Thesaid: “Suffer little children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the . Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:16-17). As can be seen from the words of the Lord, God loves and blesses honest people; only after we have become honest people can we be qualified to enter into the kingdom of God. So undoubtedly, each of us believers in the Lord should practice being an honest person if we want to gain the Lord’s approval. Then, what are the principles of being an honest person? Recently, a preacher fellowshiped this aspect of the truth with me, which benefited me a lot. In the following, I’d like to share it with all of you.
First, we must practice being an honest person in prayer.
Each of us Christians must pray to God every day, but is our prayer really after God’s heart? Then, let’s see how we pray to God in most situations. When encountering a difficulty and wanting God to help us, we say nice-sounding words in our prayer, “Lord, if You help me solve this problem, I’m willing to dedicate myself to You and spend all my life for You.” However, after God resolves our problem, we put our prayer before God to the back of our mind; the vow before God has become a lie. Sometimes, we justify ourselves and show off ourselves in prayer, and tell the Lord all of our suffering and the work that we do for Him, wanting Him to remember us and bestow a crown of righteousness on us in the future. Such prayer is a transaction with God. Sometimes, when we encounter a matter, instead of seeking the Lord’s intention, we just blindly praise God with many repeated and empty words in prayer; actually, we are not moved in our heart and just go through the process. It can be said that we are constantly making those deceitful prayers as above every day.
The Lord Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). “But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7). From the Lord’s words we can see that God wishes us to draw near to Him and worship Him with an honest heart. God doesn’t care about whether our prayers are long or short, or whether our words are pleasant to listen to; He only cares about whether or not our prayers come from the true heart. So, we should purely and openly pray to God, saying heartfelt and honest words to Him; besides, we should honestly confess our wrongdoings, and transgressions to God and truly repent, guaranteeing that we will never sin again. For example, David’s prayer ofis sincere. In his later years, his servants brought a young girl to his bed to join him under the covers and keep him warm, but David didn’t move close to her. Additionally, when encountering a matter, we shouldn’t only focus on the external praise in prayer but should seek, ponder, and understand God’s will and thus give our sincere praise to God. Take the prayer of Job as an example. In the midst of trial, through pondering and seeking, Job finally uttered such praise: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Such prayer is sincere and is accepted by God. Besides, there is another point we should pay attention to in prayer: We must work hard to fulfill what we have said before the Lord, and think and act in the same way.
Second, we must tell the truth and abandon lies in daily life.
Every day, we say many words. If examining our words carefully, we’ll find that we often lie for the sake of protecting our own interests. For example, when our brothers and sisters ask us to teach them a skill we are good at, for fear of being surpassed, we would hold back for ourselves and say that we have taught all we know when teaching them. Sometimes, when others ask us something, unwilling to reply to them directly, we answer what is not asked. For instance, someone might ask us, “I seemed to see you went to a certain place yesterday. Is that right?” Not wanting him to know the truth, we would avoid the question asking him, “And what about you?” This is being deceitful. Sometimes, when the church leader asks us about the situation of someone, afraid of offending others, we dare not tell the truth but reply, “I don’t know. But you can ask others.” It can be said that each of us tells lots of lies every day.
Then, how can we solve the problem of lying? First, we should know that God is omnipotent and omniscient and inspects people’s heart. When saying every sentence, we must receive God’s observation; we must pay strict attention to what we say and practice speech based on fact; we must call a spade a spade and not go against our conscience. Just as 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). So, we must closely examine every sentence we speak, and seriously treat every lie, words that untrue, words that dilute the truth, words that are not accurate, and words that do not fit the facts. If what we say is wrong, we must make up for and reword it; if we discover a problem, we must tell others as soon as possible, and open our hearts to brothers and sisters about the intentions and goals behind our words.
In the course of practicing being an honest person, we must rely on the Lord and make a resolution before Him, “Lord! Because Satan has corrupted me so deeply I have turned into someone who lies all the time. I deserve to be damned, but You still save me, letting me repent and change so that I can become a new person. Today I pray to You. I’m willing to become a person who tells the truth without any falsehoods. If I don’t make enough effort, may You discipline me.” Then we should begin to practice telling the truth. This means we must tell the truth under whatever circumstances and be thoroughly able to speak based on facts, based on what we ourselves grasp and what we know. So long as we do this way, we can guarantee what we say is honest.
Third, we must resolve the intentions of making deals with God and speaking of conditions.
We believers in God try our best to perform some duties, which is the duty that the created should fulfill and the manifestation of us repaying the Lord’s grace of salvation. But if we work for the Lord with the intentions to engage in transactions, that is simply deceiving God. For instance, some people think that as long as we abandon and expend and make great sacrifices for the church’s work, we are sure to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Some think that as long as we devote our entire life to the Lord, establish churches everywhere and support and supply brothers and sisters, we will certainly gain the crown of righteousness in the future. And some even believe that so long as we often help those brothers and sisters in difficulty, the Lord will surely bless us, making our own family prosperous. Each of us is making deals with the Lord and speaking of conditions. From the outside, we are working for the Lord, but in reality we want to use the temporary sacrifices to gain God’s grace and blessings. We are nowhere near satisfying God with an honest heart.
However, an honest person can spend for God diligently and conscientiously in obscurity as a creature of God; he is willing to give all he has and asks for nothing in return. Pursuing to satisfy God’s will is his most comfort, even if he will suffer all his life. Just as God’s words say, “Working diligently and conscientiously in obscurity, always giving and never taking, then I say that you are a loyal saint, because you seek no reward and are simply being an honest man.” Peter is such a person. In doing the church’s work, he never thought about his personal enjoyment of the flesh or his future and fate, but entrusted his future and fate to God with the belief that the destination God arranged for him was the best. The Lord Jesus looked highly upon Peter, so He entrusted the duty of shepherding the churches to Peter before He resurrected and ascended to heaven. Peter took the commissions from God as the highest mission and duty, regarding satisfying God’s requirements as the goal for his lifelong pursuit; at last, he achieved an ultimate love for God and obedience unto death, creating a resounding testimony for God.
Fourth, we must give our hearts to God and this is the most critical practice.
Outwardly, we have returned to the Lord, but what we can’t deny is that the Lord’s words have yet to become our life. There are many satanic viewpoints and life philosophies within us, so our hearts are still controlled by Satan and not completely given to the Lord. Some people advocate money and put all their hearts into it, thinking that they cannot live without money; some advocate fame and status, thinking that only if they have status and are supported and admired by others do their lives have meaning; some follow the evil trends of the world, pursuing life’s pleasures, with the belief that only if they enjoy well will they not live in vain. From this, we can see that we are still serving Satan while following God; in the presence of God, our hearts are turned away from Him. Isn’t this the biggest deception?
Given that we have believed in God, we should give our hearts to Him, seek His will in all matters, act according to His words, and obey His arrangements in everything. Giving our hearts to God is not just merely handing control of things that serve God over to God. Things like our future life path, our life goals must be pursued based on God’s requirements of us. The Lord Jesus said, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve” (Luke 4:8). Fame and profit and status, and the pleasures of the flesh are just worldly possessions. Only pursuing worshiping God and obeying Him is indeed the meaningful life, and that is also one of the Lord’s requirements of us and what we should practice. Moreover, the big things in life, such as our marriage, family, and lifestyle—all these should be entrusted to God’s hands. What we should do is live according to our life course preordained by God, and give greater priority to satisfying God without following our own will. Take Job as an example. He handed control of his all over to God, dedicating himself to God in body and mind. So, when he lost all of his wealth and his sons and daughters, and even had boils all over his body in the great trials, he never once complained about God, but pursued to obey Him and at last stood witness for Him. Thus he was called righteous by God and was the honest person in the eyes of God.
So as long as we act according to those principles above, we will gradually become the little children in God’s eyes who are pure and honest. Brothers and sisters, let’s move forward to the path of being an honest person.
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