One of verbalized codes of any military branch, or any men’s organization, is the word honor. The title for our devotional series is 30:1, taking on an ethos of coming against the odds, the theme is inspired as a Spartan shield standing against the innumerable forces. Many men have risked their lives in the name of honor. Jesus gives us the ultimate example of honor and says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Why is it that this word is often used, but seldom displayed.
Honor is not a concept, slogan, or defined statement, but honor is expressed in detailed display for the world to see, in times of distress, adversity, and trial. Throughout the pages of history, great men (and women) carried themselves with honor, they never wavered in their commitment to the gospel and faith in God. Having honor means that you not only believe in what you say, but you do it. As R.C. Sproul has been quoted as saying, “You believe in God, but do you believe God?” When things don’t go our way, do we hold tighter to honor, or do we lose our grip—do we believe what God said, so much, that we would remain steadfast? As I’ve quoted Martin Luther previously, when he stood before those who accused him of false doctrine and asked him to recant of his beliefs, he proclaimed, “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”
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Honor is more than a code, it’s a way of life. No one enjoys the company of people who lack integrity and dignity—people who talk behind other people’s backs, people who lie, or people who cheat and steal—there’s no trust for those types of people. As well, even those who do not practice righteousness know “there’s no honor among thieves.” Godly honor is different. Godly honor places others before self—the godly man lays down his life (Jn 15:13). The Apostle Paul encouraged the Roman churches, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10). Honor is an attribute which is always visible—it’s “showing.”
A month before my father passed away, he and I spent the night in a hotel room, awaiting his medical visit to Johns Hopkins University the next day. That evening and into the night, he unfolded his life to me—told me the depths of his heart and things that I had never known. He shared one story about how he was hired because of his honesty and integrity with business owners, and how he had made several deals with these owners for a specific price. The new boss was ecstatic to get the business he had never had. But when he signed and sealed the deal, the boss demanded that he go back and change the price, tell them the price had changed—my father refused—he told me that he shook hands with those men and that meant something to him—he told me that his honor and integrity was more important than a paycheck. That’s always stuck with me and the myriad of other things that he shared that night—I listened as long as he was speaking and never said a word.
• Paul writes, “Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom 12:10). Think of ways that you may become less and Jesus may become more in your life. How can you display honor today: in your home, work, or church family?
Matthew Fretwell is married, has three daughters, loves Jesus, being a dad, people, and coffee. Besides being an author (Denied Desires; Identity Theft, Sanctificagious, 30:1 Manhood), he’s Pastor of a comeback, church planting church (Oak Hall Baptist) in Sandston, Virginia, and is the founder of Job 31 Ministries. Matt’s an advocate board member of Living Bread Ministries, a global comprehensive Church Planting organization. He also writes for Church Planter Magazine. Twitter: @w84harpazo or Facebook