CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH, GARDEN OF FULFILMENT (a.k.a CACGOF),BEHIND LATE GOVERNOR ADERAFATI’S RESIDENCE, BESIDE LANDMARK HOSTEL, HEPHZIBAH DISTRICT, FREEDOM ZONE, AKUNGBA-AKOKO, ONDO STATE, NIGERIA
WORKERS’ RETREAT THEME: SPIRITUAL LIFE AND CHRIST’S LIFESTYLE.
TOPIC 2: CHRISTIAN INTEGRITY (ICHRONICLES 29:17).
DEFINITION: Webster’s Dictionary defines integrity as “the quality or state of being of sound moral principle, uprightness, honesty and sincerity. The word for integrity in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word tom which means: simplicity, soundness, completeness, upright and perfection.
INTEGRITY DEMONSTRATED:There once was a mighty warrior in David’s army named Uriah the Hittite (IISam.11:11). While Uriah was away fighting for Israel, David seduced his wife, Bathsheba. When David heard she was with a child, he called Uriah back home with the intention that Uriah would sleep with his wife and thereby think the child was his; but Uriah refused even to enter his home. When David asked him why, Uriah responded “The ark of Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my Lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house and eat and drink and lie with my wife. (2Sam.11:11). What an integrity Uriah had! He was absolutely unyielding doing what he thought to be right. And Uriah’s integrity was demonstrated in vivid contrast with David’s obvious lack of integrity in this instance. Job upheld his integrity despite wrong advice from his friends and wife to curse God and die (Job 2:9, Job 1:8, Job 6:29). Zecharaiah and Elizabeth’s integrity was demonstrated, both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly (Luke1:6). What of Joseph’s integrity, any lesson here? Please search the scriptures (Gen 39:6ff).
STEP TO INTEGRITY (PSALM 24): We did not inherit integrity from our parents. It is not innate. It is learned. Psalm 24:4 explains better.
HE WHO HAS CLEAN HANDS: The phrase “clean hands” does not speak simply of the state of dirt on a person’s hands, but speaks of the purity of deeds. It also speaks of what a man does not do. In the Biblical sense of these words, clean hands speak volumes about the person. In encompasses his entire being. It means he does not indulge in the sins of the flesh. It says he does not harm to his neighbor and that he does what is right towards others. This means, he does not murder, he does not lie, cheat, steal, slander, etc.
HE WHO HAS A PURE HEART: The pure heart as David used it in this psalm speaks of what a person thinks. It is directed at ones inward thought (John 1:47). Jesus refers to Nathaniel as a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false.The heart is the engine room of man, where circulation takes effect. Why is God so concerned with our thought? God knows that thought proceeds to action. So, to act with integrity, one must think with integrity. (Prov. 27:9, Prov. 23:6,7)
WHO DOES NOT LIFT UP HIS SOUL TO AN IDOL: Today, few Christians have physical images or idol before which they bow down and worship (Exo. 20:3-5). Your idol may be clothing, wearing of gold, jewelries, hairdos, etc. God wants His children to know that He and He alone is God. None other and/or nothing else is to come between God and His people. (Matt. 22:36-38). Anything we love more than God could become an idol (e.g. houses, jobs, certain person, position, money, entertainment, recreation, etc). I submit here that anything placed above or equal to God is an idol.
HE WHO DOES NOT SWEAR BY WHAT IS FALSE (Prov. 6:19, Prov. 19:9, Matt. 5:33-37), Exo. 20:7). This verse is a warning against lying. God hates lies because Satan, the enemy of our soul, is the father of lies, certainly, a Christian must not be a lier. Let your yes be yes and no be no. You have to be trustworthy, reliable and dependable.
HOW DO WE LOOSE OUR INTEGRITY?We can loose our integrity through sin, the common sin the enemy uses most effectively with Christians is to compromise.Solomon walked before the Lord in integrity until he began to compromise his worship of God with the pagan gods of his many wives (IKings 11:1-16, Deut.17:16-18).Samson grew with godly background of parents that fear the Lord,, but compromise by going down (little by little), until he got trapped by Delilah and was finally destroyed (Judges 13:5, 16:20).Demas, a renowned evangelist under the tutelage of Apostle Paul eventually compromised and went with the world. (Col.4:14, IITim.4:10).
HOW TO MAINTAIN OUR INTEGRITY:By admonishing one another (Rom,.15:14)Integrity in the Word of God (Ps 119:105, Jos 1:8)Help of Holy Spirit (Phil. 2:13, John 14:26)
PRINCIPLES THAT GUIDE A MAN OF INTEGRITY:Temperament: As a worker, you should control your temperament. You should be disciplined. Watch and pray.Speaking up for others: Sometimes, one has to speak up because others are being treated unjustly by people or institution. God has given us the gift of speech primarily to serve others rather than to advance our own selfish agendas. In the scriptures, Moses stood before God at Mount Sinai and advocated for the Jewish Nation (Exo 32). He appealed publicly to God to forgive the people. Similarly, Christ on the cross asked God the Father to forgive our sins. (Lk 23:24).Good Behaviour: To exhibit good behavior, means to be well-behaved. It also means to have a good conduct, to be orderly composed, solid and honest. A person of good behavior is one whose character and conduct stand as an example or pattern for others (2Thess. 3:7).A Teacher: A man of integrity must each to better the lives of others. A teacher should be able to share and be able to explain what has been deposited in him. A teacher’s life must be an example to others which is instilling a sense of value and self worth.
BENEFITS OF LIVING A LIFE OF INTEGRITY: Receiving blessing from the LordRighteousness from GodThe Gates will lift heads for him (Ps 24)The King of glory will dominate his lifeIt brings protection (Ps 25:31)It gives one confidence (Prov. 10:9)It helps us to make good decision (Prov. 11:3)It sets one apart from othersIt keeps one out of troubles.