Saturday, 7 March 2015

MAINTAIN YOUR INTEGRITY

TEXT: JOB 2:3-9
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”  So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.  Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
Integrity is the act of doing the right thing at all times and in all situations, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes discipline and determination to live a life of integrity, it takes years to build integrity but it can take a second to destroy what has been built over a period of lengthy years. The world has become a place where there is no regard for integrity, instead the popular slogan by Niccolo Machiavelli “The end justifies the means” has become an acceptable norm!
There are some situation we find ourselves that makes us wanting to doubt the power and the wonders of the name of God. Most of the time afflictions come after you have decided to walk uprightly with God, and have forsaken the way that leads to eternal damnation. Are you asking why this is so? Well the reason is not farfetched; Satan is a liar and a deceiver. He wanted to deceive you to believe that God is not a custodian of every good and perfect thing. He wants you to think and be convinced that he is the only one that can give you all that you would need to be happy, and enjoy the best in life. Satan deceives his victims by enticing them with “perishable blessing” to make them forget the giver of “imperishable blessing”- the only living God.  The lesson here is that dishonesty may give you instant gratification, but it won’t last. At times you wonder why sinners and unbelievers should be flourishing while believers are languishing in lack. Satan blesses his victims with quick blessing because he is sure that his time and that of his victims are limited (Revelation 12:12). He wants them to enjoy their short lived blessing, before they will end it up together in Hell.
It is when you have make up your mind to walk uprightly with God that Satan will be bringing afflictions your way so that you can change your mind against God, he is doing this to win you to his kingdom. Beware!
The text shows how Job was affected by Satan so that he would sin against God. God was pleased with Job for being upright and He was boasting about him to Satan. Satan detests when God is boasting about any of His children, he will make all effort to cause the person to compromise and sin against God. Hear God- “And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him and ruin him without any reason.”  God was impressed by Job maintaining his integrity despite all he was going though. “Job made up his mind and determined not to compromise. “I will maintain my integrity until I die” (Job 27:5b). One good lesson here is that, no matter what is happening to us, we must maintain our stand in God. Do not throw caution into air, always maintain your integrity even in the face of affliction, be rest assured that God will come to your rescue; He will not leave you alone in the mess.
Job was afflicted with painful sores, the wife got fed up and told him to forget about his integrity, and instead “curse God and die” she advised! (Job 2:9).
Many times we go through tribulations and afflictions that “advisers” would be coming with different counsels and “solutions.” Be very careful to select what and who you listen to when you are in any difficult situation. Your closest people can be used by the devil to make you compromise your stand in Christ, and cause you to lose your integrity- like the devil wanted to use Job’s wife to cause his downfall.

If you maintain your integrity at the time of trial like Job did, the lord will bless you the way He blessed Job. “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first… (Job 42:12A). After the cross comes the crown, endure affliction to get the blessing. DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO DO SOMETHING THAT WOULD DAMAGE YOUR INTEGRITY. May the Lord grant us the grace to maintain our integrity in Jesus name. Amen.

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