Gospel Message & Recording
In the Gospel reading today Jesus is in the region of Galilee. He called his future disciple Philip to ministry. And in turn, Philip called his friend Nathanael, otherwise known as Bartholomew, to meet Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah long awaited by the Jewish people. In response, Nathanael speculatively says, “What good could come out of Nazareth?” Phillip says, “Come and see!” As Nathanael approaches Jesus, Jesus says, “Look, a man who does not have deceit.” This is one area of the Bible where the character of a person is exemplified with great credibility because Jesus himself makes the character statement. In other words, it has to be true because Jesus said it. There are no doubts or second-guessing involved in this circumstance. Further, it’s as though Jesus looked into Nathanael’s soul and saw the details of his life. And he will forever be known as a person of honesty and integrity whom Jesus mentioned by name.
It’s hard to maintain integrity and honesty in our present time. We are pulled in many directions to hide our life’s failures, problems or setbacks. Integrity and honest generally have the same meaning. Integrity is the quality that is lived out in a person’s life that is a result of being honest. Honesty is simply telling the truth. As Christians, we should always attempt to live a life of integrity and honesty. It’s not easy! We can’t be perfect, but at least we should attempt our best to be like Nathanael. Otherwise, we will invite hardships and struggle into our lives that are unwanted and unnecessary.
Here are some areas of life that we need to have integrity and honesty:
Marriage: Always be honest with your wife. Be honest about your feelings for one another and share ideas on how to improve your marriage. Being honest means being respectful of each other’s feelings; so, be compassionate and loving in your honesty. Never do anything without the consent of your spouse, unless of course, there was prior agreement that such and such would be done independently. Even then, make sure to consult your spouse if you feel apprehensive about making any decisions. Secondly, make sure that you “do” what you “say.” That is, make sure when you tell your children to do something (or not to) that you do the same. If parents are hypocritical, children will not listen and will lose respect quickly.
Work: Being a person of integrity means that you will not engage in unethical practices at work. Sometimes such situations are “grey areas,” that is, they are not clearly identifiable. In such cases, try to get out of the situation, or the circumstance calls for it, state that you will not take part in anything that compromises your Christian values.
Ministry: Whenever you are doing God’s work, there is always a high level of integrity that must be upheld. Never do anything that in a few years will embarrass the church. In other words, don’t start a ministry from an area of ego, pride, self-gain. If God is in it, then He will lead it and make it grow. It’s when God has not blessed our working in the church that we begin
To summarize, remember these few rules as you pray for more integrity and honesty in your life:
- Do nothing that is underhanded,
- Never accept bribes,
- Don’t lie about someone or something you did for any type of gain,
- Don’t be sneaky to save a few dollars,
- Don’t pay anyone off to gain a position,
- Finally, don’t manipulate or force things to happen in your life. If it is God’s will, He will open the door. You won’t have to “kick it open” or “jimmy the lock.”
- Do you feel that you are a person of integrity and honesty? Do you feel it’s difficult, to be honest at home, work, in church? In what area of life do you find it the hardest, to be honest?
- Have you ever been a part of a deceitful situation, and had to take recourse to repent and confess? What lessons did you learn from that and what changes did you make in your life?
- Discuss integrity and honesty in marriage, work and ministry.
- What methods could we employ from the Orthodox tradition/way of life to help avoid deceitful situations?