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August 21, 2003

Accepting Adversity

Job 2:10
But he (Job) said..."Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?"

Job 1:22
In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

Every fall my reading schedule brings me to the story of Job. Every fall I feel like Job. I'm not whining. It just that when things get tough, I get frustrated. And a little whiney. So this time through Job, I don't want to whine, or try to justify my trials as Job-like. I want to learn what it takes to persevere through challenges.

As I began my journey with Job today I'm struck by his integrity (so is his wife, or frustrated by it as expressed in 2:9). The book begins with a description of of Job as being blameless and upright. Whenever I face tough times, my whine is that I'm blameless. Whether or not that is the case, that is not for me to determine. That's for God to determine. What I can do is to be how Job is described next - one who feared God and shunned evil. Three things tend to happen to me in difficult times. the first is that I whine about being blameless, "This shouldn't be happening to me! I don't deserve this!" The second is that I really feel the pull of my "cherished sins" - those things that I fall back on that don't hoonor God, but bring momentary relief from the stress of the moment (only to compound it later after the fact). But in his tough times, Job shunned evil. That's a good lesson is not to allow the gravitational pull of sin to suck you in.

The thrid thing I do in challenging times is to question God's goodness. That what Job's wife was doing. But Job understands that in life the good and the bad live together - "Blessed be the name of the Lord" (1:21). We often take His goodness for granted in good times, and question it during hard times. I feel like Job is challenging me today in 2:10. It's a challenge that I need to hear. It's a challenge that I need to respond to with my fear for God intact and an increased commitment not to fall prey to sin.

Lord, in this season, let it be said of me that I "did not sin nor charge God with wrong. "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

August 21, 2007

Bedroom Secrets

2 Kings 6:8-12 (NIV)
8 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, "I will set up my camp in such and such a place."
9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: "Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there." 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?"
12 "None of us, my lord the king," said one of his officers, "but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom."

It's one thing to know that God knows our thoughts, hears what we say. It an entirely different issue to think He'd repeat it. In this case, God revealed the battle plans of the Aramites to Israel through Elisha. But what if God revealed the plans of my heart to those I was plotting against? I don't think I have any ill will directed towards anyone or any situation. I can say that there are times that I have not guarded my heart and allowed vain imaginations to shape what I think about individual people and situations. What if those things ever got out? What if God went public with my plans for self-promotion?

I know the tack I've taken isn't the best exposition of this scripture. Still, I feel the Holy Spirit checking me...Are there things I give myself permission to say (feel...think...) in private that if made public would expose my self-serving pride, or can I keep those things in check and bring them under authority? I want to live with integrity; being the same in private as I am in public. When it comes to my plans I don't what to have any bedroom secrets.

Lord, my the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart be pleasing to you (Psalm 19:14). Let every thought be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)

January 12, 2011

The "In"-side

Psalm 15
1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
2 He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
3 He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the LORD;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things shall never be moved.

OBSERVATION
The Psalmist makes a list of the kind of person who lives in God's presence. It's an interesting list, especially because it's so everyday life; Telling the truth. Don't talk behind someone's back. Staying out of someone else's business. Takes on for the team. Doesn't hold people in debt. Doesn't take advantage of circumstances and situations

APPLICATION
I think more than God being present, the person who lives this way is aware of God's presence. God is Omni-present, so He isn't more present than He already is. I do know that how I live can affect my awareness of His nearness. That awareness helps me to override my natural inclination for self-preservation, self-promotion - all the things that put "me" first. My integrity is measured by the way I respond to others. So my integrity is dependent upon how closely I'm integrated with Him.

PRAYER
Lord, I always want to live with an awareness of Your presence.

February 4, 2011

Hand-Me-Downs

Exodus 29:29 (NKJV)
And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them.

OBSERVATION
God dedicated the Aaronic line to be ministers before him. All of Aaron's descendants will now be priests. In fact, Aaron and his sons were dedicated to the Lord (Exodus 29:20). But Aaron's "uniform," the symbol of his position and responsibility, was to be passed down to his sons who come after him.

APPLICATION
This week in Men's Fraternity we defined authentic Godly manhood as "rejecting passivity, taking responsibility, leading courageously, and expect the greater reward." In the mentioned passage I see that the legacy that God was entrusting to Aaron required authentic manhood. It requires that he "hands down" to his sons something more than just his name.

Aaron and his sons (and the generations that followed) were dedicated for service to God. But there came a time when Aaron passed on his assignment to his sons. Aaron job wasn't only to minister before God as a priest, but to train his sons in what being a priest means, what it requires. For one day, they would wear the uniform and with it the responsibility for God's people and the generation that would follow them. There would come a day that Aaron's sons would be recognized by the community ("anointed") and charged with the full responsibility ("consecrated"). This means that the time of training and the time when they lived for themselves was over, and now gave themselves to a lifetime of service. And also took on the added responsibility of preparing the generation that would follow them.

I wonder what my son will feel when he puts on the uniform of "manhood." Will he know what it looks like? Will he know how to put it on? Will he understand what comes with the job? He was dedicated to God's service as an infant, but when the time comes to be anointed and consecrated into the ministry that God has for him, will he be ready? Will he know what to do. Doing my job with him is every bit as important as doing my job for others. When that day comes and he puts on the uniform; cap & gown (graduation) / tuxedo (wedding) / burp rag (fatherhood) - I want him to stand proud knowing he's ready and willing to embrace the ministry God has for him.

PRAYER
Father, I wear the uniform you've given to me with pride. Let me care for it in such a way that what is passed down to my son is not a mess of filthy rags, torn and worn out because I didn't care for it. Let me take pride in the manhood/ministry you've anointed and consecrated me to, so that I pass down to my lineage something of worth that is cherished and taken pride in...so that it can be passed down again.

About Integrity

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in the Integrity category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Humility is the previous category.

Pride is the next category.

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