Category Archives: admonition

Loving God is not just mere loving as people say “I love you”; a love that will later turn out to be a deceit that will eventually lead to a kiss to death – Judas Iscariot claimed to love Christ but later betrayed Him.  Loving God is much more than an affirmation or feeling; it is obedience, loyalty and service to Him above all. 

Many Christian’s confession or affirmation of their love for God is just a mere saying; word of mouth; never tested to confirm or prove the reality of their love. This is the type of confession which Peter and other disciples made before Jesus’ arrest. What happened later? Peter and others except one, abandoned Jesus when he was nailed to the cross.

Loving God is evident in action

Loving God is not just a feeling, but must be put into action. This is exactly what James was saying

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (Jas. 2:14-17).

Loving God entails obedience

How can a Christian says he/she loves God and disobeyed His laws, disloyal or not committed to serving the Lord?

The scripture states,

“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men”, (Is. 29:13).

Many Christians will deny the Christianity they professed if death is imminent for confessing that Christianity. Many will sell their confession for earthly gains. So, loving God is not just an affirmation, but it must be put into action, no matter what situation.

Loving God is total obedience to His commandments. The Lord was speaking to Moses concerning the Israelites that,

“Oh, that they (the Israelites) had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deut. 5:29)

It a misconstruing of the word of God that many ministers is trying to create enmity between grace and the Lord’s commandments. Christians must obey every word of God. The grace we have received enlightened and empowered us to obey the word of God; not to contradict it. Our Lord Jesus had revealed to us the nature and character of our God; then He empowered us through the Holy Ghost to do what will please our God. The key to a successful life is obedience to the word of God.

To love God is to be loyal to Him.

To be loyal is to prove ourselves to be trustworthy – can you be entrusted with good things or can you be trusted to defend Christianity in odd situation: You must be reliable. You must be faithful to doing exactly what needs to be done, bearing in mind that you are doing the work of your Father in heaven: you must be dependable. You must be a devoted Christian who always contributes your quota to move the church of God forward; not pulling it backward. The Holy Spirit empowers us. Apostle Paul was admonishing Timothy,

“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us” (2Tim. 1:13).

In summary,

Our Lord Jesus Christ said,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40)

Can you love God and hate your neighbor or your fellow Christian? Don’t you know your neighbor is created in the image of God? If you hate your neighbor, you have hate God. That amounts to partial obedience. Sincerity and obedience are the prerequisite for worship that please God. In the same vein, loyalty of heart is essential for faithful effective service. Hence, Apostle Paul said,

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies (which constitutes the heart, soul and mind) a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).

Love God with all your heart, soul and mind; this is the key to your blessing.

 

BY Lawrence Abitogun


“So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”
And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. (Gen.13:8-13)
Background
With love and accommodating nature of Abram (Abraham), he acted with kindness in order to avoid conflict between his nephew’s and his herdsmen: Because, through God’s blessing upon Abraham, Lot had shared in his uncle’s prosperity. Because both of them have become prosperous, their togetherness seems not to be working right for them, this situation created dispute among their herdsmen.
Abram gave Lot his nephew the choice to choose first, the scripture states,

“So Abram said to Lot …Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left”.

Abram showed lack of selfishness, believing that God is able to bless wherever is left for him.
Lot covetously chose before his uncle, Abraham, the green pastured land, and left the dry land for his uncle; not knowing what is beyond the watered land he had chosen. According to an adage, ‘what comes after six is more than seven’; unknowingly, Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, a land that was destined for destruction. (Gen. 13:5-13)
Many people today think that everything that shines is gold, not knowing that many perishable materials are being overlaid with gold. Our judgment on physical things may be wrong if not viewed from spiritual perspective. We should not be too impressed by merely looking at a thing or envy those who have made it or fret about the rich; not all those who are rich acquired their wealth righteously. Therefore, do not envy them or go their way, many of their ways are destined for destruction.

What to know about Sodom

Sodom was the twin sister city of Gomorrah; both cities were mentioned in the book of Genesis. These two cities along with other three – Admah, Zeboim and Bela were supposed to have been situated on the Jordan plain in the southern region of the land of Canaan. It was a land that was well watered, the scripture states, “that it was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD”.
Divine judgment by God came upon the five cities. Sodom and her neighbors except one, Bela (Zoar) were completely consumed by fire and brimstone because of their wickedness. Sodom and Gomorrah has since then become synonymous with impenitent sin. They have been used as metaphors for vice and homosexuality.
Sins of Sodom
The sin of Sodom is viewed in two perspectives, Physical sin of homosexuality, and non physical sin related to cultural importance of hospitality. The scripture states
And the LORD said,

“Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” (Gen 18:20-21)
In this passage, two offenses are recorded against Sodom:
1. there is an outcry against Sodom
2. the sin of Sodom is very grave
At this juncture of the Lord’s meeting with Abraham, His intention was to go and verify whether this outcry against Sodom is true or not. This allegation against Sodom turned out to be true, the allegations were demonstrated against the angels when they arrived at Sodom just as they were alleged; the Bible recorded this in Genesis chapter 19.When the two angels got to Sodom, Lot welcomed them into his house, a generous act of hospitality toward men he recognized as special guests on his part. What happened next? The scripture states,

“Now before they (the two angels in the house of Lot) lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” (Gen 19:4-5)
Lot pleaded to protect the angels from being abused by the unruly mob of the men of Sodom; even to the extent of offering his two virgin daughters instead of the angels. But the men of Sodom were adamant and bent on knowing the angels carnally; this is a grave offense; this is homosexuality; an act that was forbidding by God. The men of Sodom were homosexual; this is evident when they disregard the available women; even after they were struck with blindness (Gen. 19:6-11).
Furthermore, other books of the Bible pointed to the sin of Sodom. 2Peter 2:7-10 described the men of Sodom as unprincipled; therefore, they are unruly and corrupt people who despised authority. Ezekiel defines the sin of Sodom as, pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness. Amos 4:1-11described Sodom as oppressing the poor and crushing the needy. Jeremiah compared the sin of Jerusalem to that of Sodom as adultery, lying and strengthening the hands of evil doers. What more evidence do we need to proof the sin of Sodom had caused an outcry unto the Lord.
Collation of the sins of Sodom
1. lack of hospitality
2. lack of compassion
3. treating visitors in sadistic manner
4. violation of hospitality as well as violence
5. the sodomites tried to rape angels
6. engagement in homosexuality
7. they lived ungodly (2Peter 2:6)
8. gross immorality and going after strange flesh (jude7)
9. pride,
Summing up these sins, the sin of Sodom is grave, ungodly, lawless and sensual conduct of unprincipled men. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of many things; however, the principal among them is the sin of homosexuality.
Ignorance is no excuse
My concern for writing this article is not actually for the reason that Lot did not respect Abraham, his uncle; but that one should not make choice based just on mere outlook; but through divine directive. “Not all that glitters are gold”. We should not allow greediness or first appearance to dictate the final decision on our choice.
Was Lot ignorant of Sodom to have pitched his tent toward her; a corrupt and wicked city? If at all he was ignorant of it, after he had gotten there and found out of her wickedness; in reality of all the wickedness perpetrated by the men of Sodom, and for Lot, having known of the waywardness and perversion of the men of Sodom; why did he remained in the city? Why did he prefer to stay among them if not that something astonished him about the life style of the city? Why should a child of God prefer to stay among people or in an environment that will influence him/her negatively?
The Lord being merciful, He could have destroyed the city of Sodom and Gomorrah without telling Abraham and Lot. But because He is a merciful God, His angels grabbed Lot and his family and brought them out forcefully to safety (Gen. 19:16). If not for God’s mercy, Lot and his family would have perished with the people of Sodom. In spite of the mercy, Lot’s wife was lost because she could not take her eyes off the world around Sodom; she looked back, defying the angel’s command. The scripture states,
“But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
The scripture states again,
“Evil company corrupts good habits” (1Cor. 15:33).
It is Important for all Christians not to take any decision without applying discerning spirit for guidance. Knowledge alone does not make a person wiser; the fear of God must accompany it – do not leave God out of your decision.
The scripture states,
The fear of the Lord leads to life and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil (Pro. 19:23).
The choice Lot made without minding what comes after is evident in the result of the evil that visited him after he had settled in Sodom. The success or end result of anything or action can only be accurately known if we commit our way to the spirit of God to guide us.
There are situations in life that we need to make a choice; this moment calls for caution; we must be careful about the choice we make. Our choice should not be based on high profile, face value or popularity of the choice. However, we need to apply a discerning spirit and commit our way unto the Lord to help us choose.
The choice of watered land sent Lot to pitch his tent toward Sodom. He was living big in the city because he was one of the elders. The end of living a high life turns to living a low life – from living in the city to living in the cave; and from living in the cave to living in the mountain. A decision that is not divinely guided can send someone into desolation and isolation.
It is dangerous to pitch toward Sodom
What do I mean? Why is it dangerous to pitch one’s tent toward Sodom and then settle down there? We know the background of Sodom and what it stands for; and we know what happens to Lot for choosing to live in a city that was ravaged by wickedness: that is the result – destruction. The following are among the many ways we pitch our tent toward Sodom:
• Do things that we know to be wrong;
• Rashly take a decision without thought
• Deliberately decide to follow a path that we know can lead to destruction
• choosing a carrier of profession we are not good at because of money and popularity
• Ignoring a good advise that works contrary to ones destructive concluded choice
• We chose a wrong person as spouse because of high profile or appearance
• We go into wrong business because it is gold mine for some people
• We like city life without minding the evil and crime that occurs frequently or time consuming to get our way around there.
• Deliberately rush into something to deprive others from having access
• Willfully remain in a situation because of the unrighteous enjoyment derived from it
• Sometime allow flesh to preside over their spirit – a minister of God working outside his/her calling – “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;” (Jude:6)
• For selfish reason, we do not consider others
• We live ungodly to fit the norms of the day with the aim of being recognized
• We fill we have to sell ourselves to be accepted by the society
• We join crowd to get power to oppress or to avoid being oppressed
• We lived among wicked people because we are ashamed to be identified with Christ
• Because of unrighteous gains we pervert justice
• Because of idleness, we engaged in all sorts of immorality to fill the wasted time
• Because of intolerance, many lack hospitality and thus become violent
Should I continue to give more examples? “A word is enough for a wise”. As children of God, this is just to open our eyes to the many ways Christians pitch their tent toward Sodom. That is, we take decision or make choice without divine directive; the end of that choice can be destructive. Peradventure we took a wrong choice and we realized later that our choice was wrong; we need to do what is necessary to avoid being destroyed.
Sodom represents any choice (undertaking, business, life style, aspiration, pursuit etc) we don’t know much about or what we know later to be a way or place of destruction. If we deliberately follow it or settled there, what is going to be our fate? Will the gracious God that spares the life of Lot and his two daughters spare us? Can we have a second chance? Sodom is the way to destruction; likewise, deliberate sinning is a way to destruction.
The scripture states,
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Rom. 6:1)
The conclusion of this article is your choice.

To be continued

By Lawrence Abitogun

 

 


The scripture states,

For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”(Gen. 18:19)

What a testimony! This was the Lord’s testimony concerning Abraham’s character; this testimony speaks of integrity. The Almighty God is attesting to the integrity of a man that believed in God; and the Lord imputed it to him as righteousness.

The Lord said, “I have known him”; regardless of the thousands of definitions given to the word integrity, as many as have said that the definition is relative; only the one given by our God proves to sum up all other definitions. The word integrity is summed up in this phrase rendered concerning Abraham by the Lord, “keep the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice”.

One of my favorite human definitions is the one which states, “Integrity is a personal choice, an uncompromising and predictably consistent commitment to honor moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles”. The whole essence of this definition is contained in the phrase which the Lord used to describe the integrity of Abraham: “keeping the way of the Lord, to do righteously and justice”

Another definition states, “The concept of consistency of action, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes”. Again consistency of action in all that was mentioned (a break down of the word righteous and justice); comes under the phrase “keeping the way of the Lord, to do righteously and justice”.

Having given these definitions, let us see some examples of well-known men/women of God in the Bible who stands above others due to their integrity.

  • Abraham believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. (Gen. 15:6); we called him father of faith
  • Joseph avoided fornication with another man’s wife and said, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen 39:9)
  • Job – was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1); a man of faith who trusted in God through prosperity and adversity.
  • Jephthah said “I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it”. (Jug. 11:35); a principled man even to his own hurt.
  • David, a man after the heart of God (1Sam. 13:14); God’s description of David, a man with many faults, but a man whose spirit was sensitive to God’s will.
  • Daniel’s refusal to comply with the conspiracy of the governors not to petition any god or man except the king for thirty day landed him in the den of lion. After he was delivered and his answer to the king’s question was, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” (Dan. 6:21-22)
  • Dorcas’ generosity was revealed before she was raised by Peter:  “And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them” (Acts 9:39)
  • Cornelius, “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always”. (Acts 10:2); an obedient man to the cure to the course of God.

There are more examples of men and women of integrity in the Bible whose character we can learn from to become a Christian with integrity. One thing common to all these examples is consistency in their characters which was evident in their individual godly trait. Another thing that is common to them is this; they were all delivered from every adversity they faced. Do you know that your integrity can save you in the day of trouble?

A person of integrity must be sober-minded

The scripture states,

“in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you” (Tit. 2:7-8).

A Christian with integrity is straight forward; he/she pays attention to all circumstances and consequences; and then does the rightful and needful. He/she is not biased, neither carried away by passion or feeling; but someone who is composed, calm and judicial – “keeping the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice”.

A Christian with integrity must be mindful of his/her life style because many youth and elderly will learn more from their daily actions how it matches their utterances. Careful attention needs to be paid to our lives, making sure they are in line with the Christianity we professed.

Life scenario

There is a popular town in my country, noted for being the largest cocoa beans producer. I used to be the General Manager of a company, the largest indigenous cocoa merchant in the country. I am very familiar with the produce buyers in that town because we buy the highest percentage of our cocoa bean from there.

Before patronizing any potential customer, I always make inquiry about whom to and not to patronize. Many people in that town are cocoa license buyers and they know themselves very well; however, no one would want to say anything contrary against anyone, either good or bad. Many were afraid to tell me who is faithful or a dubious person. If I did not do a thorough scrutiny of who to do business with, I would fall into the hand of fraudsters, because they dominated the highest percentage of cocoa buyers.

However, I have this testimony of an outstanding man to whom everyone in that town would direct me if I need any information concerning anyone or anything in the community. Humanly, I would rate him as a man of integrity. He is the only one who is not afraid of any man; and bold enough to give the exact picture and situation of things. He is a good Christian who put to practice what he knows to be “keep the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice”.

I made this attestation based on my interaction with him later and the high degree of his faithfulness toward our company; he was the most faithful customer we ever had. If he promised to supply our company with a certain metric tones of cocoa bean at a particular time for a particular price, he would deliver appropriately. In case he would not be able to deliver, either because of price increase or scarcity of the product, he would let us know; if it is necessary for him to return the advance given to him, without any delay, he would do so.

Moreover, he is straight forward and honest. If he supplies his contract, he would not supply substandard quality; he would not undercut the standard weight; he would use the right state produce graders to grade his produce; he avoids every fraudulent act that most of other buyers engaged. Kudos to this man; he would not collect money from our company to supply to another company for a higher price; but he was always committed to the terms of his contract.

I can write a book about this man of integrity; however, let me round it up this way. This man is very humblenot ostentatious or flashy like the dubious one; though not that upper class; but he lived a decent life. Whatever he says, that is exactly what he meant and that is the way you will find it. He has a name that he protects and he would not do anything to soil it. He has demonstrated what it takes to be a man of integrity – “an uncompromising and predictably consistent commitment to honor moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles”.

How faithful and committed are you to the course of the Christianity you professed? How faithful are you to the rules and regulations in your place of work? How faithful and committed are you to the law of the land? Can the Lord and man attest to your integrity?

Describing a Christian with integrity

The scenario narrated above in this article is a good example of a Christian with integrity, falling in line with the qualities found in the testimony of our God concerning Abraham (quoted above) and Job (below).

The scripture states,

“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3)

If a Christian embraces these qualities based on the Lord’s description of a man with integrity, there is no any works of life where that Christian will not stand above reproach. However, a Christian with integrity must be able to hold on to these qualities even when danger is imminent or when in trouble.

Man’s earthly definitions of integrity are relative and are based on a set standard derived from a single core group of values; and they varied from one group to the other. A Christian with integrity must be consistent in this sum-up:  keeping the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice; blameless and upright; and fear God and shun evil. Any one who embraces these qualities would pass the test of integrity set by any group or organization.

Unfortunately, the word integrity has been polluted and falsely presented in the way companies, institutions, groups; even religious organizations advertise themselves today. In their mission statements or concept lines, you find integrity or word similar to it, but their output fall short of the standard. In the church, the overseer and their close associate is being addressed as a man of integrity; in business organizations, the CEO or the MD is being called a man of integrity; in government, the secretaries (permanent or temporary) are being addressed to be with integrity and so on.

What they do is what they try to cover. Only to find out later that these “holy thou art” lied, cheats, corrupt (morally and financially), trickily package their products as real, trickily put burden on their church members, and make them contribute without any value in return. Many CEO and MD embezzled in their organizations.

No human status justifies integrity; it is uprightness that proofs integrity. You say something and you follow it up, even to your own hurt, like Jephthah. What else can I say, the truth of the matter is this, as a Christian, you must embrace the statement, “keeping the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice; blameless and upright; fear God and shun evil”; this is the only way you can be upright and work above reproach.

One thing we need to know as a Christian is to conform to God’s word as a way of life. Any organization that sets up laws, rules or regulations that oppose the word of God is not a good place for a Christian to work. The word of God states,

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

Moreover, a person with integrity in most cases has faith and would trust God through prosperity or adversity. On one hand, when situation is rosy, that is the time to show and display integrity. On the other hand, when situation is tough, it is the time not to allow circumstances, situation or distraction to lose your integrity.

Furthermore, a person of integrity will act on information he/she received; however, must authenticate that information before taking any action: or else, one may be found guilty of ignorance.

In the book of Genesis 20; Abimelech, king of Gerar took the wife of Abraham based on the information he received that Sarah was Abraham’s sister. But God appeared to Abimelech in the dream and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife”.

But Abimelech replied God, “…In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” And the Lord replied Abimelech, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her”.

Eventually, Abimelech had to return Abraham’s wife to him. The Lord spared him for his integrity.

Your integrity can save you in the day of trouble. A child of God must walk in integrity – keeping the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice; blameless and upright; and fear God and shun evil.

Character of a Christian with integrity

Haven given God’s and man’s definition of a person with integrity; some biblical examples; and a life example: let us now look at some of the characteristics of a person that can be described as a Christian with integrity.

  • Obviously, he/she must be born again because keeping integrity cannot be maintained in the flesh but in the spirit
  • Must be a devout man/woman in thechurchofGod; leading in all good things by example – worship, generosity, prayer, evangelism etc.
  • He/she cannot be a novice in the word of God because he/she must be able to know what is right and wrong. Individual who show integrity not only understand right from wrong, but they practice everything pertaining to the Christianity they professed in all they do.
  • A Christian with integrity must fear God; he is not afraid or respecter of a person; but bold to give the exact picture and situation of things
  • A Christian with integrity keeps the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice; He/she cannot be bought or bribed to pervert justice.
  • A Christian with integrity does not walk in falsehood, iniquity, deceit, dishonesty or partial.
  • A Christian with integrity is straight forward, of high degree of faithfulness and honesty; not fraudulent.
  • Integrity is walking in the truth; not hypocrite nor association with evil doers
  • A Christian with integrity does not lie; he/she is a man/woman of his/her word.
  • He/she always holds on to the truth; because, integrity demonstrates where trustworthy actions set the foundation for success in all endeavors.
  • A Christian with integrity in not a totalitarian; but he/she shares other people’s ideas in line with the truth.
  • He is not hasty to conclude matters, but pays attention to all circumstances and consequences; and then does the rightful and needful.
  • Integrity is not based on qualification nor has something to do with status; however, within the little one knows, based upon that intelligence, a Christian with integrity will use it judiciously and adjusts for improvement.
  • A Christian with integrity is not a double tongue or a double standard person; whatever he says, that is exactly what he meant and that is the way you will find it, and that will be the truth.
  • A Christian with integrity must be confidential – confidentiality instills trust and encourages sincere consideration of the privacy of others
  • A Christian with integrity leads by example in that principle which he/she has set or on that which people know him/her to be in the Lord – moral, ethical, spiritual and biblical values and principles.
  •  Though, no one is perfect; however, one must be blameless and upright; having good testimony based on the word of God and good report by men.
  • Not proud; not ostentatious; but humble
  • A Christian with integrity must have good testimony before God and man; showing him/her self to be a pattern of good works; abiding in the apostolic doctrine; a person of respect, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of him/her.

Haven listed these characteristics out of many that can be found of a Christian with integrity; I would like to challenge all of us who claim to be born again Christians to weigh ourselves in these characteristics. My question to you is this; do you measure up to the standard? And if not, this is an opportunity to improve and be a Christian with integrity.

Why many Christians cannot maintain integrity

Every Christian who is born again must aspire to maintain his/her integrity or else it would be difficult to defend what he/she professes. Integrity is never easy; as I have said earlier, it is not something one can achieve with the flesh; it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that a Christian can achieve and maintain it. A person may start well with integrity and unable to hold on to it to the end because of some circumstances within and beyond their control. Spiritually, we have wished to do some things, but weak for our flesh to accomplish them. The flesh is always in opposition to things of the spirit. What are the things that would hinder a Christian not to maintain his/her integrity?

Satan

Since integrity cannot be achieved and maintained through the flesh except by the spirit; it is worth noting that satan is the number one enemy of integrity. The devil is always looking for opportunity to discredit and to disqualify the integrity of man; especially, if one claim to be a born again Christian. In fact the devil has many tools (affliction, infliction, suffering, hardship, enticement and other adversities) by which he can obstruct or destroy one’s integrity.

When situation seems to be rosy, the devil can use the comfort zone syndrome to cause a careless Christian to backslide through pride, complacency, self gratification, worldliness etc; or the devil can strike anyone with affliction to derail that person from faith and cause the person to loose his/her integrity.

This is the more reason Christians must be vigilant and sober; taking cognizance of moments of any changes in their lives. It was when things were rosy for Job that the devil moved against him and afflicted him with several blows of afflictions; even though God was aware. However, God vouched on behalf of Job that he would not loose his integrity even when situation turns to adversity for him.

Fear

Another thing that would cause a Christian to loose integrity is the quest for power, money and position; and the fear of losing that power, position and money. Because of these earthly glories, many Christians who are being looked up to be of integrity have been bought and bribed; they have perverted justice and are corrupt because of the fear of losing these earthly glories. Many have told lies; many are dishonest; many have undercut standards; many have been enticed to join secret cult; and many have killed competitors: their hands are full of blood.

A chief judge of a country once said that his hands are tight; therefore, he had to send an innocent person to jail. He perverted justice in order for him to keep his job. This judge like any other human being would rather prefer to satisfy man than God. This is the Pontius Pilate of this age.

Even in thechurchofGod, there you will find those who will not kill in the physical; but would destroy people’s character (character assassination) to gain favor of either the church minister or church members. At the end, these earthly judges would decorate and address all these imposters as someone with integrity.

Insecurity

It has become a plague among many Christians the feeling of insecurity in work place; in the home between spouses; among peers; in government institutions; and among politicians. Most people’s hands are not clean; the evil which many have perpetrated is hunting them; therefore, the feeling of insecurity engulfed them. This insecurity has caused many to tell lies and engaged in some unrighteous and ungodly behaviors and activities.

How do they think they have overcome this insecurity?

  • Many would do anything at any cost to remain in power to cover their wickedness;
  • Many would seek for asylum under secret societies – fraternity, occult or gang related societies for protection.

Familiarity

Many Christian have changed the course of fairness and equality to engage in partiality. Because of someone’s familiarity, integrity is abused; a Christian now tends to favor a close associate or a fairly looking person who is not qualified than a qualified outsider who would do a better job. Because of familiarity, many Christians have been influenced to become a Christian who obeys the word of God selectively. You don’t want people to feel bad about you or you want to be “Mr. Good” to all at the expense of your integrity. If you pass the test of you integrity before man and fail before God, you are doomed.

Natural human ability to cut back on behavior

The scripture states,

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it? (Jer. 17:9)

A Christian who in not spirit filled, who does not walk in the spirit and who is not spiritually conscious of his moments is prone to change at any time. Many have changed from good state to the opposite; while some have changed from bad to be good. Because of this natural tendency of man to change, a Christian with integrity must be able to recognize the wiles and baits of the devil in order to avoid falling in its snare and thus looses his/her integrity.

Diverse definition of integrity

Everyone defines integrity differently; therefore, as some people say “a saint in the devil’s territory is a devil in the worldwide community of Christians”; if a Christian finds him/her self working under a group set rules and regulations or set laws that is in opposition to keeping the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice; that Christian ought to leave that group. The group can be a church, government establishment, business corporation, social society; wherever you find yourself where you will only be honored when you abide by their policies; if that group/organization/company engages in what is not in line with the way of the Lord, righteousness and justice, leave the group.

Be a Christian with true integrity

Many would wonder why I said, be a Christian with true integrity; the reason has to do with the many definitions and meanings that the world applies to the word; these definitions are not in agreement with the Christian use of it. In the Christian way, God has given us a good definition of the word upon which we can build our integrity.

The world’s use of integrity describes people who get things done according to their stated rules and regulations; either right or wrong. For example, if the CEO of your company wants you to undercut the size or measure of a product and you obey, even though the act is unrighteous; as long as you do what the CEO says, you are automatically an employee with integrity. That is not the Christian way; this act goes well with the world’s definition.

Can one moral characteristic be enough to describe a Christian with integrity? On the other hand, does a person have to score 100% in the moral characteristics to be called a Christian with integrity? Indeed, no one is perfect to score perfectly in the entire characteristics; however, one must demonstrate whatever knowledge one has in the perfect will of God.

What do people know you to be; in this world, three things will bear witness of your integrity; your self, people’s testimony and the word of God (God’s revelation). You know who you are and the motives behind what you do; however, what people say about you are things that are read from what they see in you; while God’s revelation X-ray’s you.

The word of God states that we are the epistle the world read

“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” (2Cor. 3:2-3)

Pharaoh acknowledged that Joseph has the spirit of God, “in whom is the spirit of God” (Gen. 41:38); he testified to the integrity and reality of God’s power in Joseph. One of the rewards of being with integrity is that God upholds the upright from committing sin and preventing evil judgment to come upon him/her. Again, the word of God says that he who walks with integrity walks security. Be a Christian with integrity whose character is beyond reproach.

In another instance; King Darius said this concerning Daniel,

“… “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” (Dan. 6: 20b).

Daniel’s faithfulness got him into trouble; he was thrown into the den of the lion. However, his faith got him out of the trouble, because he did not weaver nor deny his faith even in the mist of impending danger. His integrity delivered him (Dan. 6). The word of God says that the integrity of the upright will guide them (Pro. 11:3-6).

What are people saying about you? You know that pretending to be upright before men while you have ulterior motive behind your action is self deception; you cannot deceive God. The scripture states,

“For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1Jn. 5:7).

Do not deceive yourself; let your integrity be approved on earth as well as in heaven.

Whoever is called a Christian must be a believer with integrity. What is expected of that person is consistency of action in the display of expected characteristics related to value, method, measure, principle, expectation and outcome. The action must be seen in the way one keeps the way of the Lord; that way of the Lord is the way of righteousness and justice. For a Christian to excel in this, his/her action has to be based on the word of God.

You must be able to maintain integrity; this is made possible when you guard yourself with the armor of God. Those things that Apostle Paul mentioned about the armor of God are those things that you must take considerably to maintain your integrity. These characteristics are Truth, Righteousness; evangelizing the gospel of peace, having Faith, having genuine salvation, having knowledge of the Word of God and praying in the spirit (Eph. 6:14-18).

Integrity is all about truthfulness, faithfulness and honesty; and how accurately we have been maintaining it. Also, integrity in Christianity is a positive model, where the Christian is not found short of wholeness, (improving to be perfect always) and uncompromising with the norms of this world; but always be in sound and perfect will of God.

Finally, be a Christian with integrity, wise, understanding, and knowledgeable. You have to be knowledgeable in the sense of your experience acquired in your day-to-day living according to the will of God; understanding the life of the people around you and making correct judgment based on the word of God. You need to understand the people in the sense of their ability to deal with the realities of life from God’s perspective and dealing with all parties without discrimination in any settlement. Your wisdom will reflect in your ability to settle matters even when disparity occurs. The test of your professed Christianity will be proven in your integrity.

 

By Lawrence Abitogun






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