Summary: With God’s help, we can live lives of integrity: being who we said we would be.
Devoted to Integrity
James 1:12-15, 23-25
With God’s help, we can live lives of integrity: being who we said we would be.
• Over the past two weeks, we have been diving into the subject of devotion in our series Devoted, Faithful Obedience in the Same Direction.
• One of the issues we all need to grasp being a Christian is the concept of being devoted or faithful to Jesus no matter what the circumstances we face.
• While we sit together today in church, I would think that being devoted to Jesus right here and now is not too difficult.
• In this room, we usually do not have fear persecution for how we feel about Jesus.
• We can verbalize our beliefs about Jesus as well as the issues we face in society without fear.
• The pressure to abandon with we believe and what we teach can be tempting.
• If we are not careful, we can become one person when we are gathered, but when we are in society, we can become another person.
• The fear of people rejecting us or sometimes doing things even worse can temp us not to stay devoted to Jesus.
• Last two weeks, we have looked at the concept of standing firm and then being devoted to God’s wisdom to help guide our lives.
• Today we will talk about the concept of integrity in our relationship with Jesus.
• According to Dictionary.com, integrity means “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty; the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished” (Dictionary.com, s.v. “integrity,” accessed February 22, 2020, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/integrity?s=t).
• In our fragmented world, it is all too easy to live a fractured life, showing only parts of ourselves to certain people or groups.
• But this is like looking in the mirror and forgetting what we look like.
• Living with integrity requires us to live one life of character, no matter where we are or who we are with.
• In the passage today, we will dig into the issue of integrity.
• Let’s turn to James 1:12 to begin!
James 1:12 (CSB)
12Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
1. I. A great promise.
• The theme of the first part of the book of James is the thought of standing firm when the pressure is on.
• We have talked about the concept of having joy amid the trials of life as well as understanding the effect perseverance when tested can have on us.
• When we stand on the other side of our trials victorious with Jesus, we can possess an even greater joy.
• James returns to the topic of enduring trials (see vv. 2–4).
• The word for trial is the same here as above in verses 2–4 and below in verses 13–14.
• Here in verse 12, it implies persecution and trouble, not temptation, for temptation should be resisted, not just endured. Holloway, G. (1996). James & Jude (Jas 1:12). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub.
• James offers some new things to be joyful about when we persevere through trials!
• First, he says we are blessed!
• The word BLESSED is used frequently in Psalms and Proverbs. The term is also the focus of the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12.
• The word can be translated HAPPY, but the term actually goes much deeper than merely being happy.
• The word BLESSED carries the thought of being spiritually prosperous! It implies a deep, long-lasting joy that comes as a result of staying faithful to God!
• Next, James tells us that when we endure the trials and have stood the test, we will receive the crown of LIFE that God promises to those who love Him!
• The phase STOOD THE TEST describes the person who does not give up when confronted with difficult circumstances but rather remains strong in one’s faith and devotion to God.
• This thought is where integrity comes into play and why we need to be devoted to integrity.
• Remember that integrity is defined as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty; the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.”
• The definition does not give exceptions.
• When I am fiercely devoted to God, even while facing difficult circumstances, I am showing integrity.
• When I gave my life to Jesus, I told Him that I would live my life for Him and with Him.
• That promise does not end when things get tough; that promise does not end when other people do not see me.