Where's the Integrity?: Proverbs 11Friday, January 11, 2013
The purpose of this chapter isn’t much different from that of the 10th one. We keep coming back to this righteousness vs wickedness comparison thing. From the start, we learn that our God loves fairness & justice. He loves humble people with integrity who are righteous. During Solomon’s time, people found this right-standing by following rules and giving God sacrifices when they fell short of these rules. Today, we find it through Jesus Christ. When someone accepts Jesus into their heart, they receive the Holy Spirit who is not only the one who draws them to Christ, but who guides them in their walk with Jesus after they’ve received Him.
But you may ask, as I have in the past, “if Christians are being guided by the Holy Spirit, then why do we hear about so many Christians doing so many messed up things?” Well, this is a very good question that Jesus Himself gave us the answer to.
In Matthew 7:15-23, Jesus told His disciples:
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
Jesus Himself tells us that we can get a really good idea of who is being led by the Holy Spirit by the way they conduct themselves. No one is an exception to this rule. Not even the people who claim to have exclusive spiritual gifts that enable them to cast out demons and perform miracles. Those gifts are not even brought into consideration when discerning who has the Holy Spirit and who doesn’t. What IS brought into consideration is their actions in their everyday lives. In other words, a Christian will only go as far as their integrity takes them.
That is why these Proverbs are SO VERY important. Christians need to have integrity. And true integrity isn’t just skin-deep. It cuts to the heart; takes action even when no one else is around to see us. We need to familiarize ourselves with the Book of Proverbs (the Gospels and the Epistles are equally helpful in this) so we, not only learn of this integrity, but also know these “fruits” that Jesus tells us about.