The Power of Honor
“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.” Deuteronomy 5:16; NASB
The Message translates this verse: “Respect your father and mother— God, your God, commands it! You’ll have a long life; the land that God is giving you will treat you well.” Deuteronomy 5:16; MSG
“Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:7; NASB
God places a high premium on giving honor where it is due. The Old Testament word also means esteem, respect, and even glory. The above verse from Deuteronomy regarding honoring parents, one of the Ten Commandments, was quoted by Christ, Himself (Matthew 15:13). Paul references it again in Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” (NASB)
Holy Spirit reminds us through Paul, who wrote the book of Ephesians, that Deuteronomy 5:16 is the first commandment “with a promise.” And the promise is a powerful one - a long life! But that isn’t all it promises. The Message translation of the final part of this verse says: “The land that God is giving you will treat you well.” What a statement.
Honoring covenant and obedience to God blesses not only us but also our livelihood and that which we own. When Adam sinned, the land was cursed along with him, because it was under his authority (Genesis 3:17-19). On the other hand, Deuteronomy 28 tells us our land and crops will be blessed if we honor and obey God. Insects, plagues, drought, untimely rain - all will be kept at bay (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). Honoring God - and parents, according to these verses - causes even nature to be in balance and harmony with us; the land will treat us well.
When America was controlled predominantly by a biblical worldview, honor was taught and practiced much more consistently. In our culture today, honoring God, those in authority, parents, elders (those older than us), and even friends, has diminished greatly. We need to re-examine this biblical truth and its importance.
I want to give some honor today. It would be very appropriate to honor my biological parents in this post, both of whom are in heaven. I loved them very much and still do. I also owe them an immeasurable debt of gratitude for the spiritual heritage they gave me. One day, perhaps I will say more about them.
I also have many friends and coworkers I could honor. In this post, however, I want to honor two spiritual leaders God has used greatly in my life. One of them is now in heaven, the other, thankfully, is still running the race here on earth.
C. Peter Wagner, along with his incredible wife, Doris, was a missionary in Bolivia for 16 years. "The Great Commission has been central to my life," Peter wrote in a 2012 article for Charisma Magazine. "I committed myself to missions the night I was saved when I was 19. I spent my first 16 years of ministry as a field missionary and the next 30 years as a professor of missions." (1)
Author of over 70 books, Peter was a prolific writer. He held positions at Fuller Theological Seminary, serving as Vice President of the Charles E. Fuller Institute for Evangelism and Church Growth from 1971-79 and as a professor in the School of World Missions from 1971-99. Peter’s concept of church growth was leading people to Christ, not the transfer growth so often seen in America today. Millions have come to Christ, in part, because of his efforts.
In the 1990s, God began stirring Peter’s heart toward prayer. He studied prayer, wrote several books on the subject, gathered tens of thousands of people for prayer assemblies, and was the single greatest catalyst for the worldwide prayer movement that began in the 1990s and continues today. It was at this point that Holy Spirit brought Peter into my life. His strong belief in the power of the pen caused him to urge those of us with teachings on prayer to put them in book form. This is when I wrote the book, Intercessory Prayer, which has been used around the world. Peter wrote the foreword. His influence in my life cannot be overstated.
Dr. Wagner graduated to Heaven in 2016; his wife, Doris, is still with us and continues to minister effectively for the Lord. I thank both of these spiritual giants for their tireless, selfless dedication to the cause of Christ, and the noble examples they have been. The world is better because of Peter and Doris Wagner.
Jim and Jean Hodges are Ceci’s and my spiritual parents; Jim is the apostle we have been aligned with for over 35 years. Jim was one of our professors at Christ For the Nations Bible Institute in the late 70s. He was teaching insights on the Ekklesia and the 5-fold ministry gifts of Ephesians 4 - including apostles - way back then. I know of no one with a greater understanding of and maturity in these subjects than Jim Hodges.
Papa Jim is the greatest example of a godly man I have ever known. He has taught, equipped, and imparted to me in the areas of worship, prayer, teaching, leadership, missions, and theology. His knowledge is profound, his humility is unsurpassed, and his giftings are as great as any person I’ve ever known. Jean is his stabilizing influence, faithful co-laborer, and intercessor.
Jim and Jean lead an apostolic network - they were doing so before most people in the movement today even knew what that was - assisting hundreds of leaders, who touch millions of people, in numerous nations. These two dedicated warriors have and continue to lay down their lives for others. Unquestionably, Ceci and I are where we are today, doing what we do, because of Jim and Jean Hodges. To you both we say: “Thank you. Words are inadequate and, truly, we could never repay you. We love you dearly.”
All of you, grab your phone or paper and pen - or perhaps you’re fortunate enough to be able to do so face to face - and let someone know how grateful you are for their life. It may lengthen yours.
Pray with me:
Father, You place great value on honor. You buried Moses Yourself, washed Your disciples’ feet, and stood in honor when Stephen was ushered into Heaven. You’re amazing. May we follow Your example and demonstrate the same appreciation for our families and friends.
We thank You for the pathfinders whose road we follow. We honor the teachers and instructors upon whose insights we have fed. And we salute the cloud of witnesses whose blood, sweat, and tears have pioneered Kingdom accomplishments upon which we build today. May they find us faithful…and grateful.
In the coming revival, may we model the principle of honor. Awaken in us hearts that prefer others above ourselves, and give us Kingdom mindsets that serve the greater good. Tear down earthly kingdoms, built to promote the reputations of men and help us build only Yours. You are worthy - only You - of the highest glory. We honor You. Amen.
We declare that the coming revival will be one that values honor.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.