Integrity Equals Security

Steve Arterburn

Proverbs 10:9 contains a wonderful promise for you’a promise worthy t think on. The text reads like this: ‘The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.’

 

In other words, the immediate, day-to-day benefit of the man who walks with an undivided heart before God is security. 

 

And why wouldn’t it be? The man this text describes has undivided loyalties. His choices are clear. He has no hangovers of character to nurse. When he’s away on business, he’s the same person as when he’s at home. He’s the same guy on Friday and Saturday nights as he is on Sunday morning. He’s a father who says what he does and does what he says. He’s a husband his wife can trust, respect, and follow.

 

This is a man who has matured beyond the point of needing instant gratification. Imagine it! Feeling good is replaced by feeling right about yourself before God. And when you feel right about yourself, no matter what your circumstances or your mood, you are content and connected to God, your family, and your purposes as God’s man. Now that’s security without stress. That’s the blessing of walking with integrity before God.

 

Now let me ask you this: does that sound as good to you as it does to me? It’s God’s desire for your life, men. So let it become your desire as well. Let it become your prayer, your passion, and your pursuit.

More Powerful Than Blood

Steve Arterburn

Family is important. It provides relationships that will be your foundation, through thick and thin your entire life. What’s more, families are where we get our foundation spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. In short, families are the cradles of character.

 

But in Mark chapter three, Jesus demonstrates that as important as family truly is, it’s not what’s most important. The scene took place on a day when Jesus and His disciples were so overwhelmed by the crowds they didn’t even have time to eat. Jesus’ mother and brothers approached the house where Jesus was, but couldn’t get in. So they did the next best thing. They sent word inside that they wanted to speak to Jesus.

 

When Jesus heard this, He asked provocatively, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ Then He looked at the crowd around Him and declared that they‘those who did God’s will’were His true family members!

 

This is one of the many times where Jesus shatters our preconceived notions. Yes, your family is very important. It’s very important to God, and therefore, should be important to you as well. Yet family doesn’t take precedence over the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom makes a total claim upon us and radically reorders our entire existence. Therefore, to exalt anything over our loyalty to Jesus Christ is to make that thing an idol, even your family. Don’t let something good take the place of what’s clearly best.

Uncommon Story, Common Problem

Steve Arterburn

God often gives difficult and unusual assignments to His servants. But in the Bible, in the case of Hosea, that’s an understatement. God commanded him to go and marry a prostitute. He said, ‘This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me.’

 

Hosea’s marriage to the prostitute, Gomer, was a metaphor for the way God loves His sometimes faithless, shameless, and spiritually adulterous people. At one point, in broken-heartedness and righteous indignation, God threatened to cast His people off due to their flagrant infidelity.

 

But God is always faithful’even when His people aren’t. So amidst His grief and anger, He proclaims His undying love. Again Hosea’s marriage provides the powerful picture of this: ‘Bring her back to you and love her,’ God commands Hosea, ‘even though she loves adultery.’

 

To be sure, the book of Hosea is an amazing testimony of God’s steadfast love. But it’s also something else. It’s an uncommon story about a very common problem: marital infidelity.

 

Should we suppose that God wants his men to marry prostitutes? Of course not! But Hosea does show us that a husband can be faithful, even to an unfaithful wife. And at times, guys, every relationship needs such selfless love. There may come a time when your bride breaks your heart and causes you shame. It could be adultery, or a vast array of other issues. In that time, remember the way God loves you. Remember His words to Hosea: ‘Bring her back to you and love her.’