Honoring God begins from the heart, and it can be done in two practical ways: by maintaining communion with God and blessing Him.
On Nov 14 and 15, City Harvest Church’s executive pastor Bobby Chaw shared that honor is the open celebration of the value and achievement of another person.
One common question believers ask is, “What does God expect of me?” According to the pastor, the answer to can be distilled from the many pearls of wisdom and instructions found in the Bible.
In Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Moses gave a simple summary of how to honor the Lord: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”
The word “fear” in Hebrew means to revere, honor, and respect. Honoring God begins with the spirit and attitude of respecting and revering Him.
“Honoring God begins from within, from our hearts and our minds,” preached Pastor Bobby. In Matthew 15:7-8, Jesus said that when one’s heart, attitude and thinking are honoring, one’s outward behavior and action will follow suit.
Reading from Philippians 4:8, the pastor shared that honoring God requires one to always find something praiseworthy to think about, concerning Him. However, this may not be easy, especially when one is going through tough times and challenging circumstances.
Problems and crises bear real impact on people’s lives, and they can plunge individuals into despair, anger and disappointment, causing them to be frustrated with God. It is thus important for believers to guard their hearts and their thoughts above all else, for that will determine the course of their lives.
HOW DANIEL HONORED GOD
The pastor went on to give the example of Daniel. During the reign of King Darius, the governors and officials were envious of Daniel’s excellent spirit and distinguished career. In Daniel 6:6-9, they came together to plot against Daniel, enforcing a decree stating that anyone who prays to any god or human being, except to the king, would be thrown in the lions’ den.
Daniel was widely known to be a faithful man who never compromised his relationship with God. The decree would force Daniel to choose whether to obey or deny God. When Daniel learned about the decree, he got down on his knees three times a day, giving thanks to God just as he had done before.
In spite of the dire circumstances, Daniel was not shaken and did not react with anger, hatred, sorrow or self-pity. Instead, in the quietness of his heart, he honored, revered and gave thanks to God.
“Honoring God begins from within—an attitude of the heart,” preached Pastor Bobby. “It is not determined by outward circumstances. You can be in the most negative, most terrible circumstances but you can still honor the Lord your God.”
The pastor went on to share two ways that Christians can practically honor God.
1: COMMUNION WITH GOD
Luke 10 recorded Jesus sending out the disciples into every city to preach the gospel and heal the sick. Everywhere they went, the disciples witnessed God’s mighty power and miracles. When the disciples returned with great success, Jesus responded by giving thanks to God (Lk 10:21)
Even though the disciples gave credit to Jesus, saying that the demons were subjected the His name, He did not take credit. Instead of celebrating with the disciples, Jesus turned to the Father, giving attention to His presence and acknowledging Him.
“Jesus is always on ‘speaking terms’ with the Father,” said Pastor Bobby. He reminded the church that prayer is not something only done at night, or when they are in crisis. The Bible says Christians are to pray without ceasing, which means to carry a sense of God’s presence, revering Him and maintaining unbroken communion with Him.
According to Pastor Bobby, it also means that one will not do or say anything that will grieve the Lord. “Are the thoughts that you think and the words you say pleasing to God? What about your attitudes, actions, or behavior? Are you even aware of it, or you don’t care how God feels?”
In Galatians 5:25, Apostle Paul said, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” He mentioned this lifestyle again in 2 Corinthians 13:14, talking about the “communion of the Holy Spirit”. Communion refers to fellowship, joint participation, or intimacy.
Pastor Bobby shared that when he is too engrossed in his work, he tends to become unfriendly. However, his wife would gently remind him to smile, and he would then become aware that he is not walking in the joy of the Lord. He realized that by taking some time to pray and to surrender his burdens, worries and stress to the Lord, he would become more relaxed.
“Honoring God is to constantly be aware of His presence, preferring Him, giving Him attention, appreciation, and affection in your prayer and communion. In that process, we are transformed from glory to glory into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ,” encouraged Pastor Bobby.
2. BLESSING THE LORD
Prayer is having a sense of the Father’s presence and nearness, explained the preacher. In Luke 11:1-2, Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, which begins by blessing the name of God. Pointing to Psalm 113:2-3, the pastor shared that blessing the Lord’s name was Israel’s tradition, not something that Jesus came up with.
“In the Bible, the name of God reveals who He is and what He does,” Pastor Bobby pointed out. “It reveals His unchanging character and nature, and the people of God were to remind themselves of who He is all day long, by blessing and praising His name, from the rising of the sun to its going down.”
However, some may ask how they can bless the Lord when their lives are in a mess.
Pastor Bobby shared that it is important to understand what the word “bless” means. It is barak in Hebrew, which means to praise and to kneel. In spite of everything that is going on, one can take a moment to kneel down, and humbly praise God for His goodness.
To illustrate his point, Pastor Bobby shared the testimony of a church member, Sherry, who was a flight attendant. Due to COVID-19 and the halting of air travel, she found herself in a financial crisis overnight. It was a very difficult season for Sherry, but she did not allow these challenges to stop her from blessing the Lord. She continued to tithe, reminding herself that God is still faithful.
Recently, an opportunity came up for Sherry to work at a café. The favor of God was on her and she was quickly promoted. Her total monthly income from her various jobs is now more than what she was getting before COVID-19.
“The opposite of praise is forgetfulness,” the pastor said. “We praise so that we don’t forget the goodness of God.”
The Black Death was the deadliest pandemic recorded in human history. The reformer, Martin Luther, was personally affected by the plague when it struck. Within the span of two weeks, 18 people had died in his community. His own son suffered from the plague but thankfully recovered. However, his baby daughter died from the plague.
“All these personal challenges happened while Luther was selflessly bringing reformation to the Christian church,” shared Pastor Bobby. “Luther was serving God at the forefront of the ministry, but his own family suffered terrible tragedy.”
One could only imagine the thoughts that could have gone through Luther’s mind. Around that time, the reformer composed a famous hymn, “The Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, and its lyrics were inspired by Psalm 46.
Despite his pain, “Luther honored God,” the pastor said. “In spite of how 2020 has been for each of us, let us choose to honor God. Honoring God is not determined by our outward circumstances, but an attitude from the heart. In our prayer and communion, let us constantly be aware of the Father’s presence.”