Friday, September 22, 2006

C.H.A.R.A.C.T.E.R. (Part 2 of 8) – Honesty

The Word:

Read: Acts 5:1-10
Additional Reading: Luke 8:17, Proverbs 10:9 (Read and Memorize both)

“Honesty” By Randolph Koch

There’s an old saying that goes, “Honesty is the best Policy.” This saying rings true and especially for those who are followers of Jesus Christ. If we’re dishonest, then we will definitely dishonor and misrepresent the Lord. We’ll also bring shame upon ourselves if we’re perpetually dishonest as our reputation will be built upon this. Once you lose trust from others it takes a lot of time to rebuild that trust.

Honesty and Integrity go hand in hand but time and time again maybe even in your own family, at work or on the news we’ve seen the broken relationships, the crumbling businesses, and even church splits all because of dishonesty and a lack of integrity. Then there are the infamous political seasons where you’re bombarded by candidate advertisements. You know, the constant mud slinging, some of the candidates twisting their background or the issues at hand for their own benefit and most of all they try to malign the character and credibility of their opponent as they spin a web of dishonesty. I personally loathe those seasons as it’s appalling and makes you wonder who you can really trust!

You may have heard of churches where someone on the staff or the board has embezzled money from the church and left the church in financial ruins. You may have also heard accounts of churches or specific ministries that have made false claims or promises of healing if “you’ll only send a certain amount of money” or they’ve performed supposed healings to later be found out to be a fake. This is tragic, and not only does it make the Church appear to be some kind of cheap side show but it also gives people false hope that is later dashed and ultimately these false profits and “healers” dishonor God! Whether they realize it or not, (although they should know because of the Word of God), they will be accountable to God for these things. Don’t get me wrong, God does heal people but we ought not cheapen this or misrepresent healing especially for our own personal gain!

There are many more examples that could be mentioned and maybe several come to mind for you but, the bottom line is that you need to understand that God knows your heart and sees all things so let us not think for a moment that we can fool Him or conceal anything! We can try to conceal it from man, not that we should, but we can’t conceal anything from God. That should really sober us up, especially if we’ve stepped into the habits of being dishonest.

In The Book of Acts God gives a clear example and instruction of honesty versus dishonesty regarding Ananias and his wife Sapphira. (See Acts 5:1-10.) People in the early church were selling some of their possessions including land and more and bringing the proceeds to the Apostles to use for the Lord’s work. Ananias and Sapphira devised a plan to sell their land and then secretly withhold some of the proceeds for themselves. Ananias brought the “offering” to the apostles and “somehow” they were found out. The Bible is clear that sin will be brought to light and in this case it was. The result of there dishonesty was that within the same day, within about a three hour span of time, both Ananias and Sapphira separately fell dead! It should be clear to us that God does not accept dishonesty and ought to be reminded of this and learn for the lesion in Acts. In other words, don’t be like Ananias and Sapphira. Stay honest in all you say and do and don’t withhold anything from the Lord that you know He tells you to give or to do for Him. Ananias obviously didn’t understand this and they paid heavily for it.

As you can see the character quality of honesty is very important especially for those who represent the Lord Jesus. Honesty, integrity, and love as well as many other qualities should be earmarks of the believer as others should associate these character qualities with us and we in turn should strive to reflect these qualities for the glory of God.

Questions to Get Started With:-Are you honest in your business practices?
-How about your tithes and offerings? Are you honest about these before the Lord? (Do you even need to think about whether your offerings should be off of Gross or net amounts?)
-Are you honest in your finances and do your best to live within your means?
-Are you honest on your resume about your experience and or education?
-Are you honest in what you say and do in your speech and how you represent or misrepresent yourself or others?
-How about taxes - do you cheat on your taxes?
-Do you have to confess to the Lord for areas in your life that you’ve been dishonest?
-Are there relationships or situations where you need to make amends for your dishonesty?

For Reflection:
Remember, God loves you no matter what! Because of His Holiness as well as His love and forgiveness that only He can give, He desires you strive to live a Holy and devoted life for Him! You need to be honest with Him and others no matter what!

For Further Study:

1- Do a Bible study on honesty and integrity.
2- From your Bible study, select a few verses about Honesty and Integrity and memorize them. (Then review them on at least a monthly basis as a great personal tool and reminder of the importance of Honesty and Integrity)
3- Pray and ask God to help you always be honest and live in integrity in every area of your life.