Honoring God leads to honor

JESUS SPEAKING

             Now as Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed and is dreadfully tormented.”

             And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

             The centurion answered saying, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.  But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me.  And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.

             When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!  And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. (Mathew 8: 5-13.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

             Rome had conquered the Holy Land in 63 B.C., and due to a continued threat of rebellion, there were soldiers permanently stationed there in the first century A.D.  A ‘centurion’ was an officer in charge of 100 soldiers.  This centurion came to Jesus and humbled himself; he publically confessed his own unworthiness; in so doing he had honored God’s Son.  Jesus then honored this man.  He publicly exalted the man’s faith, lifting him above every Jew in Israel.  God continues to honor those who are lowly, and who exalt Jesus.  The Lord said in another portion of scripture, “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  This Roman officer was in a position of authority, yet made himself and his entire household worthless and unfit to fellowship with God.  What respect, what reverence, what honor; this stranger was holier than the religious leaders who condemned Jesus.  The Lord then revealed that in the kingdom of God, the three fathers of the Jewish faith (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) would be celebrating eternally only with those who had honored Him.  No longer was Jewish blood the only requirement for being a child of God; now the blood of Christ was what separated the Godly from the ungodly.

             During the 1924 Olympics a Scotsman named Eric Liddell was on his way to the games, expected to win the 100 meter dash.  Eric had grown up in a missionary family and was a committed Christian.  He had always observed Sunday as the Sabbath day (or the day of rest) and when he found out that the 100 meter dash was scheduled for Sunday, he made the decision to ‘sit it out.’  He was pressured to run by his countrymen and others, but he was convinced that honoring God on His day was more important than a gold medal.  A few months before the Olympics, after making his decision to sit out the 100 meters, he decided to compete in the 400 meter dash, but was not expected to even place in this event for which he had not been training.  When the day of the race came, as he went to the starting blocks, an American Masseur put a piece of paper in his hand on which was written a bible verse; 1 Samuel 2:30.  The scripture read, “Those who honor me I will honor.”  Not only did Eric win the Gold medal in the 400, he broke the world record.  Eric had pushed his own desire for glory down and lifted God up for the entire world to see.  When he returned to Scotland, his classmates put him in a chair, lifted him up on their shoulders and carried him in the streets.  The scripture he had read the day he won Gold medal had reached its fulfillment in his life.

             Placing God in His proper position demands humility.  Honoring Him requires selflessness.  We become less important as He becomes more important.  He is recognized as righteous, and we become unrighteous.  God becomes worthy, and we become unworthy.  The attention is placed upon God rather than ourselves.  In this life, we raise God up, and in the coming Kingdom He will raise us up, into everlasting life.  Here we die, so in the future we can live.  There are so many ways to make God the center of your life and to honor Him.  You can make God a continued topic of discussion in your personal relationships.  You can pray to God, and seek his counsel daily.  You can pray before meals; you can give credit to God for the good works that you do.  When you do something for another person, you can say, “This is from the Lord.”  When a person attempts to thank you, they can be reminded that Jesus Christ is the one who should be thanked (not to be done rudely.)  When other people call you a good person, you can remind them that it is God working through you who is good.  Put the focus back on Him, give Him the glory, give Him the honor, and He will honor you with eternal life.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, please give us opportunities to lift You up in our lives, and to put the attention back on You.  Give us a humble heart, a heart that knows its unworthiness.  We want to be close to You, even though we are unworthy; help us to lay down our own desires in this life, to serve You.  Please be with us always.  We love You Lord, we thank You, and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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