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Integrity and the Christian

Updated on August 8, 2015
lawrence01 profile image

Loving God and loving mankind is an important part of who I am, in these hubs we explore what it's like to really follow Jesus.

Some things don't change

Abram walked with God, but did he always get it right?
Abram walked with God, but did he always get it right? | Source

When we go too far

I love the story of Abram. To me, it's a story that resonates of a fallible human being that I can so identify with! I love the way the Bible tells us the story "warts and all" and doesn't try to hide anything.

In the last hub of this series (the walk of faith) we see Abram finally setting off for the place God tells him to go to, he's got no idea where it is but he goes anyway! What happens next is a little strange.

Did you know it's possible to go too far in thinking we're obeying God?

I mean he speaks to us, we begin to step out in faith and somewhere on the way we either miss a step or God simply goes quiet and we find ourselves in a strange place doing strange stuff.

Genesis chapter 12 opens with Abram finally hearing God's command and setting off for the land God has called him to, but just a few verses later he's in a predicament where he has to get his wife to hide part of the truth from Pharoah, or at least he thinks he has to! What happened?

Abram settled

What did the Jordan valley look like?
What did the Jordan valley look like? | Source

Getting there (wherever 'There' is)

Abram gets to Canaan and walks through the land, I wonder if he knew in his heart that this was the place?

You know the feeling, that strange feeling you get when you just know you got it right!

Or maybe you don't get any 'feeling' but somehow you've ended up in a situation that God seems to be blessing "so it must be right"

A situation I think we've all been in (I have, frequently!) I wonder what Abram thought when he got to Bethel where he pitched his tents. How did he know that was the right place?

It was at Bethel that Abram built an altar and worshipped God, was he thankful that the journey was over? Probably! Abram was saying "thank you" to God yet it was all about to change.

Just like us, we get to the place we think God wants us and rightly we begin to thank him, yet in the very next verse problems come knocking.

Finances, provisions and lots of other things can get in the way! "Did I really hear God the first time?" are the kind of things we ask, I just wonder if that went through Abram's mind? I mean here be is in the place he believed God had called him to and all hell is breaking loose! "What the heck is going on God?"

Ever asked that question? I know for me there have been times when I literally screamed it into a silent heaven!

Been there, done that, don't want to do it again! Yet I probably will, that's a seeming fact of life.

1996, I'd been working with the Kurds in Iraq for three years, it was where God had called me to!

Literally three amazing years, yes they were scary at times, but it was three years doing what God had called me to! reaching people with the love of Christ, showing them with practical love that there was a God who really cared. Three years of sharing in the lives of those amazing people.

Then the world fell apart (again) and it was "God, what the hell are you doing!"

Abram's place

A markerShechem, Israel -
Nablus
get directions

Roughly where Abram settled

Abram in Egypt

Literally one verse after the altar is built Abram has to move. Famine is either "move and live" or "stay and starve!" Abram moved but wasn't out of danger yet! it was about to get a whole lot worse!

In those times the rulers of the countries were often 'absolute rulers' with the ind of power over people that our leaders can only dream of. Pharaoh was no different! Often seen as the incarnation on Horus he had absolute power over life and death, and he saw that Sarai was beautiful!

Husband and wife. Brother and sister

Abram and Sarai
Abram and Sarai | Source

FEAR

The fear was very real, and the possibility of death for simply being married to Sarai was real! Abram gets Sarai to 'cover' for him, but they don't tell a lie, they just don't tell the whole truth!

To me, if this was a 'story to illustrate a point' this would be a candidate for a serious makeover! But it isn't, the Bible is telling it the way things happened. A story with real people doing real things so that we the present generation can learn from their mistakes!

Abram saved his own life that day, but he lost something valuable, he lost his integrity!

The seeming solution resulted in a loss of integrity and while God seems not to have chastised Abram he certainly had to intervene.

Reading the account its very easy to criticise Abram for his lack of faith, but what about us? What Abram faced was pretty serious, loss of his wife or his life! But what about us, what about those times at work when it would be so easy to 'go with the flow'? Or when a little 'compromise' might save us a whole lot of money! Or even save the house from foreclosure. What are we to do?

Variations of this story appear again later in Genesis, we argue between ourselves as to whether it was three times or the same incident that the later copiers got wrong etc. One way the ancient Rabbis used to teach us they would say they same thing two or three times with slightly different emphasis each time just to get a point across. When we get stuck on the arguments about whether "this part or that part" is authentic we're really in danger of missing the whole point! That point is "they can take the house, they can take my family, but they can't take your integrity!" Only you can give that up!

Abram gave up his integrity through fear what Pharoah could do, but he never reckoned on what God would do to protect his servant!

Fear takes away our ability to see God taking care of us and protecting us, he's always there to protect us and help us through.

The Story of Abram

A poem that sums it up

The one who walks with us

Integrity

The truth is that there are times when God will be silent, there are times when he'll seem a million miles away, yet it won't be God that moved! Why it happens we don't know and probably never when as Christians we will feel all alone, probably just like Abram felt

I've wondered over the last week why it is that God doesn't seem to rebuke Abram for the way he deals with the situation. Could it be that he understands the situation? Could it be that there are times when he understands the situation? Pharaoh gets a visit is a dream from God as he puts the situation right. Could it be that Abram just stayed quiet when Pharaoh took Sarai without so much as asking (he'd been told that she was Abram's sister!).

Integrity is the one thing that no one or thing can take from us! It's the one thing that God is looking for he's looking for people who when everything else is falling apart they will not give away their integrity, you may feel that you're all alone when that time comes but nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is in that time "HE'S THE ONE CARRYING YOU THROUGH" the truth is "WE ARE NEVER ALONE!

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    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Blessedp

      My pleasure

      Lawrence

    • blessedp profile image

      blessedp 23 months ago

      Great hub..Thanks for sharing. God bless you.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Faith

      Glad you liked the hub. At times I think that's what our 'calling' is, to be people who walk on integrity.

      Have a great week

      Lawrence

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 24 months ago from southern USA

      Wonderful hub, Lawrence! I am reminded of the scripture, "God tests the heart and is pleased with integrity." We all surely have made decisions to get us out of the bind at that particular moment, and forgetting that we should have no fear of what man can do to us, when God is on our side. When we truly believe that truth, then the fear diminishes of the unknown.

      God bless you

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Michael

      Thank you for the comment. So easy at times to just follow the 'crowd' but walking with integrity means following the Lord wherever he leads and not compromising on what you know is the right thing to do.

      Lawrence

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Amen brother. It is when we thank God and praise His holy name in every given situation, we are loosing sight of circumstances as scary and threatening they might be. We were fairly newcomers ( fam.of four) when the leadership urged me to continue with the Synod's tradition instead of following true Gospel. We choose not to follow the tradition, knowing that the One who had saved us from communistic impending danger, will be there for us if we do not move far from him. In your words, the 'integrity' was in stake- when I didn't even know what was I doing, and what is out there for us in the NEW world. Your final sentence resonates well "HE'S THE ONE CARRYING YOU THROUGH"- Yes, He does, HalleluYAH.

      Voting up beautiful and interesting.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      So true. I think we don't have a good word in English for what the Bible talks about when it tells us "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (my favorite proverb) but fear/reverance is the closest.

      Lawrence

      And thank you, I'll take those blessings and wish the same to you

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 2 years ago

      Lawerence ~

      Truth ~ we agree the word Fear in the bible is one calling for respect and honor of God. The fear of this earthly world is disabling to so many and not of God. Defining the definitions is important for all to understand. thank you. I believe we are on the same page, Blessings to you as you write :)

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      St Paul says that these things were recorded for our benefit. So that we've got a 'model' of how to behave with integrity.

      But even when we fail God always finds a way to restore us, all we need do is listen to him.

      Lawrence

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      You have a point. There does seem to be a recurring theme throughout The Bible of figures acting in a way that was acceptable at the time and getting rebuked and showed the right way to behave.

    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Robert.

      You've got a good point there. There was that factor but a few verses later God is literally "laying into pharoah" for something he didn't know he'd done wrong!

      Abram was a product of his culture, so many things we read him doing were culturally acceptable at the time, but it's almost as if God has to wean him out of his culture and gave us a record of how he does it.

      One interesting thing is that Abram doesn't have to "say sorry" but eventually he did learn to walk in "INTEGRITY"

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      You bring up a good point about the importance of integrity. From the story itself couldn't it be the standards were different at that time. I remember a documentary of the Old Testament where a commentator explained a character doing something devious was considered being clever in those times.

      It might be at my end but the map of Abram's Place shows the San Francisco area.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Deb

      So true! Going that extra distance to help and "not selling yourself to the highest bidder at someone else's expense" is all part of living with integrity!

      Sometimes I'm really glad the Bible characters "blew it" as they left us a record of what not to do, and they showed us what happens when we do mess up and how God restores us!

      Have a great weekend

      Lawrence

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      When I go about my business, I just do what needs to be done and that is it. Now, integrity has so many faces. Simply to not sell yourself or others to the highest bidder is what it is all about. To not turn your cheek to an emergency situation and let someone else suffer the consequences, i what it is all about. Here is an example. It is against company policy to work off the clock. I did it, because my overtime was not authorized, and it would have a negative impact if I left. So, I punched out, and worked off the clock. I don't care if I get paid or not. My concern is that the people that need me didn't have to bear the brunt of an even harder situation.

    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Linda

      So true. He never leaves us, but sometimes he carries us. Thats why the psalmist wrote

      "Though I walk through a valley as dark as death itself, I will fear no evil because you are with me"

      Glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Lawrence, this is beautiful. When God seems the farthest away, one need only ask "who moved?" In even your darkest hour remember the one who said "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Venkatchari

      Glad you enjoyed the hub.

      Lawrence

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting article on Abraham and integrity. Learnt new things here. Thanks for sharing.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Emge

      Thanks for the visit and take the encouragement I hope the hub offers.

      Lawrence

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Nice hub on a topic , I dont know much about.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Lifegate.

      I had to put it in as the statement is really true. There are times I've felt as if it's just me against the world but then something happens and it's as if God reminds me it's then that Jesus takes over and keeping my integrity helps 'clear the path' for him.

      The other day my Daughter and I found we could load the 'Footsteps' poem as wallpaper for our phones and guess what, every time we turn our phones on now we have that reminder!

      Have a great weekend

      Lawrence

      Bill.

      Your Dad gave you an awesome gift, he knew he was giving it and he gave you some awesome tools to work out how it was to be used!

      I found out the Middle Eastern way was that our names meant who our parents wanted us to be, My daughters name means "Father's delight" in Hebrew as that's what I want her to be!

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Stages of me.

      God IS love, not fear. When the Bible speaks of fearing God it's more like giving him honor and the respect he deserves (we don't quite have a word for it in English) where this fear was debilitating and God never does that.

      When that FEAR comes he is always with us and if we let him he will "send it packing!" He will do it for his names sake and for ours!

      Glad you enjoyed the hub. Have a great weekend

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautiful thoughts, Lawrence. My dad sat me down one day and told me my name was William Dale Holland, and that name stood for something, and it was up to me to make sure the integrity of my name was upheld. :)

      Have a superior weekend, my friend.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Lawrence,

      I love your line, "The fact is in that time "HE'S THE ONE CARRYING YOU THROUGH" the truth is "WE ARE NEVER ALONE!"

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 2 years ago

      Lawrence ~

      Love, love, love this hub, and thank you for sharing it with integrity.

      "Fear takes away our ability to see God taking care of us and protecting us, he's always there to protect us and help us through." This line is the truth, fear is captivating, but never of God. God is love, not fear, the reminder in this writing is beautiful. Thanks for being bold in your honesty! Have a blessed day ~