Catching onto the Honor Rhythm
The rhythm of Honor Season is the rhythm of Jesus' feet as he staggered under the cross beam on his way to execution. It is by far the most painful of the seven SYNC rhythms, but as you catch onto it, you start loving it anyway.
The Honor Rhythm means you can't lose! If you "See Yourself iN Christ," then you see that any enemy who wants to crush you has to go through Christ to get to you, and that's not happening.
Enemies can still attack. They can inflict all sorts of pain on you for saying and showing that Jesus is alive. They can take away your security, your property, your freedom, even your life. If you want an easy life, find yourself a different hero, not Jesus.
But if you want to SYNC with God's strategy to save and restore the world, then worship our cross-carrying Jesus and welcome his Spirit so you have the strength to finish honorably as you follow him, no matter what pain or disgrace this may bring you. He is our model of endurance.
The opposition would like to finish us off, but they never get to say, "It is finished." Only Jesus the King gets to say that, like he said it as he died on the cross. He, the ultimate finisher, turns ordinary people, even weak people, into finishers. As we endure things that would break ordinary people, we point to his life and power at work in us by his Holy Spirit.
Catching onto the Honor Rhythm - getting the idea and the feel of it
Agony, victory, and Honor Season (September 28 - November 21, 2020)
Like all the other six SYNC rhythms, the Honor Rhythm links you, your world, and your day today back to something huge God has done.To "SYNC" with that God-thing means to align yourself with God's intentions when he did it.
In this case the God-thing is Jesus carrying his cross. By doing that, Jesus showed us what it took to complete his mission, faithful to the death. He is the one we look to as we complete our mission.
Jesus's command to us is not, "Take up my sword," but "Take up my cross." Honor Season is not about the courage to defend our honor violently but to endure shame and violence honorably.
Endure shame honorably? What is that about?
As God's Son, the Messiah, Jesus faced a stark choice between defending his honor and accomplishing his mission. His mission was to lay down his life for the sake of the kingdom he had proclaimed, but he could not lay down his life (looking like a loser) and at the same time defend his honor (refusing to look like a loser).
He stuck with his mission. In agony he shouldered that cross and all the disgrace that went with it. And that is why he received the place of highest honor from God the Father (Hebrews 12.2). God honors those who stay loyal to him and his strategy for global change no matter what it costs their own reputations.
But why does God choose a strategy that puts his people through such agony?
By having Jesus go through what he went through, God is giving the world a free opportunity to change. Carrying his cross, Jesus showed once and for all that violence is not a tool that good people have to resort to sometimes in order to bring in a better world. No, violence is something that good people "attack" by enduring it courageously, and in the end they undermine its power. It collapses on itself.
From a human point of view, it is honorable to use violence to defend your personal, family, or tribal honor. In many cultures it is disgraceful not to do so. But God has subtler and more elegant methods of maintaining honor. He told us through the prophet Isaiah, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55.9)
And as we think about Christ carrying his cross, we realize this is true. This view of maintaining honor without violence is terrifically liberating. We don't have to retaliate against violence or let it dominate our thoughts and feelings because we do not have to prove our worth to anyone. We only have to show God our loyalty to the mission he has given us.
And our mission is also violence-free. We do not have to use force to reshape the world, and we do not fall for the lie that the world would be perfect if we ever got to take charge. Jesus never told his followers to conquer the world or taught them how to exercise power over its systems. On judgment day he will not ask us how much we conquered or how fiercely we defended our honor. He will ask about two other things: 1) how were we his witnesses, especially of his resurrection, and 2) and how did we endure and rise above whatever the world threw at us because of our witness?
As we ponder Jesus carrying his cross, going through agony to victory, we catch the Honor Rhythm, which links at least four basic ideas:
God is working a strategy to change the world, but not by force and not by simply teaching good things
Jesus is the key figure in that strategy, especially when he carries his cross
Jesus is the ultimate "honorable finisher," accepting unimaginable rejection and brutality without wavering in his loyalty to his mission
We can finish honorably in spite of opposition because we are inspired by his example and empowered by his Spirit
As these ideas soak into us, we stay loyal to our assignment in life. Heaven's honorability seeps into us, and we live honorably.
Power, Mercy, Honor--those are three consecutive seasons in the SYNC annual cycle and three parts of our witness to the Risen King, Jesus the Messiah. Power shows that God's transforming power for good is at work in us. Mercy shows that God has already paid for our past mistakes. Honor shows that we authentically believe in his power and mercy even when they do not seem to be working for our own safety or comfort. Our trust in Christ stays genuine and deep, knowing what comes next in the SYNC cycle--Vision Season, when everything comes together under the rule of Christ, and truly honorable people are truly honored.
FAQs about the Honor Rhythm
Does this mean I don't have to worry about being aggressive or obnoxious as a follower of Jesus? I will be more likely to get persecuted and shamed that way.
Look at Jesus again. Did he have to carry that cross because he had been aggressive and obnoxious? No, but he had not been meek and mild either. He had been faithful to his mission.
He had overturned the tables of the greedy moneychangers in the Temple, and when he told them to get out, he was not using his calm voice
He had stood up to the challenges of the questions the religious experts asked in order to trap and discredit him
He had not backed down when the religious court asked him to declare whether he was the Messiah, even though they held all the power and he held none
He was not intimidated by the Roman governor but told him that he had no power over him except what God had allowed
We are not really "carrying our cross" when we are suffering for being aggressive and obnoxious about our attachment to Jesus. We deserve shame for that kind of suffering. We brought it on ourselves. Our real "cross" is shame we do not deserve. Our cross happens because of our mission, not because we go about the mission in a more aggressive and obnoxious way than Jesus did.