I was watching this Christian movie titled ‘God’s not Dead’. The movie basically revolves around various Christians challenged by people close to them about their belief in the existence of God. The lead character Josh Wheaton is challenged by his Philosophy professor to sign on a paper ‘God’s not dead’. If he failed to do so he would be openly challenged to a debate to prove the existence of God – if he failed the debate, he would be failed in the subject. Much to the great predicament he was in, Josh took up the challenge rather than taking the easy way out. The entire class went as per the instruction given by the Professor, except for Josh. This of course is a movie, but assuming you or I was in the place of Josh – what would you or I decide? A tricky situation isn’t it? This is where our integrity to our God/faith comes into play. Can I hold onto my Integrity? Can I hold onto my faith irrespective of the consequences that I may face?
We read about the attacks on Paris, Syria, Palestine, India and various other places. All signs of the end times – exactly as how God said it would be in the Bible. If you had a gun to your head by crazy people and were asked to renounce your faith – will you be able to hold onto your integrity? Don’t be quick to answer, hold onto your response. Even Peter denied knowing Jesus. Like us Peter was quick to answer that he loved Jesus so much that he would never ever deny him. And alas at the time of questioning, without the batting of an eyelid he vehemently denied knowing Jesus.
This is a lesson I am trying to teach myself. It’s the end times and we may be put into situations we cannot even imagine. Empower yourself with the word of God to stand faithful at all times. It’s easy to preach to be a martyr but tough to live the life of one.
Titus 2:7-8 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
A Christian in every essence is expected to be set apart from the world. We are in the world, but not of the world. Leaving aside the complexities of living in the end-times, let us re-think if our life is really an example of Integrity in our daily lives. Paul clearly explains that we ought to be models of good works. We need to reflect integrity, dignity and sound speech. What is Paul expectation?
Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Dignity is defined as the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect. From these definitions, it is obvious that integrity will lead you to dignity. As an individual, God has given each of us worldly responsibilities too. It’s a test and are we fulfilling these responsibilities with full Integrity?
I have a worldly responsibility as a wife, a mother, in my workplace, to my parents and a spiritual responsibility to spread the good news, trade in my talents. I am being continuously assessed by God to see if I am fulfilling these multiple roles with absolute integrity, dignity and sound mind. Likewise you too are being continuously examined by God.
Practicing your Integrity
Your integrity defines the quality of your heart. The ability of your heart to make sound judgement. And this comes only with regularly keeping in touch with God through his word and through a personal relationship with him.
Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.
Is your heart tuned to God’s radio station that you can keep yourself away from the sinners, the mockers and the wicked?
At a time of a business deal, are you able to set an example and keep your Christian values and hold onto your integrity by not giving into bribes?
Exodus 23:8 And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.
As children are you honouring your parents as you should be?
Ephesians 6:2 Honour your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise.
Are you indulging in small white lies as some call it , or as some say a lie said for the good is no lie at all?
Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
These are just a few scenarios that I highlighted. There are several other that we could think about. A sin is a sin, no matter how big or small we perceive it to be. Holding onto what God wants you to do in these circumstances, shows how spiritually sound you are.
Build yourself up to focus on what God wants you to do. It’s the hard and harsh way of dealing with life.
Recently I heard a sermon on Lot. Lot was obedient to God and he was raising his family in that filthy place of Sodom and Gomorrah. A time somewhat similar to the era we are now living in. And in that perverse era, Lot held onto his integrity. He was even willing to sacrifice his daughters to the perverse men who pounded at his door for the guests he served at home. Why did Lot even think of putting his daughters into the hands of the human devils? It was his integrity – his learning to honour and protect the men he welcomed home. And yes God did protect his daughters. We may not be able to actually understand what really Lot thought or imagined but to God, Lot was a righteous man at the point of his life in Sodom and Gomorrah.
2 Peter 2:7 But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him.
God’s adjective for Lot is ‘righteous’. We need to learn from the life of Lot (during his stay in Sodom and Gomorrah) and many other’s in the Bible to hold onto our convictions, beliefs and faith.
Build yourselves up to be able to stand against the mental thoughts that coerce us into turning a deaf ear to the voice of the heart.
Jude 1: 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit
Why is your Integrity so valuable?
Your integrity is valuable because it reflects Jesus in you. Your life not only becomes a talking Christian to others but also a living Christian.
It is imperative that we become doers of the word and not just hearers.
James 1: 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
If we are not following the voice of the holy spirit in us, we are deceiving our own selves. Because we are not doing what God wants us to do.
Graham Staines family held on to their integrity and they practiced what they preached. In that situation of agony and despair, Ms Staines held onto her Saviour and forgave the murderers of her husband. She showed the love of Christ. Her heart’s spiritual condition was so sound that she did not lose perspective of what God wanted her to do. Their very loss, agony and forgiveness became the epitome of Christ love. This real life story led many to Christ.
Learn to defy the voice in your head and obey the holy spirit dwelling in your heart.
Consequences of Losing Your Integrity
Life is really short. Death is an uninvited visitor.
In Genesis 20 we read that Abimelech set his eyes on Sarah assuming her to be the sister of Abraham. God was to pass his judgement on Abimelech, but God knew Abimelech’s heart was of integrity, hence he did not touch Abimelech.
However in the life of David, we see that God gave David the punishment for the result of his moment of weakness.
Similarly Lot was identified as righteous but towards the end of his life, his actions were disgraceful. His actions led to his generations being accursed.
The race is unfinished till we reach the end. The intermediate victories in our spiritual life are ones to be thankful for but we need to be equipped to hold onto the end to finish the race.
We need to be able to say as in 2 Timothy 4: 7 have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
I beseech each and every one to pray and focus onto holding our integrity in this testing time through prayer.