Live with integrity

Proverbs 10:9 NIV

The word ‘integrity’ can be thrown around a lot in today’s society. But what does it really mean to live with integrity? A person with integrity is complete and undivided. The Bible says: ‘The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity’ (Proverbs 11:3 NIV). To live with integrity we need to be aware of the right way to live (which we can find out by reading the Bible), and then live like that in all areas of our life. We can’t be acting one way with one group of people, and another way with others. This means that we really need to know, and be strong in, who we are. If we are not sure who we really are, we will try to adapt so we fit in with other people. We will be worried about what they think about us. But if we know who we are in Christ, we will be less concerned with other people’s opinions and be the same in every situation. But living with integrity doesn’t mean that we will never make mistakes. The Bible tells us that ‘a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again’ (Proverbs 24:16 NKJV). Everybody falls, but people with integrity always get back up. God is patient; He will work with us until we get it. He can put our life back together again if we surrender to Him. We will also face times where we feel tempted to go the wrong way or to act differently in a situation. Paul says, ‘When you are tempted, he will…provide a way out so that you can endure it’ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). We don’t have to give in to temptation – it’s not easy, but God can help us make the right decisions so we can be people of integrity.

Josh 1:7-8; 2 Tim 3:14-17; Ps 119:1-16

Seek His help today

Romans 8:26 NAS

Paul writes: “The Spirit also helps our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (vv. 26-27 NAS). So what is this “weakness” in prayer that we are subject to? It’s that sometimes we don’t know how to express the depth of our desires and feelings, nor do we even realize what we need. Sometimes we’re so exhausted in spirit, mind, and body, that we can hardly muster the energy to open our mouths. There are instances when discouragement has taken such a strong hold of your heart that you can’t imagine a way out of your circumstances. That’s when you need to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help! When you are a believer, the Holy Spirit supplies you with the two things you can’t live without: (1) The ability to know what God is saying to you. Sometimes you can’t trust your own wisdom or the advice of those closest to you. (2) How to have an intimate relationship with God. One of the most wonderful things Jesus said was, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). But friendships aren’t built on a hit-and-run basis; they take time and communication. Jesus described His relationship with the Father like this: “The Father loves the Son and shows him everything” (John 5:20 NLT). And not only does the Holy Spirit show you what to do, He empowers you to do it. So seek His help today.

Soul food: Ecc 11:7-12:1; Ps 39:4-13; 2 Tim 4:6-8

Maak dit ‘n persoonlike groei ervaring

Efesiërs 4:15 NLV

Voor jy iemand oor ‘n kwessie konfronteer, stop eers en ondersoek jou beweegredes. Is jou doel om hulle te help, of te verneder? Jesus het mense opgehef en herstel en jy moet dieselfde doen. Vra jouself af, sou jy dinge anders benader het as jy nie so persoonlik betrokke was nie? Konfronteer jy hierdie persoon om jouself beter te laat lyk? Om iemand anders te verneder om jouself op te hef, is die laagste vorm van ego-bevrediging. Die digter Kahlil Gibran het gesê: ‘Om te verkleineer, moet jy klein wees.’ Moenie dit doen nie! Dis ‘n teken van onsekerheid. Onthou jy Nehemia se reaksie op diegene wat hom wou ontmoedig om Jerusalem se mure te herbou? ‘…Ek is met ‘n groot taak besig, ek kan nie nou daarmee ophou en julle ontmoet nie’ (Nehemia 6:3 NLV). Moenie toelaat dat jou kritici jou spoed breek nie. Moenie meer klem op die opinies van ‘n kritikus as op die aanmoedigings van ‘n vriend plaas nie. Voor jy iemand anders se lewe onder die mikroskoop plaas, moet jy eers stop en jou eie lewe ondersoek. Stoei jy met dieselfde kwessie, of een wat net so erg is? Het jy sukses behaal in dieselfde area waar jy iemand anders van mislukking beskuldig? Met ander woorde, het jy die reg om aangehoor te word, verdien? Paulus skryf: ‘Nee, terwyl ons mekaar liefhet, sal ons by die waarheid bly en so in alle opsigte groei om soos Christus te wees…’ Kan dit wees dat die situasie waarin jy jou tans bevind, ‘n geleentheid is om jou eie volwassenheid aan te meet en om dit ‘n geestelike groei ervaring te maak?

Sielskos: 2 Pet 1-3; Joh 4:27-38; Ps 87; Spr 24:1-4

Gentle correcting

Galatians 6:1 NCV

When we notice an issue that someone has, sometimes we feel like we need to speak to them about it. But before we do, we need to stop and examine our motives. Are we trying to help them or humiliate them? Are we confronting this person to make ourselves look better? Jesus lifted up and restored people, and that’s what we should be doing too. We shouldn’t be trying to make people look bad in front of others, trying to make ourselves look holy, or shifting the focus to someone else because we don’t want people to look at what we are doing wrong. Before we put somebody else’s life under the microscope, let’s stop and examine our own. Are we struggling with the same issue, or one just as bad? Jesus said: ‘Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye? How can you say to your friend, “Let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye”? Look at yourself! You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye. You hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your friend’s eye’ (Matthew 7:3-5 NCV). But if we are confident that we should be speaking to someone about something they’re doing, let’s ensure we are doing it with kindness, grace, gentleness, and love. In Galatians we are told, ‘if someone in your group does something wrong, you who are spiritual should go to that person and gently help make him right again.’ We shouldn’t be judgmental or harsh. We should be ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15 NCV).

2 Pet 1-3; John 4:27-38; Ps 87; Prov 24:1-4

A moveable altar

Exodus 27:8 NCV

The altar in the tabernacle was a place where sacrifices were offered in worship to God. And He knew exactly how it was to be built: ‘Make the altar out of boards and leave the inside hollow.’ A stone or metal structure would have been heavy to transport, whereas a hollow wooden altar could be carried on poles and travel along with the Israelites. The image of a moveable altar is a reminder that while we should be part of a local church, we are not restricted to worshipping God in a particular location. We can do it anywhere. The Bible tells us to ‘continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise’ (Hebrews 13:15 NIV). Wherever we are we can worship Him. And that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to sing; we can worship Him by making sure the attitude of our heart, no matter what we are doing, is positive and that we are focused on Him. Whether we are at home, at work, in the supermarket, at the gym, or in the classroom, our everyday activities can become ‘spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 2:5 NIV). By sharing a word of encouragement, giving our time and money to help someone in need, or making a decision based on integrity instead of what will make us popular, we are honouring God. Jesus said, ‘Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16 NIV). When others see that we are willing to do the right and godly things in a world that often does the opposite, they will see God in us. His glory will shine through our worship.

Ezek 40:10-42:20; Matt 24:15-25; Ps 78:17-31; Prov 20:15-19