Honoring Authority


For children of God, honor is not optional. When we choose not to honor, we miss out on its reward.

Honor all people. 1 Peter 2:17 NKJV

Let every soul be the subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God. Romans 13:1–2 NKJV

The New Testament instructs us to honor all people. To honor is “to value, see as weighty and precious.” If the object of our honor is a person, specifically one who is in authority, honor carries the meaning of respect and even reverence.

Webster’s Dictionary (1828 Version) defines honor as “to revere, respect; to treat with deference and submission, and perform relative duties to.” From this definition we see that submission to authority is an aspect of true honor. To say we honor authority, yet refrain from submission and obedience to it, is to deceive ourselves. To honor authority is to submit to authority; we dishonor authority by not submitting to it. And when we dishonor what God has established, we also cheat ourselves out of His blessing.

Remember, God said, “Those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Samuel 2:30 NKJV). We honor God when we honor His delegated authority; therefore, this same principle applies. The way we will be rewarded by God is determined by the degree to which we value the authority He places in our lives.

Of course, this does not mean that we are to obey when a leader tells us to sin. We’re to always honor and submit to authority; we’re to obey authority as well; however, in regard to obedience, we’re not to obey an authority if they order us to do something contrary to the Word of God.

With this in mind, read Romans 13:1–2 once more. Paul is here referring to civil or governmental authorities, but these words of exhortation also apply to other areas of delegated authority. Now, notice Paul’s instruction to honor is not a suggestion. It’s not advice; it is a command. Also notice the words “every soul.” This means there are no exceptions. All who call upon the name of Jesus are to adhere to this charge.

Do you struggle to honor leaders, particularly those with whom you disagree? Many people do. But when we allow our minds to be transformed by God’s Word, we learn two pivotal things. First, for a child of God, honor is not optional. And second, when we choose not to honor, we miss out on honor’s reward.

If you want to grow in honor, pray now:

Father, thank You for the leaders You have placed in my life. Please give me a spirit of honor that I may better honor them, and in so doing better honor You. Guide me and transform me by Your living Word. I want to receive the full reward You have for my life, and I want to always give You glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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