Reflecting on Romans 12:1-8, I suggested in my last post that we have to replace hierarchy with humility and honour, or we are left with anarchy. Let me say a little more about honour.
I understand honour to be about recognising and celebrating the grace of God in and upon others. In this passage it is relevant to 1) Paul's appeal to them to receive his word on the basis of 'the grace given me' (v.3); and 2) his encouragement for all of them to confidently exercise their various gifts 'according to the grace given to each of us' (v.6). It was important for them to honour his apostolic leadership (which was truly charismatic i.e. according to grace gifting; not just positional). But he also wanted to release the grace gifting among the whole body (vv.4-6). That will mean that we not only confidently exercise our own gifting but that we honour others - see and help draw out the the grace of God within them. We recognise the grace gifting in others, we celebrate it, rejoice in it, open ourselves to receive from it, and in doing so we draw out the gold that God has placed within each person. This is really what it means to be a truly 'charismatic' church. (I will need to do another post soon on the nature of gifting as I think, historically, the charismatic church has actually had quite a narrow view of grace-gifting!).
One last point, which has been made well by Bill Johnson in his writings and ministry (see here for example). Honour releases blessing, life and power. When we honour parents we get long life (Eph.6:2-3); when we receive/honour the prophet, we get his/her reward (Matt.10:41). And I think that this is what Paul is getting at in Ephesians 5:21 where he says 'submit to each other out of reverence for Christ' as one of the actions that we should continually engage in in order to stay continually filled with the Holy Spirit (see Eph.5:18-21). If I'm right, then honouring others is a key to staying full of the Spirit!
Next post: more on who do we honour?