Monday, January 10, 2011

Honours Reward Chapter 2 - Honouring Parents

The word "Honour" was expounded on in chapter two and I found it very extremely enlightening. Also extremely challenging, in a good way.
"The simplistic and literal definition of honour is "a valuing."
When you speak of the word honour to a Greek man, he thinks of something valuable, precious, weighty, such as gold. Think of it-you don't put gold in your junk drawer; rather you assign it a place of honour. Other definitions of honour are appreciation, esteem, favorable regard, respect.
Sometimes to better understand a word, look at its counterpart. The antonym of honour is dishonour. The Greek word is atimia. Some of its definitions are: to not show respect or value; to treat as common, ordinary, or menial. When you speak of dishonour to a Greek man, he would think of something common, light, and easily done away with, such as vapor. A stronger form of dishonour is to be treated shamefully and even humiliated."

Through this section especially, God challenged me; "Do I hold my parents up in highest regard with honour? Or do I ultimately treat them with dishonour, if not in word or deed but in my heart?

This is the biggest thing for me since in the outward sense, to other people I would seem to be honouring to my parents. However God does not judge from the outward, God judges the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
Do I truly honour those God has placed over me? Do I hold them in highest esteem as I would gold or silver? Do I appreciate them not for what they do for me but for who they are in my life - My parents. The very fact that God saw fit to give me to them is enough of reason alone to honour and respect them. For by honouring them I am honouring God's decision and choice for me in this life.

I know all too often I treat them with disrespect maybe not in the outward sense but most definitely at times in my heart. I treat their advice especially at times as "easily done away with", "menial", "common". Not a good thing.

We see the weight God puts on honouring parents alone in Exodus 21:17; "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death." And also in Leviticus 20:9; "If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head."
Pretty hefty punishments there in the old law regarding the dishonour of ones Father and Mother. Through these scriptures we can see God's heart on the matter quite clearly and the bible says "He does not change, He is the same" (Micah 5:2) so its safe to say that He still holds the same value on honouring parental headship. If its this important to Him, it should be this important to us.

So to wind up my findings in chapter 2 I would say that God has definitely highlighted my need for first honour and respect in the home. Change has to begin within before we can start taking it out into the world and impacting others lives ("..You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much..." Matthew 25:23). Especially in the area of honouring parental headship. It is probably the most crucial step in our journey of learning to honour even though to our generation it would seem to be the least important.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Honours Reward - John Bever Chapter 1. "Our actions have consequences for eternity"

I think the biggest thing that really stood out to me in this first chapter of Honours Reward is that every action has a consequence for all of eternity.
That there alone is enough to ponder on for a long time. It is also a very humbling thought. Even though we are forgiven our sins when we confessed Jesus as our Lord and are saved from eternal damnation, the very fact that each choice we make here and now affects how we spend eternity with Christ, is quite frankly a scary one.

This is the couple of paragraph which really stuck out at me:
"Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward." (2 John 8)
Notice John says "That we may receive a full reward." While I meditated, the word full jumped off the page. I thought, If there's a full reward, then there's a partial reward, and even a no-reward scenario. (Remember we are not talking about salvation here, but rewards.) Upon further meditation I concluded there are two applications to which John is referring. The first is the Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul states: "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).
We know immediately Paul is not addressing all humanity, for when an unbeliever is absent from the body he is not present with the Lord; rather he is in hell. This may sound harsh, but its the truth. Jesus didn't come into our world to condemn it, quite the contrary, to save it. The world was already condemned because of Adam, who sold us over to eternal death (see John 3:17-18). Only those who receive Jesus the Christ by committing their lives completely to Him will be present with the Lord when they leave behind their earthly bodies. Paul continues to address the believers.:
"Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)
Every believer will stand before Christ's Judgment Seat. On that day each of us will receive according to what we did in our short time on earth. The Today's English Version states, "We will each receive what we deserve."* Our sins will not be judged, for the blood of Jesus eradicated the eternal punishment ascribed to sin. Rather, we will be rewarded, or suffer loss, for what we did as believers. Our deeds, words, thoughts, and even motives will be inspected in the light of His Word. The temporary things on which we built our lives will be devoured which will result in loss, and the eternal will be purified into everlasting rewards."

I think that for me, this is the beginning of an understanding of the weight that our Father in Heaven puts on each and every little choice we make.

*Its funny how when we hear that said in the religious or spiritual terms we get all upset as if some sort of right has been taken away from us. Yet in our natural world and judicial system we see it as only fair and right that a person receives either punishment or reward for their various actions.