How to Be Honest: 4 Principles
I read the Lord Jesus’s word in the Bible, “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). I came to realize, God loves the honest. He hopes that we do not have pretensions but become an honest person as the innocent and vibrant children. Because only the honest can enter the kingdom of heaven. Then what should we do to be an honest person? I often ponder this problem. Thanks for the Lord’s guidance, I had knowledge of how to be honest. I want to share it with you.
First, be honest when praying. It’s recorded in the Book of John 4:23-24, the Lord Jesus said, “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). This part of the scriptures makes me know the first step to be honest is sharing our innermost thoughts, our actual condition and real difficulties with God instead of doing things to show off to others, or saying words that are nice or contrary to our own convictions to deceive God. Just as the Book of Luke 18:10-14 said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other” (Luke 18:10-14). From the Pharisee and publican’s prayer, we come to know that the prayer of the publican was extremely simple, he just asked for the Lord’s mercy on him—a sinner. But he owned up to his mistakes with a true heart and repented what he had done before God. On the contrary, the Pharisee only said something nice in prayer to take credit in front of God and show off himself before man. He didn’t truly open up his heart and speak the words within his heart to God. So, even if his prayers were nice, he still couldn’t receive the approval of God. The Lord Jesus exposed the Pharisees, “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation” (Mark 12:40). In real life, we should practice speaking the words within our hearts to God, tell Him the truth and accept His observation in our every word and action when we pray to God. Only in this way, can we embark on the path of being an honest person.
Second, to be an honest person, we should practice speaking the truth and abandoning lies. The Lord Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Mat 5:37). His word demands that we should be straight to the point and speak in a practical and realistic manner, speaking accurately and not doing or saying anything underhand. If we don’t speak honestly, then we will be all evil-doers. Thinking of my daily life, I often said much that is inaccurate for the sake of my own interests and status. For example, I sometimes had to speak against my will to curry favor with others; for fear that others would look down on me, I would cover the truth and say something raising myself up to leave a good impression. When there occurred deviations or flaws in my own work, I would always make the problem smaller and trivialize it into nothing when reporting on my work. These problems frequently occurring in our daily life need to be solved when we practice being an honest person. Then, what should we do to solve the problem of lying and deceiving? The first thing is to set strict demands on ourselves and record what we say. We must accept God’s observation to examine whether every word we say is true to the facts or there is adulteration in the words. If there is adulteration, we should pray to rebel against individual intentions that are not right. Only in this way, will our lies become fewer.
Third, we should not deceive God with our indolence in fulfilling our duties. The Lord demands us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Mat 22:37-38). His word tells us that we should love our God with all our heart, soul and mind. When performing our duties, we shouldn’t conduct transactions with God or deceive God with our indolence, but do our best and fully expend ourselves for Him without the adulteration of motivations, aims, or trades. However, when it came to matters that involved my own personal benefit and required me to suffer and pay a price, I was only mindful of the flesh and couldn’t perform my duty well with my heart and strength, but want to be slipshod and cut corners without seeking any outcome, never considering whether it can satisfy God. For example, when watering the new believers, I was content once the new believers were willing to attend meetings, and didn’t care about whether they understood the truth. Sometimes, brothers and sisters were passive and weak, I only fellowshiped with them but didn’t keep track of their situations to go on helping and supporting them. To solve the problem of working perfunctorily, we should reflect on whether our duty has been fulfilled acceptably, whether we put our heart into duty or gave it our best shot. In addition, pray to God more, and accept His observation and others’ supervision. Practicing this for a while will help us fool around in our duties less than before.
Fourth, to be an honest person, we should give our heart to God. This is the most crucial method of practice. The Lord said, “This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me” (Mat 15:8-9). What God hopes is giving our heart completely to Him instead of paying lip service to belief and worship. No matter if we receive blessings or suffer misfortune, our faith never changes. Finally, we can expend ourselves for God, submitting to His sovereignty and arrangements without any reasons, conditions or arguing our own gains and losses. Just as Job’s trials, he lost his property and his children, suffering the torment of illness. However, he still retained his integrity without anyone understanding, neither complaining and misunderstanding God, nor losing confidence in Him. In addition, he believed in the sovereignty of God and truly submitted to Him. Another example, when Abraham was demanded to give his only son Isaac as a burnt offering, he didn’t talk reason or complain about God, but return his favorite son, who was born when he was a hundred years old, back to God unconditionally. And Peter, he was crucified upside down for God, and so on. They are the honest in God’s eyes because they have given their heart to Him. Compared to them, I can’t obey or worship God without conditions. Instead, I just want to pay the price for God’s blessings in heaven, and work hard in exchange for the crown of righteousness. Such are the manifestations of deceiving God. Though I believe in God, God is not in my heart and I can’t give my heart to Him. So, to be an honest person who is delightful to God, it is necessary for us to give our heart to Him. We should pray to God, rely on Him in all things, and act based on His will. No matter what we do, we shouldn’t plot for ourselves, but submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements.
To be an honest person, we should carry out these four aspects to practice: speak the words within our heart to God; tell the truth when faced with something; take responsibility for our duty, being serious and careful; seek God’s will and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements, not complaining about Him in any trial. Only in this way, can we finally be an honest person who is beloved by God.