Honoring God

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

The Roman Empire 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 ‘centurion’ was an officer in charge of 100 soldiers; they were usually men of impeccable character.  This centurion came to Jesus and humbled himself; he publically confessed his own unworthiness and praised the Lord; in so doing he honored God’s Son.  Jesus then honored the centurion.  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.  Our savior has said in another portion of scripture, “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Being Jewish was, and is, no longer a sufficient requirement for receiving the promises of God.  Instead, only those who humbly place their faith in Jesus Christ (like the centurion) will one day celebrate in God’s eternal Kingdom (with Abraham Isaac, and Jacob.)

In 1924 a Scotsman named Eric Liddell was expected to win Olympic gold in the 100 meter dash.  Eric had grown up in a missionary family and was a committed Christian.  He had been raised to faithfully observe the Sunday Sabbath (a weekly day of rest commanded by the Lord in the Old Testament.)  When Eric found out that the 100 meter dash was scheduled for a Sunday, he made the decision to ‘sit it out.’  He was pressured to run by his countrymen and by many other powerful people, but he was convinced that honoring God on His day was more important than winning a medal.  A few months before the Olympics, he decided to begin training for the 400 meter dash (this event was not on Sunday; however he was not expected to do well.)  When the day of the race came, while Eric headed to the starting blocks, an American trainer put a piece of paper in his hand; written on the paper was a verse from 1 Samuel 2:30, which read, “Those who honor me I will honor.”  Eric ran that race for God, and not only did he win the gold medal, he also broke the world record.  He pushed his own desire for glory down and lifted God up for the world to see.  So in turn, God exalted Eric above his fellows (When he returned to Scotland, his college classmates hoisted him up on their shoulders and carried him through the streets.)

Placing God in His proper position demands humility.  Honoring Him requires selflessness.  Our own desires become less important and He becomes more important.  He is righteous and we are unrighteous; He is worthy and we are unworthy.  We forgo the glory so that God may have what is His.  Only those who raise Him up in this life will be raised up into everlasting life.  Here we die, so in the future we may live.  There are so many ways to glorify God.  We can make Him a continued topic of discussion in our personal relationships.  We can pray to God, and seek His counsel daily.  We can give credit to God for the good works that we do.  When we do something for another person, we can say, “This is from the Lord.”  When a person attempts to thank us, we can politely remind them that Jesus Christ is the one they should thank.  When other people call us good, we can instruct them that our goodness comes from God alone.  May we continually place the focus upon Him; may we give Him glory; may we always honor Him; so that one day we might receive the honor he has so graciously promised us.

“Lord Heavenly Father, please give us opportunities to honor and glorify You.  Grant us humble hearts.  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.  May we, through humility receive the gift of eternal life.  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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