Honor is one of the key cultures needed in the world/church today Here is the chapter on HONOR from my Book “What on Earth is Glory”


Chapter 10



No person was ever honored for what he receives.

Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

(Calvin Coolidge)


Jesus showed us that glory is revealed relationally. He brought us into His relationship with the Father, and in and through that relationship we come to know a glory that makes the glory Moses knew look like it had no glory. He also modeled the mode of that relationship, which is honor. Honor is the way of recognizing glory in others(Kabod, the Hebrew word for glory, is translated “honor” thirty-two times in the Old Testament.) Whenever I recognize in someone or something the attributes, nature, or power of God, I am beginning the journey of honoring. Put another way, honor is when I show value for something because it reveals, reflects or points to the nature, attributes, or power of God.

The Revelation of Honor in the Cross

The Cross is the supreme revelation of honor. At the Cross, Jesus showed us how much He valued every man, woman, and child that ever has been and ever will be, and that includes the most heinous perpetrators of evil. He valued all of us above His own life. Why did Jesus value us so highly? And how could He recognize glory in us when we had fallen short of His glory? The answer to both questions is that Jesus recognized our eternal value and glory. He knew His Father’s plan to “bring many sons to glory,” and saw all of us, despite the Fall, as the sons and daughters His Father had created for that purpose. But of course, there is more to it. The word “recognize” is a little lacking, because it suggests that Christ saw something in us that we already possessed. And we do possess it in eternity, but only because He gave it to us by dying on our behalf. Christ honored us through His death because it was only by His death that we could be made honorable. In showing how He valued us, He gave us that value.

Moreover, Christ’s death did not merely restore the value that we lost in the Fall. The price God paid to redeem us was much greater than the price He paid to create us, and thus redeemed humanity is worth far more, and has a far greater glory than Adam and Eve ever had in their innocence. When Christ restored us to glory (John 17:22), Christ did not make us like Adam and Eve, but like Himself. In fact, He made us part of Himself. We are now members of a new divine-human race in Him, partaking in the divine nature in a way we never did as those merely made in the image of God.

The act by which Christ made us “new creations” forever defined how we are to relate to one another as people of such great value. Paul tells us that this supreme act of honor was the supreme act of humility:

Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)


It seems humility enough that God became a man. But that was only the starting point. Paul says He was already in appearance as a man, and then He humbled himself—to the point of death. In His death, Jesus took a place below the worst of sinners, below an entire race of sinners. He humbled himself to the lowest point and from that point He looked up, because in complete and perfect humility the only place that you can look is up. But it was precisely getting to the bottom of things that positioned Christ to govern them.

As I’ve mentioned, I worked in prisons for nineteen years. One Saturday, while working as the in-charge governor (warden) in a young offenders’ prison, I visited the segregation unit (“the hole” here in America). Prison is where the bad guys go, and segregation units are where the really bad guys go. On this occasion, a young man was brought down in arm locks to the unit by three big, burly officers. We didn’t use cuffs very often inside the jail, so I remember it distinctly. As they had been trained to do, the officers put him facedown in a stripped-out cell in the segregation unit. The normal procedure was to have men stationed at the prisoner’s arms, legs, and head. One by one, each man would let go of a body part and retreat from the cell so nobody, including the prisoner, got hurt.

On this occasion, I walked into the cell and, despite appearances, had an awareness of what was really going on with this young man. I knew he was more scared than dangerous. As the governor, what I said went, so I usually didn’t say things unless I felt really confident about them.

“Let him go,” I said.

“Do you know what you’re doing?”

“Yes, let him go.”

I sat on the floor next to him as they let him go. When I got down on his level, I saw things from his perspective. Four six-foot prison officers towered above us. It was very scary. I am much less physically imposing, especially when I’m on the ground. But even though I was on the ground, I was still the governor. From that position, I began to talk with that young man and govern the situation.

This memory came to mind as I was meditating on the humility of Jesus. Jesus took came down to our level, and then, got lower still by serving us, first in His ministry, and then in His death, where He descended into the lower parts of the earth(Ephesians 4:9). He found the utmost depth to which humanity had fallen in sin and death, and got below that. He saw things from our perspective—in fact, He saw them better, for He not only felt our brokenness; He carried its full weight. But even as He identified fully with the consequences of our sin, He never lost His right or ability to govern. He governed from below, not above. He got below us in order to lift us up.

It may seem paradoxical to say that Christ humbled Himself in order to be exalted, but this is the truth Christ declared to us: “Whoever humbles himself shall be exalted (Matthew 23:12). Paul tells us that this is precisely the formula at work in the Cross: He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him (Philippians 2:8-9).  But Jesus’ humility and exaltation were entirely undertaken on our behalf. His made His journey to the lowest place solely in order to get the thing we needed from God and couldn’t get ourselves: grace. One of the immutable aspects of God’s character, like the fact that He will not share His glory with another, is this: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble(James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). Because humanity had fallen through pride, we were disqualified from grace. But God found a way to give us the one thing that would restore us without violating His character, and it is the same way He found to give us His glory. As we saw in Chapter 3, God did for the Son of Man what He hadn’t been able to do for Moses. He could answer Jesus’ request for glory because Jesus was not “another.” Similarly, the grace He could not give to a humanity fallen in pride, He could give to His Son, who humbled Himself.

But in order to receive the full measure of grace needed by sinners, Christ had to identify with us completely. To identify with those dead in sin, He had to die. And because He identified with us fully, His death became our death. As Paul said, “…one died for all, therefore all died (2 Corinthians 5:14). At the Cross, we were no longer dead in our sin; we were dead in Christ. And because we died with Him, we rose with Him when His Father raised Him from the dead:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)


Christ went from the lowest place of humility to the highest place of honor, and He took us with Him by the power of grace. He elevated us to the position we were created to hold as the glorious sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Honor Brings Life

            Paul told us clearly what we were to make of this great drama, this grand gesture of God descending into humanity and into death, and then ascending with humanity to life. He said:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)


Once again, the honor Christ paid us at the Cross established the pattern of honor that defines the way we are treat one another. The journey of honor requires first that we learn to value one another according to the value Christ has given us, and second that we learn to show that value as Christ did, by [looking] outfor the interests of others and treating them as more important than ourselves. We are all called to become the servant of all, to take the low position in order to lift up those around us (Mark 10:44).

Throughout my tenure as a prison governor, I consistently sought ways of “getting under” the prisoners. For two years, I didn’t allow a prisoner to come into my prison without first sitting down and talking to me for fifteen minutes. It was a little unusual, but was something I really felt I should do. In that time, I interviewed at least three hundred prisoners. I’d begin the interviews by saying, “I don’t want to talk about your crime. By the time you’ve got to me, you’ve told your parents, your probation officer, about ten lawyers, three courts, the police, the two prisons you’ve been transferred into, and just about everybody about your crime. I want to talk about you. What do you love to do? What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you? What vacation do you remember with your family? What would you like to do or achieve while you’re in prison?”

Some of them just did not know how to answer. They were so shocked that I was taking an interest in them. They’d start telling me about their crimes, and I’d say, “I don’t want to know about that.” They’d say, “I’m doing six years,” and I’d say, “I know you’re doing six years. That’s not the issue. I want to know about you. I want to get to know you.”

At the time, the Board of Visitors Watchdog Committee used to do a group interview with all of the prisoners after they had seen me. One day, this lovely lady from the Committee, Andrea, came down to see me. She said, “Paul you’ve got a problem.”

I said, “What do you mean I’ve got a problem?”

She said, “Those prisoners, they think you really like them.”

“Actually, you’re wrong,” I said. ‘I don’t like them; I love them.”

I was determined to be a voice of honor in the lives of these young men, to show value for them on the basis of who God said they were, and not on the basis of their bad choices. I was determined to recognize the glory in them, no matter how buried it was. And I watched as many of these young men, in various ways, began to show signs of life.

Honor brings life. We see this most dramatically at the Cross, where Christ’s honor brought eternal, abundant life to the entire human race. But God first revealed this principle to Moses centuries earlier in the 5th Commandment. He said, Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you(Exodus 20:12). As I described earlier, reconnecting to my father by restoring my value for him caused many things to begin to come to life in me. Honor opened the artery of sonship, and since that time I have been receiving nourishment that has affected my life, my family, and my future. Even when our parents are gone, carrying an attitude honor in our hearts and minds positions us to receive life from them. And this principle of honor extends to encounters with all people, for though our immediate family bonds are closest and therefore the most life giving, the honor Christ paid to all of us made us both family and worthy of honor. This creates the potential for an exchange of life every time we interact with people and recognize Christ’s value for them—even those who don’t yet know Him, just as Christ recognized our value before we knew Him. And again, simply carrying honor in our hearts brings life even when we aren’t interacting with people directly. Scripture teaches us to honor those in authority, for example, because even if we never speak to the President or Prime Minister, serving them through our prayers will promote life and peace in their sphere of influence (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-2).

The principle of honor also works in the negative, however. Scripture is clear that while honor, which is preceded by humility, brings life, dishonor, which is preceded by pride, cuts off life. Proverbs 18:12 says, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility {goes} before honor.I like to illustrate this principle with a cooking example, because I love to cook and collect recipes. (At eight years old, I started watching the Galloping Gourmet, one of the early celebrity chefs, and cooking meals for my parents, who ran a small grocery store and thus gave me access to a wide variety of ingredients. I must say that they, and later my wife, approved of my success in producing the Galloping Gourmet’s dishes, but were less thrilled by my equal success in adopting his rather messy style in the kitchen!)

Imagine I am a famous chef visiting the home of a great cook. I’m confident I would never do this, but let’s say that after she places her painstakingly prepared dessert on the table, I instantly tell her how much better my version of her desert is. Her hopes of pleasing me are crushed. Trying to hide her disappointment, she laughs it off, serving me a piece with apologies that it hasn’t passed muster. Pigheadedly, I continue to point out what her work lacks with each bite, until, abruptly, I’m interrupted. I look down and see that I am now wearing the dessert, and the cook is standing at the door waiting for me to vacate the premises. The dishonor produced by my pride has cut both of us off from all beneficial exchange and instead produced destruction.

But now imagine what might happen if I come to the cook’s house in disguise. As she places her dessert on the table, I gasp at the sight and express how wonderful the aroma is. She serves me a portion and I, after savoring a few bites, pour out generous complements about this unparalleled creation. Flattered, the cook begins to tell me the history of this great dessert—it is her great grandmother’s recipe, brought with her family when they emigrated. She gets up from the table and pulls her scrapbook of recipes down from a shelf, along with a photo of her great grandmother. I am impressed by what is, to my trained eye, a valuable cache of rare and special recipes. So at this point, I reveal my identity, tell her that I think she has a recipe book waiting to be published, and offer to help launch her in this venture.

In this scenario, humility preceded honor, and honor produced life. And what was that life? Clearly the enjoyment and nourishment of an excellent dessert was just a small part of it. The real treasure honor exposed was the excellence of the cook. It made room for more of her greatness to come to life.

Glory to Glory by Honor

At Bethel we have been working to develop a culture of honor, a culture where we call out the greatness, the “gold,” in one another. We have embraced the Kingdom principle that the quality of life in our community is determined by how successful we are at recognizing the glory in others and issuing regular invitations for that glory to be expressed. Encouraging words have become common currency. You don’t have to stick around Bethel very long before someone is telling you about the glory they see in you. As a result, people all around us are coming to life in countless ways. It’s miraculous.

However, as we have sought to establish honor in our lives, we have learned something important. As I said in the last chapter, we see what we are prepared to see. Recognizing the glory in others is not something we do automatically. We must train ourselves to see it, and we do this by training our minds to agree with the truth of how Christ has defined the value of the human race. This process of training our minds is what the Bible calls repentance. The Greek word for repentance, metanoia, means to change the way you think. Only when our minds have embraced the revelation of our own glory and the glory of others will be able to behave honorably. But in order to embrace this revelation, our minds are going to have to give up the wrong beliefs we’ve had about one another. This is where the real battle of faith is, the battle of trusting an unseen, eternal reality and letting it transform the way we negotiate visible, temporal reality, where we still obviously see, in ourselves and in everyone around us, how little we look like our Elder Brother.

Changing the way we think about one another is not an easy task in our current cultural climate, which is distinctly dishonoring, particularly in the popular attitude toward authority. When I was a young man at school, I did whatever the park keeper or anyone in a uniform told me to do, because it was still normal to honor position and authority. Now it is normal to mock, criticize, and disobey those in authority, whether they are our parents or the President. Again, the root of dishonor is pride. We have arrogantly set ourselves up to judge and criticize everyone and anyone, regardless of their title or position. Jesus described us perfectly in when He taught us not to judge:

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)


With great logs of pride in our eyes, we simply cannot see people around us as they truly are.  And the more we judge one another, the more we invite judgment on ourselves, for that’s how judgment works. The result has been a downward spiral of greatness and an increase in lawlessness in our culture. Most everyone I took care of in prison was under the influence of this dishonoring, anti-authority attitude, and it had assiduously destroyed their lives.

            But judgment also works in the positive direction. In fact, the core of honor is proper judgment—the just appraisal of the glory of others. When we, through repentance and humility, remove the logs from our eyes, then we can “see clearly” and help others to see clearly. When we treat others as more important than ourselves, when we measure their glory above our own, then we position ourselves to be measured by the same standard. The result is that, instead of draining the greatness from our culture, we increase it.

            I believe this dynamic of honor in relationships was actually one of the main things Paul addressed in 2 Corinthians 3. He began by drawing this picture for the Corinthians:

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:2)


He then compared this image with the image of Moses coming down the mountain with his face shining and the tables of stone in his hand. These two images represent two different covenants. And the shining face of Moses had no glory, Paul says, compared with the glory we possess as “living letters.” (I think this is why the Bible is a closed canon. The story can no longer be contained on tablets and paper, for it is now being written on the ever-increasing parchment of human lives through the centuries.) In some ways, the shining face of Moses seems more accessible and therefore more real than the glory we are supposed to be able to see in one another. I personally have never seen someone’s face shining so much that I couldn’t look at it, and I can tell you that I would remember if I had. But it has certainly happened, and I imagine this kind of manifestation will be seen more as the Church goes “from glory to glory.” But the point is that Moses never went “from glory to glory.” His glory faded, because that glory was only on the surface, only in the visible realm. The greater glory we have is internal and unseen, written on the heart.

This superior glory cannot be simply “seen;” it must be “read” by the one who has learned to read the language of glory. The process of learning to “read” the living letters of one another’s hearts is a challenge, but it is central to the process by which we go from glory to glory. Consider again the conclusion to this chapter:

But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken awayBut we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:15-16, 18)


Under the Old Covenant, a “veil” covers the dimension of the heart, the realm of the Spirit. But when we turn to the Lord, this veil is removed, and we gain the capacity to perceive what is unseen, which includes both Christ and those who are seated in Christ. Thus, I propose that when we think of “beholding” the glory of the Lord in the face of Christ, we need to remember that this necessarily involves the discipline of beholding Christ in the faces of one another. Paul went on to say the same just a little later in his letter:

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. (2 Corinthians 5:16)


We must learn to say of the people we meet that which Mother Teresa said of the poor she served, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.” For as we learn to see Christ reflected in the faces of one another, we begin to use the measure He used in honoring us to honor one another. This creates a flow of life, a flow of grace, that brings what is unseen to the surface in our lives and closes the gap between earth and heaven.

            At Bethel, we understand the basic mission of the Body of Christ to be “on earth as it is in heaven.” This is why honor has become one of our core values. We are not just looking to feel good about ourselves. We understand that heaven comes to earth when we see glory in one another, call it out, and make room for it to be expressed. We understand that treating people as God sees them is often the key to helping them see themselves as God sees them. This revelation enables them to live as the glorious sons and daughters they truly are in Christ. Ultimately, we believe that this culture of honor will create such a weight of glory, such a flow of life and greatness, that it turns the tide of destruction that dishonor has brought into our society.

            So I challenge you to pursue an upgrade in your ability to see and “read” the language of glory written on the hearts of those around you. Pray, as the apostle Paul prayed, that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will knowwhat are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints(Ephesians 1:18.Allow the Holy Spirit to show you any dishonor in your heart and mind, and be quick to repent. Look for low places where you can serve people and lift them up. And seek always to measure people according the measure of Christ, for it will come back to you, life for life, glory for glory, honor for honor.

In Proverbs there is a sequence of phrases:

There are three things that will not be satisfied, four that will not say, “Enough”: Sheol, and the barren womb, earth that is never satisfied with water, and fire that never says, “Enough.” The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it. (Proverbs 30:15-17)


In the natural we live by eating, drinking and breathing. The word satisfied is related to the word satiated, which means “supplied or fed to satisfaction.” When we are satiated, we have extracted the nourishment from a meal.

 Interpreting this further, we see that a haughty or proud way of looking at a person, or in this case, a father, cuts off the potential exchange of life the encounter possesses. In other words, there is nourishment available from a father, but the attitude of the heart can either enable or, in the case of a proud eye, prevent that exchange of life and the fruit of that exchange.