Maintaining One’s Integrity in God
And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).
Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).
And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-35 Amplified)
As the days grow darker, as the depths of the degree to which human beings could be evil and self-concerned plummets to new records, I find myself reflecting on what it means to maintain one’s integrity in God.
I am reminded that once we have accepted the amazing work on the cross as the supreme sacrifice for the redemption of our souls, and have become born again after the spirit of the living God, it is incumbent upon us to live each day from the new nature that is available to us and to shun at every possible opportunity the earthly spirit that so easily consumed us before that joyous day when we came to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
Turning our backs on the “old man”; the one controlled by emotions, pride and ego is not an easy task when in the face of evil people, loved ones who continuously give offense, and extremely difficult circumstances, we are tempted every day to resort to manifestations of our baser selves.
Like Job, when life comes at you with all bats swinging you could be tempted to leave off your integrity and curse God and die. However, would like Job, we would have the wisdom to know that no calamity, no degree of stress, no conflict is great enough to make us exchange our heritage in the Lord for short term satisfaction of being shown to be in the ‘right’.
We must always remember that once one has been accepted into the family of God by embracing the mighty work of salvation that Jesus wrought for us on the cross, one’s main purpose is to be involved in the ministry of reconciling men, women and children back to God the Father, not just through what we may say of Him but how our lives represent the beautiful aspects of His divine nature. The fruit of the Spirit must always be evident in us – His love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, (Galatians 5:22)
The Word of God says that man should not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. As we meditate on God’s word, the Holy Spirit is able to bring alive His Spirit in us, gradually doing away with the imperfect nature of the selfish man which so often besets us. In so doing we therefore become increasingly able to move as dead men among the forests of multiple offence (unaffected by the many hostile barbs that come our way). Then armoured in the unfailing love of God, our living witness will draw many, currently struggling with lives full of strife, unforgiveness, bitterness, lack of purpose etc. to the One in whom all true hope lies.