You were once in darkness, but now are light in the Lord: walk as children of light.~ Ephesians 5:8
In a season where Integrity can be preached fervently, yet diminished easily by our actions, do I stand apart? Or, do I follow the well traveled road, and I am speaking of the Christian Road here, of saying one thing and doing another.
My husband is often quick to question me in alternate ways, “Are you walking what you are talking?” or “ Are you speaking and not following through.” In essence, he is asking me am I willing to practice what I preach.
~ Forgiveness… Love…. Gentleness… Self-Control….. Mercy…. Integrity~
As a homeschooling momma, a road I have chosen willingly, I tend to spend a ridiculous amount of time with my children. 🙂 Smile! I love my children, but for a person whose tank gets filled up with solitude and quiet, that is sometimes a tall order here. It is imperative for me to do those things that fill me up, that pull me close to the heart of my King, so that in my weaknesses He is strong.
My weaknesses, those human flaws in my personality, can spew out when I am bumped. These not so gentle moments in my life, while not a direct result of any one person or thing, often spill forward when I am tired or have committed myself to more than I can feasibly complete in the given time frame. This shows my tendency to please others rather than think about the logistics of my involvement in a project, meeting, or event. Yet, it is the beautiful children of mine, my direct mission-field… these precious ones who the Lord has placed in my life to rear and raise for His GLORY, who often tend to see momma’s weaknesses more than others.
This opens the door to lessons in humility and pride. So much of my repentance has come from my own perfectionistic attitude of trusting in my own ability rather than seeking the Hand and Heart of God. He is there, ever patient and full of mercy, waiting… waiting for us to seek His Wisdom; wisdom which he promises to give liberally without holding back. (James 1:5)In my own error, I can easily miss it. I’ll be honest, I often miss it. Yet I am truly amazed at the joy which He sets before me. A Joy of receptive love and forgiveness, lessons of grace and mercy at the hands of my children. Remember we are to be like children… having faith in the just nature of our omnipotent and sufficient God. The Heavenly Father who longs to nurture the blood-bought grafted in child through the gift of His Son, so we just need to come in child-faith and receive.
Look at the last character trait I listed above: Integrity.
Deep in the vacant halls of morals somehow vacant in certain realms now-a-days, the word integrity can be mistaken, misused and misunderstood. I contemplate the roof-top proclamations of right-living, graciousness, and acceptance which are cast as seed into the crowds. Then following behind is the pain-filled judgment that take away the prominent lessons meant to be sown in its place. Do we wonder why the world cries hypocrite to the bearer of the seal of Christ. Do we really look like He did. Do we walk with grace as a child of God should, or do we look like the world and point fingers to make ourselves feel better?
My defense, when we rely on our own abilities.. our humanness barges in and we are incapable of portraying an ounce of His love. The cloak of ignorance which allows me to think that just because I am in the body of Christ and that I must continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling reminds me of the journey we are taking. Take a walk with me to Philippians 2:12-15:
“Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputing: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world:”
Verse 16 goes on to instruct us to offer to the world the Word of Life so that the race we have run may never be in vain.
As I pondered this verse I am drawn to Matthew 5:14-16:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in that house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Integrity comes from the word, integer, meaning whole and not divided. It is through our integrity we want to show those in our lives how to stand, without being divided. Even the book of James reminds us a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.( James 1:8)
William Bradford wrote, “ As one candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shown unto many.”
John Winthrop’s famous Speech “City on a Hill” given aboard the Arabella in 1630 embodied the puritan beliefs prevalent in the ideas which founded our nation. These beliefs were threads which were woven into hearts and minds of society at the time. A generation of integrity. Now.. I know there are many things throughout history that point out the flaws of man. Any history student can point out where legalism defies true faith. Yet there was an earnest desire in this generation to stand in a way which permitted them to be a light to all for the Glory of God. This compels me to study the lives of these leaders further, and further more to study the Word of God continuously, as if it is the very bread of sustenance to my living. Truly speaking, it is the most important meal of the day.( John 6:33)
As we pursue Christ, we need to be transparent before the people the Lord has placed in our path. Make a habit, a willful choice of our own until it becomes second nature, to pray for everyone who enters your scope of influence; starting now.
In theory, when we discuss light, we see that it overtakes darkness. It is revealing and reaches into depths unseen to illuminate. As we teach Truth in respect to our daily lives, or perhaps as applied to the lessons I teach my children, I must always remember to point back to Christ.
When I am in the light, my vision is clear. My purpose should be to share the revelation of knowing God and revealing His love to others using every tool, or gift, at my disposal to equip and encourage others. Isn’t that like Christ? He equipped, taught, encouraged, loved and forgave. He strengthened, set the standard, showed the way , and lead with light-inspired integrity.
When I can shine light into the circumstances of my life and the lives of those around me, I can be a lampstand and strengthen the foundations of those who also shine for Jesus. Lights that shine into the darkness; Cities on a hill which point towards the road less traveled.
Go to Micah 6:8 ~ “ He has show us what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself, and walk humbly with your God.”
Shine~ be set apart to show the way towards the one who gives us the what we need to be full of Integrity.