When I first started believing in the Lord, I saw Matthew 18:3, where the Lord Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The Lord’s words tell us that only honest people who are pure and lovable can obtain His approval and are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. Having understood the Lord’s will, I began to practice watching my tongue and not telling lies in real life, striving to be an honest person in God’s eyes, yet I always failed. Gradually, I lost faith in my pursuit of being an honest person. Luckily, a while ago in a gospel forum where I communicated with some brothers and sisters about how to be an honest person, a brother shared some paths to practice. When I consciously practiced being an honest person according to what he said, I achieved a surprising result and gained some benefit. Here, I’d like to share with you the four principles of being an honest person I learned from that brother.
1. We must give our hearts to God and allow God to take charge, act in accordance with the truth in all things, and accept God’s scrutiny.
God says, “I Jehovah search the heart, I try the reins” (Jeremiah 17:10). And it is said in Proverbs, “The spirit of man is the candle of Jehovah, searching all the inward parts of the belly” (Proverbs 20:27). From these verses, we can know that God is an omnipotent and omniscient God who observes all things, and that our every thought and idea, every act and move is in full view of Him. So, if we want to become honest people, we should first give our hearts to God and allow Him to take charge, and accept His scrutiny in all things.
In ordinary life, regardless of what we are doing, whether we are praying, reading the Bible, attending meetings or doing church work, we should accept God’s observation. This is beneficial for us to practice the truth of being an honest person, seek out God’s intentions in things we encounter and act in accordance with His requirements. For example, when we want to deceive and cheat, if we accept God’s observation, we will become aware that God is almighty and carefully observes all things, including our every act and move, every thought and idea, and that deceiving and cheating will only bring about God’s detestation, and even offend His disposition; then we will become restrained and avoid doing things that offend God. When we want to go through the motions or skate through in doing church work, if we accept God’s observation and know that God is watching our attitude all the time, we will realize that God doesn’t like such behavior, and thus will have the resolution to betray our incorrect intentions. In this way, we will gradually be able to work for God in an honest manner. When we give our hearts to God and accept His scrutiny in all things, we will live constantly in the light with open and upright hearts.
2. During prayer, we must open our hearts to God and say the words in our hearts, and maintain and uphold a normal relationship with God.
The Lord Jesus once taught us, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). From this it can be seen that God likes it when we worship Him with a sincere heart. So, while praying, we should practice speaking true words to God, saying whatever we think in our hearts, telling Him whatever difficulties we have, praying for His help without pretense or disguise. Only this kind of prayer can be heard by God.
The Lord Jesus also warned us, “But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not you therefore like to them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8). From the Lord’s words we can know that those who just say repeated and empty words when praying are unbelievers in His eyes, and that He doesn’t accept their prayers. So, even if we don’t have anything to say in prayers, we can’t make things up or just put some words together. Praying to God is not writing an essay—God doesn’t care that prayers are long or short, only that they are honest and come from our hearts. Therefore, only if we speak sincerely and honestly when praying will God listen to our prayers, and only then can we maintain a normal relationship with God.
3. In our interactions with others, we must be purely open and speak honestly without treachery or deceit in our hearts.
The Lord Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). God is faithful, so He requires that we speak according to the facts, calling a spade a spade, and not go against our conscience to tell lies.
To solve the problem of lying, we should first resolve our wrong intentions. The mouth is the door of the heart; many times we tell lies dominated by the intentions of protecting our own reputation and vanity, fame and status, or other personal interests. For instance, we didn’t preachbecause of being busy with work, but when our brothers and sisters asked us whether we had converted any people, we, fearing that if we spoke truthfully they would blame us for not shouldering enough of the burden and thus look down on us, lied to them and said we had spread the gospel but didn’t yield any fruit. In such a situation, we ought to pray to God, saying, “O God, I lied to protect my own face and I feel very uneasy now. I’m afraid if the brothers and sisters ask me some details, they will find out the truth, and then blame and deal with me. God, please give me the courage to practice the truth, so that I can put aside my face and be an honest person to satisfy You no matter how my brothers and sisters will see me.” After such prayer, we will have confidence to speak the truth. If we practice often this way, we will gain others’ understanding and trust, and feel relaxed and liberated when interacting with them.
4. We must handle matters with principle and in conformity with the truth, act honestly and straightforwardly, and be someone who is open and aboveboard.
Honest people neither act according to their own will nor live by satanic philosophies and disposition, and everything they do is based on the foundation of God’s words. No matter what they do, they can put the truth into practice and defend the interests of the church. So, to be an honest person, we mustn’t do anything that damages the interests of the church or does not benefit the lives of the brothers and sisters. We, instead, should be just and honorable when doing all things and make them presentable before God.
For example, when some brother or sister infringes upon our interests, we may have the idea of attacking him or her according to the saying “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” At this time, we need to quiet ourselves before God and pray to Him, look at what God’s words say about this thing, and seek the principles of truth in approaching it. When we think of how God requires us to love each other and treat our brothers and sisters with a heart that loves God, we will have principles and the way to follow; if, moreover, we can act in accordance with God’s requirements, we will be after God’s heart. For another example, if we find that our co-workers struggle in jealousy, steal the offerings, or do something harmful to the interests of the church, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to these things, acting like it has nothing to do with ourselves, nor should we remain silent because of being restrained by status and influence. Instead, we should resolutely stand with God and protect the interests of the church. Only by doing so will we count as an honest person who acts with principles.
As long as we practice in accordance with the four principles above, we will be able to become as little children who are pure and lovable, and have the hope of becoming honest people.
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