James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
God wants something very specific from His People. He wants everything. The Lord desires all that we are and ever hope to be to complete the work begun when He called forth our purpose out of the darkness. His Spirit is poised to mold and shape us according to the Master Plan handwritten by God before time began. (Ephesians 2:10) Every single moment of your life was written to perfection before time began. Every second has purpose that is complete and fulfilling. Nothing is left out of His Goodness and Grace meaning even what seems small and insignificant to you is of major importance to the Lord. I have a terrible habit. When reading a book if the content seems slow or dull, I will race ahead in the chapter. Skimming the words rather than reading them thoroughly, I find myself a bit lost in the story so I must backtrack to catch up where if I had just kept reading things would have picked up. I read very fast. It is an inherited trait from my father. It is sometimes to my detriment as I miss the small details in my rush to complete it. I do not see the little nuggets hidden in the sentences that add flavor to the story because I am in such a blasted hurry to get to the climax and reach the end. I sometimes live like that as well especially through the darkness and storms of life. We are to walk in integrity. Loving and serving God with all our mind, soul and body. We are to love others as ourselves. (Deuteronomy 10:12) Do you love the Lord wholeheartedly? I have to remind myself sometimes that the Love of God is not all about me all the time. God wants my all in exchange for all that He is. It must be a willing exchange of my humanity for His Deity. Troubles are inevitable. If anyone promised you any different, then they are a liar of the worst kind. If someone has made you believe that following Jesus Christ exempts us from the trials of life, they are being dangerously misleading. Faith is tested in the hard times of life. Not so God can punish us for inconsistencies but so that He can show us the areas that He wants to complete and make whole. He wants to give the opportunity to experience His Joy and Peace in our life that comes when endurance (and patience) are fully developed. The Lord is seeking perfection and completion for us so that we will need nothing (above what we can think or ask) even when we do not want it for ourselves. What does God want from you today? He wants your all and all. What is the Lord offering in exchange? Everything He is which is so much more.
I Corinthians 29:17 (NLT)
I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.
Giving our life to the Lord is not a head choice, but a heart’s desire. It is a passion that burns inside of us to abandon our life to follow Jesus Christ. Many people overthink it and determine by human reasoning and logic what God should have and work to give it to Him. God has told us exactly what He desires of us without question. Jesus Christ did not come to do away with the Law but so that we could live according to the Law without penalty. See the Law of God is all or nothing as it stands. Without the Mercy and Grace of Jesus Christ as a result of God’s Great Love for His People – no matter how hard we try it is inevitable that we will sin at least once if not a million and one times in our life. There is no suitable sacrifice for sin other than Jesus Christ. You will never be able to make restitution for your own guilt. Jesus Christ did it all on the Cross so now you can re-enter right-standing with your Father, God. Grace is the door to righteousness. Obedience is how we step into it. Sin slammed the door shut but Jesus opened it back up and holds it open today. Our Love and Commitment to Jesus Christ shows the intent of the human heart. Those without a strong desire to love and serve the Lord are living a lie. They do not want God’s Best they just want what they can get. God examines your heart each and every day for integrity. He blesses you based on what He finds. To whom much is given, much is required. The Lord rejoices when He finds integrity there. To do all that you do with godly motives delights Him. But those who refuse to surrender their life to Jesus Christ wholeheartedly will never experience the overwhelming Goodness that God has for them. He needs room to move. We must give Him something to work with. Whatever you give to the Lord, He will return “pressed down, shaken together and running over!”
Philippians 3:5-9 (NLT)
I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
Religion makes good people but it is by faith that we become godlike children resembling our Father in Heaven. Paul was that guy who grew up in religion but everything changed when He met His Savior. I think people who grow up in a religious home have an advantage when it comes to obedience because such an upbringing is based on the Law. The do’s and don’ts of the Bible that lead to a better life. But those that fall in love with Jesus Christ first and then grow religious have a deeper relationship with the Lord. Our connection to God through Jesus Christ must contain passionate love and the prepared Truth that is the Word of God. We are to worship God in Spirit and Truth. Unfortunately a lack of integrity (wholeness and completion) in the Body of Christ makes us weak and wandering with no real commitment to a relationship with God or knowledge of Him. Everything else is worthless compared to the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. Is this the cry of your heart today? Probably not considering you have to give your life away to get it. Integrity is born of faith in God that is secured by righteous obedience to His Word, Will and Way. Are you willing to discard everything else cluttering your heart and mind to grow in your knowledge and understanding of God? At some point, faith must become the primary focus of our life over all other things. It is time to give my all for His All. Less of me and more of Jesus! Do you mean it?
In the Book of Job, it is important to note that the enemy did not request Job but rather God did based on his integrity. (Job 1:8; Job 2:3) Integrity is the mark of a strong believer. When Jesus was talking with the religious leader in Mark 12:28-34, He pointed out the significance of this man’s personal knowledge of the Word. He said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” To know God’s Word keeps us close to God but it is through a thriving personal relationship that promotes radical obedience that we step into the Kingdom of God bringing it here on earth. God wants your whole heart. He wants a man or woman of integrity with an adherence to moral and ethical principles that are evidenced in our character. He desires to complete us, make us whole and lacking no good thing. Have you given God anything to work with? Have you opened the door to grace but failed to cross the threshold? Jesus is holding the door open for you today and says “Whoever will let them come!” Why be that guy who God offers to the enemy for testing? Quick who wants to be His Favorite if it leads to suffering? Don’t fall over yourself trying to rush to the front! I do. No really I do. I didn’t want to in the beginning but I do now. I want God’s Favor at work in my life. Job received double for his trouble because he was a man of integrity. (Job 42:10) Yes, I want to be that girl!
John 1:46-51 (NLT)
“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”
When Philip went to tell Nathanael about the Lord, this religious man responded as most people did. “Nazareth…can anything good come from Nazareth?” That is until He met the Lord, this is when the Word came to life in the man. His head and heart finally agreed that this was the Messiah. The Lord called him a man of complete integrity although at that moment Nathanael was still undecided. With the revelation knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God came the completion that Nathanael needed for His Life. His Purpose manifested as he became a disciple of Jesus Christ moving from a religious man to a man who was living in relationship with the Lord. God wants the same from you today. He doesn’t want religious people doing what they do strictly for an inheritance yet begrudgingly. Think of the brother of the prodigal son who missed out on the celebration because he was lost in his head not thinking with his heart. (Luke 15:28-32) Don’t be that guy! God wants to open Heaven in your midst and dispatch angels to carry out the command to bless your life. It begins with integrity before God including a head full of godly knowledge backed by a heart surrendered to His Love! It is one thing to know about the Lord and do the things He requires, but to do it all in love makes all the difference in our life. Sin is the stronghold that keeps us from discovering the Completion of Christ. It bars shut the door to righteousness even though we have grace. Sin cannot kill us any longer but it can be an obstacle to God’s Very Best. Sin sometimes allows us to escape hardship but missing the double blessing waiting at the end. Our sinful nature is continually at odds with our mind and heart as it prepares to give more to the Lord. (Romans 7:21-23) The Lord wants to remove everything in our life that prevents His Goodness, Mercy and Love to reach us. It is the sole purpose of His Blood to wash away every sin. So why not let it go today, free up your heart and mind to pursue faith in God and let His Best filter into your life. It’s called favor. It is for you! It is that undeserved privilege by way of the Cross! You are entitled to it. You are set to inherit all of it. Why not today? Why not now?
Proverbs 11:19-20 (NLT)
Godly people find life; evil people find death. The LORD detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity.
God-like people find life. What are you after today? God’s Heart or His Hand? Those who seek His Hand will experience His Blessing in their life. But those who seek His Heart will possess everything in His Hand. It will be your divine inheritance when you make the commitment to live a life of integrity in all things not just those pertaining to the Law but Spirit, too. To worship God in Spirit and Truth requires our all in all. Nothing can be left out to keep moving in the right direction so it is time to get moving. Decide to praise the Lord with all of your heart letting go of all those other things inside of it. Don’t worry about all the broken pieces but give them to the One who desires completion and perfection for your life. The Lord will fill you with His Joy in your effort of integrity because He delights in such people. (Psalm 9:1-2) By trusting God, He fills our heart to overflowing with more peace and joy then we could ever find on our own. (Psalm 28:6-7) We can bless the Lord at all times knowing the benefits that belong to us and the blessing of double reserved for those who possess righteous integrity. (Psalm119:56-57) Those who practice God’s Word and follow His Law will have God’s Blessings in their life. (Psalm 119:24-25) To those who seek the Lord wholeheartedly nothing will be held out. You will experience an outpouring from Heaven like never before. We must examine our heart each day to determine if we are men and women of integrity which is to be of one heart and one mind with Jesus Christ. It is to trust Him with our strength and all that we are to possess all that comes from Him! To the faithful…He shows himself faith full! To those with integrity, you show integrity…oh Lord I want to be that guy!
2 Samuel 22:26-27 (NLT)
“To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile.”