December 23, 2023

An Honorable Life

Written by Tripp Prince

If we only treat the symptoms, we will fail in our pursuit of an integrated and honorable life.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 23, 2023

Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do. Hebrews 13:18, NLT

Hebrews 13 is a reminder of the importance of an integrated life, one in which our exterior and public “goodness” is an overflow of a heart that is aligned with the will and ways of God. Public honor divorced from private holiness is nothing more than a performative act. Thus, the author of Hebrews prays that he would live honorably in everything that he does. 

Interestingly, the Greek word for honor or goodness that is used here, kalos, is the same root word that St. Paul uses in Romans 11:24 to reflect upon the difference between a wild olive tree and a cultivated olive tree. A wild tree has no limits, direction, or training. By contrast, cultivation is, for Paul, analogous to goodness, for it is a movement from chaos to order, randomness to intentionality, and harshness to a tender beauty. 

Christ longs for the same to be true of our own lives. 

This image of a cultivated olive tree helpfully points to the interconnected realities of our seen and unseen lives. If a tree shows visible signs of decay, there is most certainly an unseen issue with its root system deep within the earth. In the same way, if our lives that are seen and known to others are characterized by anger, sarcasm, self-promotion, or insincerity, there is a rot that has crept into the root system of our hearts. 

If we only treat the symptoms, we will fail in our pursuit of an integrated and honorable life. Wisdom is found in our willingness to invite the healing and transforming power of God into everything we do and everything that we are. Difficult though it may be, this is the only way to true and lasting goodness, and through the grace of God at work within us and by the prayers of others that urge us on toward holiness, it is a path that we are able to faithfully walk!


Father, may we never settle for a perception of virtue that is separated from a transformed and renewed heart, through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.


In what ways have you focused too much on the visible symptoms in your life, while failing to tend to the root system underneath?

Related Reading

John 12:26; Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

Worship Resource

Maverick City feat. Chandler Moore & Steffany Gretzinger: Refiner


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