Summary: Lessons learned from Ananias
Lessons learned from Ananias(Acts 4:36-37;5:1-4)
A lack of integrity starts with Discontentment
So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 1 Timothy 6:8 (New Living Translation)
Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
"I will never fail you. I will never forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5 (New Living Translation)
A lack of Integrity’s next step is Deception
(verses 4:34-35); (5:1-2)
A Lack of Integrity can lead to destruction
Lessons learned from Paul: (Acts 20:18-27)
The first mark of integrity is Humility (verse 18-19)
When we serve the Lord with humility the desired result is that the attention and the emphasis will be on Jesus Christ, so that people will want to follow Him and not the one who is doing the service. It is a fine line, but it is one that we must adhere to. We must recognize that we are servants of the Lord. The word serving is a verb form of the Greek noun doulos, which means “a slave who has no rights of his own.” Our desire must be to serve the Lord and that is done by serving others.
The second mark of integrity is Consistency(verse 24)
Lives that are full of integrity are consistent in their living. They complete the course even if the going gets very uncomfortable. Too many people talk up the Christian life, but when things get tough or the way gets difficult their personal life starts to get in shambles and that leads them away from God. If we are going to be men and women of integrity then it is imperative that we complete the race with Joy. Why do this? Because our love for Him is a response to His initial love for us.
The third mark of integrity is Faithful Living (verse 27)
It is so easy to only share the easy teachings of Jesus: His love for us, His preparing a place for us in Heaven, His presence with us as we go through this life and His ministry to us. These are very important tenets of the Christian faith that need to be communicated regualary, but they are not the full counsel of God. God is also Holy, and pure, and God will judge sin and because of those attributes we have no other recourse but to repent of our sin, to surrender our wills to His, and to deny ourselves and walk with Him. When we are faithful to God, we will speak the hard sayings, but we will be so full of God’s grace in our lives that we will speak them in a tone of genuine love and caring for other individuals.
The Path to Integrity
Recognize the Hindrances
We will not be able to recognize the hindrances in our lives If we are constantly looking to other people as our guide, for we will always someone who is worse than us who makes us really good. Instead we must look to the Bible; it alone lists the garbage that we are to get rid of in our lives if we are going to be people of integrity. Ephesians 4:25-32 lists the things that will hinder us. They are:
Deceitful lusts, lying, grudges, stealing, corrupt communication, grieving the Holy Spirit by saying yes to sin, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice.
Remove the Hindrance
Once we recognize the hindrance we need to then remove it. Let me give you a practical way to remove a hindrance.
If there are physical objects associated with these sins-books, videos, clothing, and so on- take a trash bag and throw them out. If there are no physical objects involved with these sins than find a symbolic object to throw away. If you main hindrance is pride or vanity, throw out a picture of yourself or a mirror. If it is greed throw away a voided check. If you can’t think of an object, simply right down the behavior that is polluting your life and then destroy it in some way. Whatever method you choose, make it an act of worship, renouncing these hindrances in order to follow Christ more fully.