Today’s Scrip-Bit   5 February 2022 Luke 9:23.

Luke 9:23.      If any man will come after (desires to follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Then it was Saturday…and some more cold temps, but no snow…no work…and plenty sunshine! Yeh friends, just a blast of a day in the northern climes! (smile) Unfortunately though, it seems that the U.S got hit with a bad snowstorm over the last couple days, even a tornado hit one of the mid-western states. Imagine that nuh; tornadoes in snowstorms. But I saw a picture of a house that the tornado passed through and it was just flattened right to the ground, nothing was left standing. There were also several bad accidents in several states, and thousands of people are still without power. 

What a stormy winter it’s turning out to be, after all those other mild ones of the last few years. But what can one expect if you live in a wintry climate eh? However, with man’s determination and persistence, most ably aided and abetted by the Holy Spirit of Christ that dwells within us, we will come through it all victoriously. We must believe that, otherwise we are playing behind the eight ball from the very start. So, having confirmed our victory, let’s do what we usually do on Saturdays; check out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And he seemed taken up with integrity this week, but we’ll deal first with the only quote that’s not about it. It says: ‘Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.’ Now, I guess that’s quite true, because out world in general is not a fair place, but in our current edition, brother, the word or attitude of fairness doesn’t seem to exist. Every aspect of our society, even the church, tends to reflect unfairness rather than fairness. 

We’ve lost that thing called humanity, where we treat people with dignity and appreciation, in other words like we want to be treated. And sadly, we can no longer expect fair treatment from even those close to us. So we have to be ever so careful in all our doings with our fellow man. What a pity! But enough about unfairness, let’s turn to that thing called ‘integrity’ that Anselm was so taken up with this past week. And I guess the first question is what’s integrity? And he gives us a simple but profound definition in one of the quotes. ‘Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.’ 

Yes friends, that’s basic integrity; even when we are alone, we ought to do the right thing in every situation. Remember though, as believers, we are never alone, for God is always with us, and He sees all, and He is the righteous judge. So though no one else might know our lack of integrity, God knows it. It’s like Jesus says: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…’ And righteousness is basically doing what we know to be right. And between the Word of God, our own moral conscience and the leading of the Holy Spirit we should not have a hard time deciding what’s right from wrong. 

Then there’s this quote that also defines integrity. ‘Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed.’ And by Jove, it does also mean that! Now that is something our world is certainly lacking; the keeping of commitments. We don’t even want to make them. Just look at all the young people who don’t want to get married, don’t want to get committed, but choose to live together with the mistaken idea that they can get out of that kind of relationship whenever they want to. 

And even with the few who do get married, just look at the increased number of divorces that are happening daily, because they are not prepared, or committed to go through the difficult situations which arise in every marriage and every relationship. Ah mih people, integrity doesn’t mean always choosing the easy path, but rather toughing it out, even when it seems difficult and unfair. And that’s what Jesus desires of His followers: integrity! That’s what He had and showed to the nth degree. 

Yuh think He wanted to leave the comfort of heaven and come to this sinful earth to die for a bunch of ungrateful sinners. Not on your life! But the Father asked Him to, and since He LOVED and revered the Father, and there seemed to be no other righteous or just way to save our sinful souls, He acquiesced to the Father’s desire. 

Please note that last sentence carefully. Although the Father was all powerful, in His integrity, He still needed to show a penchant for rightness and justice. And since He had made the pronouncement that sin had to be paid for by death, to be seen as a just ruler and judge, He couldn’t simply wave His hand and eradicate our sins, someone or something sinless had to pay for them. And since Jesus was the ONLY sinless person beside the Father, the awful job of inhuman ‘sufferation’ fell to Him. 

Now that’s true integrity; offering your only son as a sacrifice to show your justice and righteousness. And Jesus came to earth and showed that same integrity, that same sense of purpose, the stoic attitude in the face of all those who stood against Him. And that’s what He expects from those who believe in Him. Note what He said in terms of discipleship. ‘If any man will come after (desires to follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ (Luke 9:23) Yes my faithful brethren, every day we need to sacrifice our will to that of the Saviour, if we want to be true disciples. That means having integrity, oodles of it. 

Now here’s something interesting that integrity confers on us. The quote says: ‘Integrity gives you real freedom because you have nothing to fear since you have nothing to hide.’ And that’s the gospel truth! When you know that you are behaving right, you feel free, because there are no skeletons in your closet to hide or worry about. No wonder so many of us are very afraid in these trying times and hold everything close to our chests. Our lack of integrity has caused us to do so much wrong stuff that we can’t relax for fear that others will find out and realize that our wonderful testimony is all falsehood. That’s why to be set free, we need integrity! 

And the last quote says: ‘Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity.’ Words of enormous wisdom my fellow believers! And I believe these words from Peter’s first gospel do accurately reflect them. ‘For he that will LOVE life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile (deceit): Let them eschew (turn away from) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (pursue) it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.’ (1 Pet. 3:10-12) 

Yes friends, if we concentrate on doing those things, then we’ll be considered righteous, people of integrity, true disciples of Christ! Much LOVE!

…what we do in darkness…should be able to withstand the light… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8           

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