Honor-A Way of Royalty (Identity in Christ Part 18)

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Made Alive in Christ-Ephesians 2:1-10

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9.

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering, Romans 8:17.

Hello beautiful people. As we journey on this investigation of our identity in Christ I wanted to talk about honor. It is a way of royalty. I wrote about honor several months back, but wanted to touch on it again. Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If you read the news, watch the news, or even engage with people you will find our culture lacks honor. Gossip, back biting, disrespect, bad mouthing, slander, put downs, sarcasm, unconstructive criticisms plague our airways and conversations. Honor is something everyone wants. Honor is not something everyone wants to give.

What is honor?

Honor: to regard with high respect or esteem, to treat with dignity.

Honor is a component of love. It is something all follows of Jesus are called to. It’s not just for some people or leaders. It’s something we are all to do. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” Jesus (John 13:34-35).

There are those who say, “We can abolish the commandments of Jesus because we are no longer under the law, but under grace.” We are under grace. Grace does not by any means take away from us doing what God has asked us to do. Grace says, “You are not made right by keeping the law, it’s by faith.” Grace also says, “If you are living under grace you will have a desire to do what is right.” We spoke a few posts ago about abiding in Christ. We will not be able to honor others without the help of the Holy Spirit. We may be able to honor people who treat us well, but we will not be able to honor those who treat us poorly. Without God, we can not do what He asks us to do (John 15:5).

By nature, humans are selfish and self-centered. We are born desiring the world to revolve around us. With God’s help we learn to be other focused and to give honor away instead of wanting it for ourselves.

When we know who we are in Christ, as the verses above tell us, we can walk in confidence. We do not have to demand anything from anyone, for we know who our Daddy is and who we belong to. We are heirs with Christ. We are not the scum on the bottom of God’s shoe. He adopted us into His family. We are a Royal Priesthood, set apart to do great things for Him. When we know who we are in Him, we can’t help but honor others. We did not deserve His love, or the gifts given us through Jesus. We are blessed beyond measure.

I don’t ascribe to the philosophy that we must focus on how awful and sinful we are to be humble. It’s actually another form of pride. It is a focus on self instead of a focus on Christ and what He has done. God has good things to say about us. He never agrees with our sin, but He does not seek to belittle us to no esteem at all. He wants us to have Christ centered esteem, clinging to His words about us. As His children, we are not scum. We are His Beloved. Also a person who does not like themselves or understand God’s personal love for them, cannot and will not be able to love or honor others. We cannot give away what we have not received.

What honor is not:

Honor is to not agree with what is wrong. Honor is to respect a person as someone valued by God. We can disagree with someone or something and still give honor. It is not a yes man or yes women mentality. It is a, “I will speak to you and about you the same way I wish for someone to do for me. I will treat you the way God would treat you.

We can fight against injustice without dishonoring others. We can teach, preach, and share the Gospel without dishonoring people. Our culture has made honor being politically correct, that is not the true definition of honor. Honor does not say what is wrong is right and what is right is wrong. Honor chooses not to humiliate, hurt, harm, harass, condemn, or destroy others. Jesus modeled honor for us. For the woman caught in adultery He said, “I do not condemn you, go and sin no more,” (John 8:11).

We are also not called to seek to control people or force them to ascribe to our belief system. Honoring others means that we allow people to make choices for themselves. God allows us the right to refuse Him. We have to give people the right to refuse us without disrespecting them or mistreating them.

I have had to ask myself the questions as a quick spot check for honor:

Would I want this said to me or about me?

Is this helping someone or hurting them?

Will the other person walk away with hope or despair?

If the person knew I said this, would they be hurt, damaged, or encouraged?

Do I treat all people like they are important to God?

Does my behavior reflect the heart of God?

The questions are not to be introspective or condemn, but to ponder if my actions or words are aligning with the heart of Jesus. I have failed at times to honor everyone; I am thankful for the grace and forgiveness of God. I know honor is something God wants to grow in all His children. I also know what it’s like to have insults hurled at me, to be disrespected, dishonored, criticized, and treated like gum on someone’s shoe. God does not treat me that way. I do not wish to do those things to others.

Every person we meet is someone Jesus died for. May we know our place in His heart and walk in our true identity as royal heirs in His Kingdom.

Final Prayer:

Father, forgive us for any ways we have not walked in love or have not honored others. Help us to abide in Your love so we are beacons of light in this dark world. Remove any negative thoughts about You, ourselves, or others. We are valuable to You. May we know it in our hearts and seek to give that love, respect, and honor to others. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

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Identity in Christ (Intro)

 

Who Are You? That is the question.

If you ask most people about themselves, they will tell you what they do for a living. They will tell you who they are married to. They will tell you where they live. They will tell you about their kids. Most people find their identity in what they have or what they do. If you dig a little deeper you will find some people who find their identity in their appearance, titles they have earned, or the opinions of other people. Guess what? All of those things can be taken away or their significance lessened. There will always be the potential that someone else has something or someone slightly more appealing. Then what is a person to do? What some Americans do, try to keep up with everyone else. The one up syndrome. Well, your car is nice, but mine is better. Oh, you got a new job, I have an amazing husband. And the nonsense continues. All the superficial things lead us to live shallow lives rooted in insecurity.

Insecurity is dangerous and limiting. When we find our identity in things that are unstable, can change like the wind, and aren’t certain, we live in constant fear that we aren’t good enough.

Insecurity  leads to:

  • Jealousy (someone is getting attention I deserve)
  • Envy/Coveting (I want what others have and don’t want them to have it)
  • Pride ( I am better than or less than others based on what I have or who I am)
  • Control/Rebellion ( I must be in control, because if I’m not, then I am afraid of the outcome)
  • Manipulation ( I don’t trust that people will do right by me so I must manipulate them to)
  • Allowing yourself to be mistreated (I am not valuable so I deserve whatever people offer)
  • Offense and misunderstanding
  • Fear of rejection/People pleasing (I must do what others want so they like me)
  • Competing and comparison (I must be better than others to prove my worth)
  • Guilt, shame, condemnation (I associate my doing with my being. If I do something improper that makes me bad instead of I did something bad)
  • Gossip, slander, backbiting, overly critical (If I don’t feel good about me, then I feel better putting others down)
  • Self hatred, Self-loathing.
  • Bragging/One upping (I must one up everyone’s story)
  • Need to be the center of attention (I only feel valued if everyone’s attention is on me)
  • Clingy, overly needy ( If people ask for space or take space I perceive it as rejection)
  • Materialism (I must have the best of everything to prove my worth)
  • Overachieving/Perfectionism (I must be perfect to be worthwhile or I am not worth anything)
  • Inability to receive love (I am not valuable therefore no one could love me)
  • Abusive relationships (Insecure men tend to verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually abuse women to show they are powerful. Insecure women tend to end up the target of abusers.)

All these things are the fruit of a lack of identity in Christ. Jesus died to give us a new identity in Him. When we received Christ we were given a new identity. The old man passed away.

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:16-17.

When you accepted Christ you were transformed into a new person, your name written in the Lamb’s book of life. You were given a new nature and redeemed nature. You were given the mind of Christ and full access to God. Over the next few weeks we will explore what this new nature is. We will explore why since we are made new, we still behave like the old, sinful man. We will talk about authority in Christ and all you have in Him. You are not what you do, who you are married to, or what you have. You are so much more. You are ROYAL! You are the King’s kid.  He does not base your worth on what you do, but on what Jesus has done. It’s the only secure identity.

Here’s what Paul tells us about our identity in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-10):

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonshipthrough Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, hemade known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

New Series Coming!

Hey friends,

I’ve talked about relationships for quite some time now. I think we’ve covered everything. If not, shoot me a message, and we’ll cover it later.

This week I will start a new series called Identity in Christ. I’m excited. I believe it will help with some of the relational issues as well. Once we know who we are in Christ and fully accept the truth of our identity, dealing with other people becomes easier.

If you want a jump start on the series start reading the book of Ephesians.

Prayer to start us off:

Abba I pray for every person who reads this blog to have an encounter with You and Your truth. May we have a deeper understanding of all Jesus paid to give us, and help us walk in our true identities as co-heirs with Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.

If you’re interested in teachings about the Father, check out http://ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com. God=Love.