Read Daniel 6:1-5.
The world we live in looks bleak. It is a world full of sin and, all around the world, evil seems to be triumphing. So, we may ask, where are the wise people who have been saved by grace and are expected to shine and brighten the world. In our country and in most parts of West Africa, people are complaining about corruption so institutions are being set up to find the corrupt people. We, the people who are ruled accuse the politicians of being corrupt but is it only them? Ghana is said to be a secular nation with Christians in the majority yet there is so much stealing going on among children at home and adults elsewhere. That is why this year we are looking at “The Bible and integrity.” The solution lies in finding the root cause. The Bible makes it plain that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Our hearts are desperately wicked and prone to corruption. Paul, in describing the struggle in the inner state of man, says even when he wants to do good he finds a contrary law at work in him (Romans 7) but in chapter 8 he finds hope for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
When we come to Christ, we become a people of integrity. Integrity has been defined as strict adherence to a code of moral and artistic values; it is also defined as adherence to a code of strict sincerity and honesty. Thus, our minds should be on a code of moral values and strict adherence to them in order to present to God and our neighbors that we are a people of strict sincerity. This is possible because the Bible says when we come to Christ we become new creations.
I have chosen three models from the Bible to be our examples:
1. Daniel, standing for integrity in the public space
2. Paul, standing for integrity in the church
3. Aquila and Priscilla standing for integrity in our homes
Daniel, a Jew in exile was selected to serve in the king’s palace. Daniel did not compromise his faith. He resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. At the workplace he excelled by showing to the king that God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords and the revealer fo mysteries. Despite all the efforts his enemies made, they couldn’t find any fault in him because he was neither corrupt not negligent. As one man of integrity, he evangelized the whole kingdom by his integrity.
Sometimes in our own workplaces, when they are looking for people who are upright, they don’t want to mention our names. If God’s spirit dwells in us, he can make us a people of excellence. Many of us fear other people more than God. People have the audacity to speak against the God we serve because of our conduct.
Paul was a zealous Jew circumcised on the eighth day and he persecuted the church because of his zeal. He was faultless when it came to legalistic righteousness. Yet, he considered all he had as nothing when he came to Christ. He wanted to stand for him and for him alone. Our nations are crying for models and examples. Is it possible for us to provide them with one? After his three-year ministry in Ephesus, he could boldly say that he was not guilty of any man’s blood because he had fully discharged his duties to them. He also boldly said he had not coveted anybody’s silver or gold and the congregation could attest to that. At the end of his ministry, he could boldly say that he had fought the good fight and had finished his course and kept the faith. The Lord is looking out for people who can raise their hands and say their hands are clean. Can we find Christian leaders of that standard?
Aquila and Priscilla
I bring this couple to the fore because they lived in Corinth and were friends of the apostle Paul and contributed to the growth of the church among the gentiles. They had such a spirit of honesty among the brethren that when they noticed the zealous Apollos that he needed to be finetuned in the faith, brought him to their house and strengthened him in the faith. They also recommended him to the church in Achaia where he was of great help, convincing the brethren that Jesus was indeed the Christ. Each one of us here can be a place where people can learn integrity and go and practice.
Where is the power of the Bible in our lives? Beloved in the Lord, the code of moral values is found boldly in the scriptures. It is for our instruction. These virtutes don’t just come because our sinful nature wars against it. if we surrender or lives to Christ, we need to resolve that we will not defile ourselves with the societal norms but instead we will replace them with kingdom values. Only then will our world see the light and testify that we serve the living God. Too many of us are conforming to the pattern of this world but we must remember that we are in this world but not of it. May the will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Let us be the world’s Bibles
The world is looking for faithful leaders like Paul and for noble couples like Aquila and Priscilla so that we will be the Bibles they can read. I believe that the code of ethics we find in the Bible supersede those of the professions in which we find ourselves. All things might be lawful but are they beneficial?
Our theme for the year is to equip the church as an army to possess the nations. This army is not to overthrow governments but to overthrow societal norms and replace them with kingdom values. Thus, we must stand boldly for kingdom values. May we go back to the Bible and stand for these values of which integrity is a key component. It is only these values that will make the nation prosper.
We will face the King of kings and the Lord of lords to give account. God is drawing our attention to go back to the kingdom values. If we form about 70% of the nation, then kingdom values must reflect in our lives. May the God who created us and saved us by his grace have mercy upon us and help us to uproot the canker of sin and plant in its place integrity.