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"How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only." (John 5:44)

Honor. Godly honor. It's the kind of honor that keeps its words and standard of integrity no matter what. It never fails-and it always succeeds. Every day, commitments of honor are required of you. You have choices to make regarding ethics in your job, disciplining your children, keeping your marriage strong-and it's hard.

It's a choice between God's honor and man's. One brings true and sure success...and one brings shallow, temporal success that ends in ultimate failure. So, how are you doing? Do you have trouble keeping commitments? Do people take you at your word? Or have they grown skeptical of your promises?

If so, then you need honor-honor that comes from God only. You just can't live the Christian life without honor. You'll never be faithful without it. You can't be. Without honor, you don't have the power to be faithful. It's just not in you.

In John 5:41-44, Jesus told the Pharisees about honor that comes from God only:
I receive not honor from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only."
(John 5:41-44)
A lot of ministries in our day have fallen. Preachers of the gospel have fallen. Church people have fallen. But I'll tell you something, you can continue to stand, and not fall. You can be a powerful force in the earth as a believer walking by faith. But to do it, you must be honorable. God is faithful to honor you when you act honorably.

That's because you are acting in something that originated in Him! He is honorable. When you operate in Him, you operate in honor. Man's definition of honor, however, is quite different from God's. It is a derivative of the honor of God, but it is light and shallow, it is a false honor that deceives men.

Honor in the world comes from men and is given to men in what I call "the honor game." In the honor game, everything is done to gain the prestige, power and authority that other men can give. It's temporal, short-lived and dishonorable in view of what some men will do to get it.

Take what happens at times in the military, for example. One man is honored by rank. He is given honor because he has proven to be a leader of men.

The longer and better he does his job, the more promotions to higher rank he receives. Finally, he is promoted to general. Rank has privilege. It has honor. This man has come to his high position honorably. Men stand in awe of this officer, and they should.

However, some men who wear the marks of a high rank get them dishonorably by scheming, begging or doing favors to gain approval. The only reason they want rank is so they can walk in money and pride and throw their weight around. That is not honor; it is dishonor.

These schemers have the same rank, the same "honor," the same privilege, as those who deserve them, but they did not come by them honorably. They achieved man's honor man's way. God's honor takes seriously the responsibility of representing Christ to the unbeliever.

Peter exhorted believers to "[have] your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation" (1 Peter 2:12).

As a young man, I understood this kind of honor. My father raised me that way. I grew up observing the kind of honor the psalmist wrote about, the honor of a man who "sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not" (Ps. 15:4).

I understood and respected the kind of person who did the right thing regardless of the cost; the kind of person who stood his ground no matter how tough the battle or how great the temptation.

When I was in my teens, my dad had an opportunity to choose to act in the honor that comes from God-or not to. I've never forgotten the decision he made. A fellow hired my dad to work in an insurance business. Dad was very successful and was soon made district manager. Then he went on to be supervisor of the entire state of Texas operations.

The man who hired him had been planning to start his own company. He had built up a very large amount of financial reserves while working with my dad for the big company. Eventually, with the money and backing in place, the man announced that he was going to start his own company. He offered my dad a lot of money and a big chunk of the new company if my dad would come work for him.

By offering my dad this job and enticing him to leave the company, he violated his contract. So the big company filed suit against him for all those reserves he had coming. My dad became a key witness in their case. Their case hinged on my dad's answer to one question.

I remember watching as Dad took the stand. I wondered what he was going to do. There was a lot of money at stake for him. I remember how calm he looked.

"Did this man offer you a job with his new company doing the same thing that you are doing now?" the lawyer asked. My dad did not hesitate for a second, "Yes, he did," he said. I was amazed, but I was so proud. He just threw away all that money.

He just turned down position, prestige, and power-because he was honorable. Later I asked him, "Dad, how did you keep from saying what that man wanted you to say?" "It would have been a lie," he answered.

It was that simple. There had never been any question in his mind. His mind had been made up long before that situation had ever come into being. Why? Because he had already made a commitment, a commitment to be honorable. He had chosen to walk in the honor that comes from God only.

But Dad's honor didn't stop there either. No sir. Every time he saw that man from that day forward, he would walk up to him, shake his hand and ask how the new company was coming along. That man respected my dad for the rest of his life.

Choosing God's Honor
The world today often looks at the Body of Christ with a raised brow. They've not seen honor. They've seen too much dishonor. But you can help change that. You can guard your manner of life, your conversation. You can be honorable. The examples from the lives of my parents taught me a valuable lesson. I realized that honor is not hard to recognize. At times it may be hard to find, but it is easily recognized. In fact, honor stands out in the crowd because it appears foolish in the system of the world.

To be honorable requires an act of the will, an act which triggers and releases all that God has provided for us. It requires a choice between God's Word and the subtleties and deceptions of the world. It requires a choice between the spirit and the flesh. It boils down to a choice between standing and falling. If you are honorable, you will stand. If you are dishonorable, you are guaranteed to fall and bring even more dishonor to the Body of Christ.

I get so embarrassed at what people try to do as believers, walking in dishonor. We are never to use our positions as preachers of the gospel or children of God to defraud anyone.

One time when I was shopping at a convenience store, a preacher came in to purchase some shotgun shells. He began trying to talk the clerk into giving him a discount on his shells because he was a minister. It embarrassed me so. It made me so mad that he would do that to our God. It almost made me want to cuss so that clerk wouldn't think I was a preacher too.

The clerk didn't have any authority to give the man a discount even if he had wanted to anyway! The young man got really irritated at that preacher. I wonder if that preacher has any idea how much damage his preoccupation with a petty discount might have caused in that young clerk's life.

Your Word of Honor
"Brother Copeland," you may say, "I see the value of honor, and I want to walk in it. But where do I begin? How can I find this honor that comes from God only?"

Start with God and His Word. He can make you honorable. He has already honored you with His own life. He has honored you with what the Bible calls eternal life, the very life of God Himself. He administers this life to our spirit man through the Holy Spirit.

As you get into His Word and allow it to get on the inside of you, as you allow it to become you, honor will well up in you so full you'll have no desire to walk in anything else. Your spirit will experience conviction about the smallest of commitments. You'll become so tuned to His Word and His Spirit that you will become honorable in everything.

As you become honorable, you will speak the truth. You will take your words seriously. You will never distort the truth or speak idle words. You will be able to make commitments and keep them. You will be able to be faithful. You will act with the utmost of integrity. You won't want to say anything else because Matthew 5:37 says all else proceeds from evil.

Next, seek honor from God only. Jesus did not play the honor game. "I receive not honor from men: I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" (John 5:41-44).

The honor game gives each other "honor" or medals or titles in order to boost one's own sense of self-worth. It is saying you'll do something to please men, to please their ears. It makes vain commitments for fear of what men will think. It is a dishonor to God, however, to seek the honor of others rather than that which comes only from the Lord.

I made a decision a long time ago, over 30 years now, to walk in the honor that comes from God. I made a choice to stand on my word, and His Word, and to walk in integrity. I made a choice to please Him and not men-at any cost. I made a choice to stand and not fall-and I'm still standing.

You can keep standing too. Think about it. Pray about it. Then choose the honor that comes from God. When God honors you, what difference does it make what anyone else thinks? Your word and your commitments will be as good as His. He guarantees it. He's given you His word.

Excerpt permission granted by
Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka:  Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Kenneth Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God’s WORD to their lives.

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