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3:58 AM   [21 Feb 2016 | Sunday]

Dishonor and Influence

 When people embrace a culture of dishonor, they cease to have influence for the Kingdom of God. 

They become irrelevant in society.  Likewise, any body of believers that sets itself in a place of superiority will be incapable of furthering the Kingdom.  Those who practice dishonor hinder the mission of the Church.  We have seen churches dismantled because of divisive members who failed to give honor where honor was due.  Knowledge became an idol to a number of congregants, and as a result, pride took over.  It blinded the eyes of their heart, which in turn, caused them to lose their First Love.  Without realizing it, they failed to love others and became self-centered.  When leadership failed to “perform” according to their knowledge of the scriptures, the whisperings began.  Murmuring rose up against those whom the Lord placed in authority, followed by division and collapse.  This is how dishonor influences a church.

Anyone who claims to be a Christian, yet dishonors people, dishonors the King.  Firstly, people are made in the image of God and belong to Him.  When a person insults people, in essence, he insults God.  James 3:8-10 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  9.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10.  from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way (NASB).  Secondly, a Christian is supposed to be Christ-like, and when he isn’t, he misrepresents Jesus.  How many times have you heard the phrase, “I thought he was supposed to be a Christian”?  If we are the only Bible non-believers read, and we are anything but Christ-like, how can we expect anyone to want anything to do with Him?  By running around judging everyone for their “bad behavior,” we’ll never reveal Jesus nor our loving Father to them.  Dishonor pushes people away.  While on earth, Jesus went about doing good without accusing others.  It’s not our job to convict sinners.  That one belongs to the Holy Spirit.  Don’t forget that God judges those outside the Church (see 1 Corinthians 5:13).  Our job is to love them, and seek their reconciliation to the Father (see 2 Corinthians 5:19-20).

When a group of believers (church, denomination, “stream,” –whatever name applies) decide they are the only ones doing it right, dishonor is ready to explode.  That kind of arrogance has brought much harm to the Body of Christ.  There are some groups who have nothing to do with others, even though they serve the same Lord.  In the same way, the Gospel has even been hindered in the mission field.  There are missionaries who will not work with others in the same region, simply because they are not from the same organization.  Jesus said they they will know we are His by our love.  When groups are more concerned about growing their little kingdoms, the Kingdom suffers.  The Lord is calling His Church to be kingdom-minded.  By the way, it is His Church!  As long as believers fail to love each other and refuse to network, they will fail to influence communities and nations on the scale Jesus desires.

These are some traits of dishonor; however, not everyone fits into this category.

The Church is starting to wake up.  Believers are learning to honor one another; in fact, they are learning the importance of honoring those outside the church as well.  There are congregations working together.  We aren’t there yet, but there is a movement taking place.  Pray that love prevails, and honor displaces dishonor.

Let’s step outside the Church for a moment.

Question: how can we hope to influence those in government by attacking those in government?  If you publically criticize someone in office, do you think he or she would be willing to listen to you?  Even on the local level, it would be possible to lose influence with everyday citizens by the posture we take.  It’s not that we come into agreement with ungodly policies, but we should understand our fight is not against politicians and political factions.  Therefore, we may need to adjust our focus and the way we combat unrighteousness.  It’s important to not fall into the trap of celebrating dishonor.  By walking in the Spirit and displaying the fruit of the Spirit, we can actually tear down the barriers of pride and prejudice, and assault the actual enemy.

Some might say, “I don’t celebrate dishonor.”  Are you sure?  In the political realm, when your candidate of choice stuffed his or her opponent, what did you feel?  When a pundit took a government official to the woodshed, did you rejoice?  Grandstanding dishonors no one.  Do you find yourself criticizing and insulting political figures when discussing politics?  Okay, perhaps you don’t discuss politics.  Maybe it’s sports or social issues.  Whatever arena you converse in, how do you react or respond to opposing views?  When it’s all said and done, do people say, “I thought you were supposed to be a Christian?  You could have fooled me.”  We’ll never impact others for Jesus by attacking them.  Start asking God for the wisdom needed to fight ungodliness and influence others for His glory.   

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