Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reputation Stained, Character Cleansed

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

Integrity.  The word comes from the Hebrew word ‘tom’ and is translated in the Strong’s Online concordance as completeness, fullness, innocence, simplicity.”

I can tell you living with integrity is anything but simple. I am in a constant battle with my flesh.  I naturally want people to like me. (Truth be told, this is a pride issue but that is another topic entirely.)  I do not like to make waves and have often been referred to as a peacekeeper.  Many times, I have not confessed and acted on what is right for fear of losing something, especially something of a personal nature.  I often feared what a friend might think of me if I stood against something I knew to be scripturally wrong.  I feared losing my family as I began to understand the Bible and acted accordingly. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, I was shown this fear I was experiencing when choosing to stand up for God, and being Biblical in my walk with Christ, was not coming from above. How could it be when God is very clear in His word which says in 2 Timothy 1:7:

 

                        “For God has not given us the spirit of fear…”

 

The fear of losing someone you love can be an overwhelming grip of the enemy.  Many times we compromise ourselves, or even outright disobey God, based on our feelings. We know what His word says regarding a particular situation or sin in our life, yet we neglect to act as Christ would. These are the exact moments in my life when the one, true, living God desires me to trust in Him and His word completely.  I cannot rely on how I feel at a particular moment in time because my feelings change based on my emotions (and sometimes, if truth be told, at this stage in my life, my hormones). I must, as a follower of Jesus Christ, act on what is right according to God’s word, the Bible.  

How does one go about determining what is right in a world where many believers—self-professed, born again Christians—do not use the Bible as their guide for moral decisions? I was astounded to read a Barna survey of Americans entitled Most Adults Feel Accepted by God, But Lack a Biblical Worldview1, which stated,

“About half of all adults (54%) claim that they make their moral choices on the basis of specific principles or standards they believe in.”(Emphasis mine)

and this survey went on the say:

 “…just one out of every six adults (16%) claim they make their moral choices based on the content of the Bible.”(Emphasis mine)

Herein lays the trouble dear saints. When individuals start making decisions as followers of Christ based on what we personally believe in, or how we feel at the time, rather than acting on what God’s word actually says, we must ask ourselves, “Are we really following Christ?”

Perhaps we should ponder what Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

 “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV)  

When we choose to act on what God has shown us in His word to be right, we must then take a stand and do what is scripturally correct.   

Erwin W. Lutzer2 says this in his book Who Are You To Judge, “The word integrity comes from the same Latin root as integer, a “whole number.”  Christ gives us the completeness and fullness of who we are as a body of believers. When we in Christ join together and act on God’s word, we become a whole body with Christ at the head; we become people of wholeness, a people of integrity.  

Ephesians 4:14-16, “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (NIV, emphasis mine)

Our testimony to Christ, and in fact the entire world, is the very life we live which God has shown us through His word how to do.  Many say our reputations are important but I would agree with Lutzer and say it is our character.  Our reputations can be ruined if someone spreads an untrue word about us. We can deny these rumors but others, unfortunately, are inclined to believe them.  If however we are known by our character and we are people of integrity, then our character will be our defense against such rumors.  People will then question rumors and lies and find them hard to believe rather than easy to swallow. Our character is more important than our reputation and it will always stand no matter what people may say.  We will know be known because we live the word of God every day.

 I close with this scripture:

     “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity (speaking or acting in two different ways).” (Proverb 11:3NIV, definition added is mine.)

And my prayer is this:

      “Let me be weighed in a just balance and let God know my integrity!” (Job 36:1 NRSV)

 

Lori Robbins is foremost a follower of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  She is a wife and mother of two—a boy and a girl.  In March 2010, Lori felt God’s call on her heart to begin praying at 3 o’clock p.m. every day. Lori followed God’s direction and later that same year started 3 O’clock Prayer Ministries, a ministry focused on helping believers realize how important prayer is in their lives.  She enjoys blogging about her walk–perhaps a bit of humor–with God while sharing the triumphs and trials He so graciously carries her though on her website www.3oclockprayer.com. Lori is also in process of writing a book about Prayer in the Believers Life and hoping to have it completed by December 2012. 

 

NOTES:

1. The Barna Group of Ventura California, www.barna.org Most Adults Feel Accepted by God, but Lack a Biblical Worldview

2. Lutzer, Erwin W. (2002) Who Are You to Judge Chicago, IL: Moody Press

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