they had to move to Alaska because of a belief that this particular mountain housed $15 million of gold inside of it. By the last episode, the family had not found any gold and they were out of resources and on the verge of packing up and heading home. After weeks and weeks of mining through lots of rock and dirt they discovered a small fleck of gold; small enough they could hold it in their hands. By their reaction you would have thought they won the Power Ball lottery. They begin dancing and rejoicing over a little piece of gold. Why would they get so excited about something so small and seemingly worthless compared to their investment? The reason for their celebration was the assurance that despite all the rock, dirt and debris, they knew there was gold inside. It is easy to find the dirt in someone’s life, but the real test of honor is loving people enough to find and celebrate the gold they have inside of them.
This is a principle for how honor works. When we can find a little bit of gold in another, call it out and celebrate it, the worth and value of that individual increases.
In a world where people are constantly being told who they are not, we need the Church to rise up and tell people who God says they are.
So how are you doing at finding the gold in others? Your spouse, children, siblings, co-workers? Aesop’s Fable has a well-known quote: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Contempt means to devalue. It is the opposite of honor. The more familiar we get with someone, the greater tendency we can have to dishonor them without realizing it.
There are many people who feel like Gideon. Maybe it’s you or maybe it’s someone in your life. You may feel weak, insignificant and overlooked, but God. God has given His Church a prophetic voice to tell others how He sees them and who they are to become.
Take time today to ask God how He sees you and write it down. Then ask Him to show you people in your life that need to have the gold called out in them through YOU! Everyone is invaluable to God. He just needs people who are willing to let others know it.
By Chris Bennett, Antioch Norman Lead Pastor