When you cut open an apple, what do you expect to find inside? Apple flesh, right? Have you ever cut an apple and found the flesh of an orange? Of course not! This is because God has created things with integrity. What it is on the outside is always what you find on the inside.
Your feet need to be on the Rock on a firm, stable foundation all the time. Then when hard times come, you can withstand the blow, whatever it is.
This is not so with some Christians. They profess Christ on the outside and go to church, but in their everyday lives they do not behave as followers of Christ.
Living with integrity means that you are like an apple the same on the inside as you profess to be on the outside, especially during hard times. Your feet need to be on the Rock on a firm, stable foundation all the time. Then when hard times come, you can withstand the blow, whatever it is.
So how can you maintain your integrity during trials?
Todays message come the book of Daniel. Daniel was kidnapped as a child by King Nebuchadnezzar and taken from his people to the foreign land of the Medes and Persians, where he continued to be faithful to God as he grew up. In chapter 6, we find Daniel serving as one of the three highest government officials under King Darius.
The King shows favor to Daniel and desires to elevate him further, which sparks jealousy among the other governors and satraps, so they plot against Daniel to have him killed. However, Daniel is a righteous man, so they soon realize, We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God (v. 5).
(By the way, this doesnt mean that Daniel is perfect, but rather that he is faithful and lives with integrity. We should strive to be this way, too, working to be above reproach in all we do. We cant be utterly perfect, but we should always strive toward Christlikeness.)
So these officials trick King Darius by telling him that all the officials are in agreement, that he should to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions (v. 7). They know that Daniel will continue to pray and that the king will have no choice but to follow through with the consequences of the law.
So what does Daniel do when he hears of this new decree? He holds steady, continuing in his faith as he has always done.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Daniel 6:10
1. Establish bulletproof spiritual disciplines. Daniel 6:10
Make integrity a permanent part of your life. A foundation is built slowly, day in and day out, as you seek God in the Bible, through prayer, through ministry, and with other believers.
If you dont work to establish this foundation until trials come, chances are youll be crushed. Yes, God will be there, but how are you going to hear Him if you have no prayer practices? How will you turn to the Word if you have no study habits? How will you receive wise counsel if you dont have a fellowship of other believers?
2. Maintain your integrity before God and man. Daniel 6:22
Saddened that he has been deceived, King Darius carries out the sentence of having Daniel thrown into the lions den. His only hope for Daniel is that his God will save him, knowing that Daniel has a reputation of faithfulness to his God.
But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you. Daniel 6:16
How many people in your life would consider you someone who serves God continually?
Daniel does not use his trials as an excuse to sin. Though he has been wronged, he stays faithful and consistent and gives glory to God when he is saved. Then Daniel said to the king, O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.
3. Trust that God will take vengeance on your enemies. Daniel 6:24-28
People will do bad things to you lie to you, gossip about you, steal from you, falsely accuse you. You need to trust that God will deal with that. This doesnt mean that God is your bully or that you dont confront the wrongdoer in love or report the situation, but it does mean that you can trust God to take vengeance on your enemies according to His mercy.
Pray for peoples hearts to change and for them to realize the fullness of Gods love. Only He knows all the details!