Truth and integrity

Judges 9:16: And now if you have acted in truth and integrity when you made Abimelech king; and if you have done well with Jerubbaal and his house; and you have done to him as his hands did, (LITV)

beauty-355157_640Truth and integrity are inextricably linked together. One goes with the other. Integrity can be defined as a reputation for truthfulness. And it is easier to speak the truth than to have integrity. Integrity takes time.

It only takes a little error to spoil long-term integrity. It takes small flies, the bible says, to make the carefully prepared ointment of an apothecary to give forth a foul odour (Ecclesiastes 10:1).

It is easier to have bushes growing around than to have crops that will be beneficial as food on a consistent basis. To have crops, you need to be deliberate about it, cultivate the needed seed, constantly clear the weeds, pay attention to what is planted over time till they result in the right harvest of crop (Proverbs 24:30-34).

Before Abraham could be fully trusted by God, it was after he had walked with him for decades. God he given him a child and then demanded that he sacrifice the son. When he took steps to obey that order, God confessed that he truly feared him (Genesis 22). What Abraham professed and his action truly lined up. He was a man of genuine integrity.

He was asked to give up the promise, which Isaac stood for and he was willing to go all the way.

God then said: truly I know you feared God, since you did not withhold your only son from me. Abraham’s integrity was tested and he passed. He was solid. Are you? It was very clear that Abraham was not passionate about God because he needed something from him. He followed for God’s sake.

But not so for Adam and Eve. Eve was not willing to sacrifice her desire for wisdom nor Adam his desire for Eve’s company, to hold on to the will and word of God (Genesis 3).  You will also be tested.

Jesus tested a man that came to him expressing his desire for eternal life. He was directed to the Law of Moses, which he said he had kept. But Jesus said he still lacked one thing, commanding that he should sell all he has to follow him (Mark 10:17-21). He walked away from that proposition a sad man.

With that the state of his heart was revealed. He showed he was not really as eager for eternal life as he had confessed. His integrity was tested. It was not solid.

He was being asked to move his identity and pursuit from what is temporal to the eternal, from the material to the spiritual, but he clung to what he had, rejecting what he can have with Jesus.

From that story Jesus revealed that essentially, eternal life is not in dos and don’ts but in him, in following him, being with him, since he himself is eternal life (1John 5:11-12).

In the Garden of Eden God had to put angelic “gatekeepers” on the way to the tree of the life after the sin of man, to prevent access to it. But in Jesus the tree was now on the earth, but “gatekeepers” are still on the way to it, that is the humanity that covered his divinity.

So you have to be given a special revelation of Jesus, just like Peter was, who was able to penetrate beyond the veil of the humanity of Jesus to declare: you are Christ the son of the living God (Matthew 16:13-17). It is then we can go to him for the life that he offers.

A man said to Jesus, “say the word and my servant will be healed (Matthew 8:8-13),” not wanting him to come under his roof for that purpose. He was sure that the words of Jesus were dependable. He is the Word (John 1:1-3), he is integrity personified. The bible says that God upholds the world by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).

An integral part of holiness is truthfulness. Holiness starts and ends with the way you use your mouth (James 3:1-2).

The bible says that God desires truth in the inward part (Psalm 51:6), thorough truthfulness. When God finds his truth in you, he allows his wisdom into you also.

Paul admonished that we should not lie one to another as members of the same body (Ephesians 4:25).

The word of God is truth but there are some who handle it deceitfully (2Corinthians 12:2, 1Thessalonians 2:3-5). Because of the deceit in their heart, they twist the meaning of the word to fulfil their hidden agenda. Because of their un-purified desires, seeking to make merchandise of the people, they do not go through due diligence to get at what the heart of God is saying, but they push the agenda of their flesh.

Life and death are in the power of the tongue, those who love (use) it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21). When we speak the truth we are sowing the right seeds, the seeds of life, but if we tell lies, it is not just something innocent to get you out of a bind but there are seeds of death being sown.

In God is light and no darkness at all (1John 1:5), but lies are manifestation of darkness because darkness is all about cover up. The more you lie the more darkened your heart is and that prevents the light of God from shining in it.

Then you wander in darkness and confusion, wondering what befell you. You do not know that you have sought to build a house of lies and it has come tumbling down on you, you have sown the seed of lies and have reaped darkness. What you taught was going to give you temporary gain, has now given you long-term pain.

To lie is to sign up to partner with the devil, whom Jesus says is the father of lies and by extension father of liars (John 8:44).

That means when you lie you bring yourself under the devil’s influence because a father is an influencer, but when you are for truth, you are for light, and God becomes your father. He is the father of lights (James 1:17), of the truth, in whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning.

On your journey to become a man of integrity, truth should be your companion, hold firmly to it. A good name is more to be desire than great riches (Proverbs 22:1).

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