The Bible is filled with promises. Most of the time when we preach, teach or study the promises in the Bible our focus is on the promises of God. We ready powerful scriptures like these:
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)
I am the Lord, and I do not change… (Malachi 3:6)
God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19)
Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. (Psalm 119:89)
God is faithful. God can be trusted to perform what He has promised. Our faith in Him is built upon the foundation of His Word and His Word never changes; it never fails.
In all things we as Christians should seek to be like Jesus. Our word should be one of these things. We should be faithful to our promises and faithful to our commitments.
This message is not written to promote righteousness by works, nor is it written to usurp the power of grace in our lives. The purpose in writing this message is to provoke us to submit more of our lives to the leading and working of the Holy Spirit that we may become more and more like Jesus. When we become more like Jesus our witness for Him carries more weight and in turn bears more fruit.
Character matters. Integrity matters. Personal hypocrisy matters.
I know the last one on that list does not go with the first two and that is kind of the point. If you ask most people who do not regularly attend church why they do not go to church you will receive a very frequent response, “hypocrites.”
There is much that can be said on the subject of integrity but I want to focus on our words, our promises and our faithfulness to our commitments in this message. Morality, character and integrity are frequently relegated to refraining from sexual sin or crimes that are considered felonies in most nations. Keeping ourselves from these types of activities is definitely Biblical and is in the character of the Lord Jesus Christ but morality, integrity and character run much deeper than “thou shalt not.”
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? (Luke 16:10-12)
I have been in a senior management position for the last ten years. Much of my professional experience has come from being a hiring manager and at times a firing manager. I have personally interviewed about 600 people for different positions at different companies and organizations. Some of these interviews have been great, others less than great and still others downright sad. My first goal in any interview is to try and determine if the person applying for the position is qualified to perform the duties the position requires. Of equal importance and probably the most difficult is to try and determine the character and integrity of the person applying for the position.
- Will this person faithfully execute their duties?
- Can they be trusted with the responsibility of the position?
- Are they honest?
- What is their work ethic like?
- Will having this person join the staff cause the integrity and expertise of the organization to increase, flat line or decrease?
- Do they just want to get by and get paid or do they attach the quality of their work to their personal integrity?
The interview process for most positions does not allow you to fully answer these questions. The first few weeks of employment provide a much better answer to these questions and ongoing interaction and observation provide you a detailed picture of what the person you have hired is really like.
Our lives and the relationships we form with others are very similar. Can we be trusted? Do our words carry weight? Will we exceed expectations or just do enough to get by?
In the professional environment (where all Christians have to function) your integrity takes your witness much further than your Jesus shirt, tie, bumper sticker or coffee mug. We should look to Daniel’s example:
The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.
Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.” (Daniel 6:2-5)
Daniel’s character could not be questioned. Daniel’s faithfulness to his duties could not be questioned. Daniel’s integrity could not be questioned. I pray that each of us could have the same testimony. Those at our schools and work places may not like Jesus or accept the gospel but our lives should be living testimonies to the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our lives should be salt and light in this world (Matthew 5:13-16). It is our integrity, character and manner of life that should cause those around us to question the difference in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is powerful; it is God developing His character in our lives.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)
When our lives produce this fruit it causes what we say to be heard. When people can trust us in one area of our life it causes them to give ear to what we say about other things in our lives. A Christian’s word should be able to be trusted and relied upon. Our lives should be filled with the integrity and character of the God who does not change and who does not fail.
They have told no lies; they are without blame. (Revelation 14:5)
As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” (John 1:47)
We should live as is if we represent Jesus Christ to the world because we do. We should fulfill the commitments we have made. We should be trustworthy and truthful. We should be true ambassadors of heaven in what we say and do.
None of this is possible through the strength of our own will or intentions but all things are possible through Jesus Christ. Just as salvation is a work of the grace of God so the changing of our character and integrity is a work of the grace of God.
Every word that God speaks carries great weight. He makes no idle promises nor does He speak things He has no intention or ability to fulfill. Our words and promises should mirror that of our heavenly Father.
When those we work with, live with and play with know that we what say can be trusted it causes the sharing of our faith to have a much greater impact. Let us live our lives in such a way that we bring glory to God.