Why Community Groups? To help us honor one another

CommunityGroups

Why Community Groups? To help us honor one another

Honor- Noun 1.) High respect, esteem. 2.) A privilege. Verb 1.) regard with great respect. 2.) fulfill (an obligation) or keep (an agreement).

Romans 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

In a recent blog, we considered the fact that the love that believers show for one another should be the defining element of our Christian community. A concept that is closely related to love is the idea of honor. As the definition above demonstrates, to honor someone is to regard them with great respect. Typically, we think of honor of something that is reserved for only the elite in our society. If we were to meet the President of the United States, or the Queen of England, we would do our best to show honor to them based upon their office and title. We honor our superiors in the workplace out of respect for their position and because we know that our future employment and raises depend on our relationship to them. Scripture tells us to honor our father and mother (Ex. 20:12), widows (1 Tim. 5:3), and elders (1 Tim 5:17). Husbands are told to honor their wives (1 Pet. 3:17). And in a general sense, Christians are to honor everyone (2 Pet. 2:17) based upon the fact that all are made in God’s image.

However, when it comes to fellow believers, Romans 12:10 tells us not just to honor one another, but to “outdo one another in showing honor!”  How do we do this? Are we supposed to have  ‘honoring games’ and hand out prizes to those who excel at showing honor- those who can outdo someone else in this? I’m not sure that is what the apostle is advocating. However, given Paul’s use of athletic metaphors and the competition that accompanies them, I do think he is trying to spur us toward some level of intensity in the honor that we show to fellow Christians. What does it mean to honor one another in this sense? Do we honor fellow Christians with the same mindset that we might honor Queen Elizabeth if we ever able to meet her?

A number of years ago, I heard Gary Smalley speak about the concept of honor and he stressed that there was a certain amount of ‘awe’ in the word and concept of honor. To honor someone is to be in awe of them. I think there is truth in what he said. But what are we in awe of? Are we to be in awe of them as individuals? It is more than just that! We should be in awe of other Christians based upon what God is doing in their lives! Every Christian is a trophy of God’s grace. We honor one another when we consider this fact and learn the story of God’s grace in each other’s lives. We tend to have more compassion when we consider that they, like us, are in the process of being made like Christ! As we look at other Christians, we should see them as fellow saints, as being in Christ; but we also need to see them as being ‘in process’. They are a work that is not yet complete, a work that is being accomplished “for He who began a good work in (them and in ) you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)

I had a mentor who would sometimes ask: “What is it like living in your skin?” In other words, what are the most challenging things that you are facing today? What topic is most upon your mind? What is it like to live your life today? These are questions that honor others, because it takes us outside of ourselves and places us into another person’s life. To honor our fellow Christians, we must be concerned with their needs. Just as Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve others (Mk. 10:45), so we should seek ways to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. Honoring one another by serving and concerning ourselves with others takes time and sometimes a bit of forethought. It always helps to have some structure to that. One structure that helps are regular meetings with other Christians. While our Sunday worship services are helpful in giving us some points of connection, other opportunities can actually be better at giving us places to slow down and hear each other’s hearts. This is one goal of our Covenant Community Groups. These groups can give us a context in which we can honor each other by listening to each other, sharing times of fellowship, looking to God’s Word and seeking to apply it to our lives, and praying for one another. My prayer is that God will use this ministry to help us learn to honor one another so that we might ”outdo one another in showing honor.”

 

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