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 (Manna 6)
Do You Still Hold Fast to Your Integrity?
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A probing question is derived from three Bible readings.

Money, reputation and the lust of the flesh can easily cause one to lose his belief. If his faith is not strong enough, he is easy prey for Satan.

The wily one will exploit any situation to cause him to fall, using what people generally like best, riches and glory, as bait for the unsuspecting Christian. Consider then these snares that Satan put to the following three men and their responses. Put yourself in their place and ask, “Could I still hold fast my integrity?”

I.       Jesus

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me”.

Then Jesus said to him, “Begone Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve”. (Mt 4:8-10)

Have we been offered bribes in our business ventures? Do we continue to pursue worldly gains instead of worshipping God? Satan may not appear to you directly as he did to Jesus, but often uses his surrogates to offer something that will take you away from God. That is not all he does. To some he offers bait, from some he takes all. Consider the second man.

II.    Job (Job 1 and 2)

The Lord blessed Job, an upright, God-fearing person so that he became a wealthy man. One day Satan said to God that he wanted to test Job’s up­rightness and integrity in fearing God. Satan destroyed Job’s property, live­stock and even his ten children. Faced with this calamity, Job said,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Not satisfied, Satan struck Job again, lie afflicted Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took potsherd to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity’? Curse God, and die”. But he answered, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin in his lips (Job 2:7-10).

The story of Job remains one of the most remarkable insights into human integrity in the face of adversity. Job lost his property, his children, his wife and his health, but he did not lose his integrity. He retained this very fibre of the human soul and thus survived physically, mentally and spiritually (The story has a happy ending. See Job Ch. 42).

If possessions are everything to us, the loss of them will mean the loss of everything we live for, and it is easy to answer the question of Job’s wife. See what Jesus has to say:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO.” (Mt 6:19-21 Emphasis added)

III.       Paul

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one - I am talking like a madman with far greater labours, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and in hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches (2 Cor 11:23-28).

Satan knows that much glory awaits the faithful Christian at the End. He tries to turn the Christian from this objective by employing a gilded substitute in the form of temporary, immediate glory. A Christian who pursues true spiritual glory will find his integrity in working for God sorely tested when he encounters difficulties. Moreover, he knows that for the same effort, he can obtain much more from the world. The lure often proves too much.

Paul’s example is worthy of emulation. In his work for God, he displayed as impeccable standard of integrity, hurdling obstacles as they came.

Can we still hold fast our integrity?

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves (2 Cor 13:5).

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