In the heart of Christianity lies a profound understanding of holiness and sanctification. As followers of Christ, Christians are called to a life of integrity, marked by:
- and unwavering commitment.
One essential aspect of living out this calling is keeping one’s word and following through on commitments, even if it comes at a personal cost. In a world where promises are often broken and commitments are easily disregarded, Christians must rise above the tide and exemplify the sanctity of their word. This article explores the significance of honoring commitments, why it is essential for Christians to stand firm in their promises, even if it means sacrificing personal gain and examining a core reason as to why some Christians may not keep their word.
THE BIBLICAL MANDATE FOR KEEPING ONE’S WORD
The Bible underscores the importance of keeping one’s word and the gravity of making commitments. Proverbs 20:25 cautions, “It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.” This verse is telling us that it is a trap to dedicate or solidify something rashly and only later to reconsider one’s vows. Similarly, Jesus Himself emphasized the seriousness of making oaths in Matthew 5:37, saying, “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Simply put our ‘Yes’s are to be ‘Yes’s and your ‘No’s are to be ‘No’s; anything beyond this, Jesus says, comes from the evil one. In these verses, we see the biblical mandate for truthfulness and steadfastness in our commitments.
Furthermore, the character of God serves as the ultimate example of unwavering faithfulness. The Scriptures repeatedly attest to God’s faithfulness and steadfastness in fulfilling His promises. As God’s children, Christians are called to imitate their Heavenly Father’s attributes, including His faithfulness, in all aspects of their lives.
The Witness of Integrity and Holiness
The world is in desperate need of authentic witnesses of integrity and holiness. In a society where trust is often eroded, the unwavering commitment of Christians to keep their word stands as a shining light. When believers fulfill their commitments even at personal cost, they demonstrate the reality of their faith. This authenticity has the power to draw others to Christ and showcase the transformative power of the Gospel.
One verse that highlights the importance of integrity and leading a life of holiness and submission to God is Proverbs 11:3. It states, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” This verse emphasizes that those who maintain integrity—consistently acting in an honest and morally upright manner—are guided by their integrity.
On the other hand, those who lack integrity through their deceitfulness or double-mindedness face destruction. In leading a life of holiness and submission to God, maintaining integrity becomes crucial as it directs and guides individuals toward righteousness and aligning their actions with God’s will.
Moreover, honoring commitments showcases the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. It reflects a heart submitted to God’s will and moral standards. Such a demonstration of holiness can impact both individuals and communities, providing a glimpse of what life can be like when God’s principles are upheld.
Growth in Sanctification
Embracing the responsibility to keep one’s word, even when it is detrimental, fosters spiritual growth and sanctification. It calls for self-discipline, self-denial, and a willingness to put others’ needs ahead of personal comfort. This act of sacrificial commitment strengthens the Christian’s character and deepens their relationship with God.
The struggle to fulfill commitments in challenging circumstances can serve as an opportunity to rely on God’s grace and strength. As the apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” In difficult situations, Christians have the chance to experience God’s power at work in their lives, enabling them to stay true to their word despite adversity.
Bearing Witness to Christs’ Love
Keeping one’s word, even to personal detriment, is an act of love towards both God and others. By following through on commitments, Christians show their love for God by obeying His commands and reflecting His character. Simultaneously, they exemplify Christ’s love for their neighbors, demonstrating selflessness and reliability.
Christians should not seek to keep their word solely to receive praise or recognition. Instead, they do it out of love for God and a desire to serve others. In this way, their actions bear witness to the transformative love of Christ, a love that goes beyond personal gain and seeks the welfare of others.
In a world that often treats commitments as disposable and truth as relative, Christians are called to a higher standard. Upholding the sanctity of one’s word, even at personal cost, is a powerful testament to the holiness and sanctification that Christ calls us to embody. By honoring commitments with integrity and faithfulness, Christians become authentic witnesses of Christs’ love and character.
Let us, as followers of Christ, embrace the sacred covenant of keeping our word and following through on commitments. In doing so, we reflect the unwavering faithfulness of our Heavenly Father and become beacons of hope in a world yearning and starving for integrity and holiness. Psalm 89:34 says, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”
This verse highlights God’s unchanging and unwavering character in always keeping His promises. It implies that just as God remains faithful to His word, we should also strive to:
- remain faithful to our word,
- uphold our commitments,
- be true to our promises,
- and live by what Psalm 89:34 says, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”
THE IMPACT OF A LACK OF INTEGRITY ON THE CAUSE OF CHRIST
Integrity is the foundation of any belief system, and it holds particular significance within Christianity. As followers of Christ, Christians are called to exemplify integrity in their words, actions, and commitments. However, when individuals or organizations within the Christian community fall short in this area, it not only damages their credibility but also casts a shadow on the cause of Christ as a whole. The lack of integrity, unkept commitments, and double-mindedness among Christians and Christian organizations can be detrimental to the spreading of the Gospel and the reputation of Christianity.
Titus 2:7-8 “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”
These verses emphasize the importance of Christians living a life of integrity and conducting themselves in a manner that aligns with the teachings of Christ. By displaying integrity in their actions, words, commitments, and teachings, believers can positively influence others and prevent any opportunities for criticism or reproach. Conversely, a lack of integrity can damage the reputation of Christ and His followers, hindering the spread of the Gospel and making it harder for others to embrace the message of salvation.
The Importance of Integrity in Christianity
Integrity is at the heart of Christian values, as it reflects the character of Christ Himself. The Bible emphasizes the significance of honesty, truthfulness, and consistency in one’s actions. In Proverbs 10:9, it states, “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.” This verse reminds us that living with integrity not only honors God but also builds trust and credibility among those we interact with. Once trust is lost in your word, and your commitments, it is almost impossible to earn back.
A Lack of Personal or Corporate Integrity Can be Damaging to the Reputation of Christ
When Christians or Christian organizations lack integrity, their actions reflect poorly on Christ and His teachings. Non-believers and even fellow Christians may be disillusioned and question the authenticity of the faith they profess. An absence of integrity can foster skepticism, hinder evangelism efforts, and create a stumbling block for those seeking spiritual truth. When we repeatedly demonstrate a lack of integrity, and that lack of integrity negatively affects others – this will disillusion those affected and those that witness and have knowledge of it. This brings us to our next point.
A Lack of Integrity Undermines Trust and Credibility
Proverbs 20:7 states, “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” This verse emphasizes the importance of integrity and how it can positively impact one’s life and even extend to future generations. The implication is that integrity builds trust and credibility, and the lack thereof can undermine them.
One of the essential components of a fruitful Christian life is to build strong relationships based on trust. When commitments are not kept, promises are broken, and words do not align with actions, trust erodes, and credibility suffers. This is especially detrimental in areas like missions, outreach, and any type of ministry involving children or young people. Where trust and credibility are vital to the success of the cause of Christ.
A Lack of Integrity Hinders the Spread of the Gospel
The Gospel message is powerful, but its impact can be compromised when proclaimed by those lacking integrity. People often assess the validity of a belief system not only by its teachings but also by the lives of its adherents. Hypocrisy and double-mindedness among Christians can repel potential converts and leave them skeptical about the transformative power of Christ’s message.
A Lack of Integrity Will Have a Big Impact on Christian Unity
One verse from the Bible that teaches the impact lack of integrity can have on Christian unity is Ephesians 4:25, which states, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
This verse emphasizes the importance of honesty and truthfulness in interactions with fellow believers, highlighting that as members of the body of Christ, Christians are interconnected. When people lack integrity and engage in dishonesty or deceit, it can undermine trust and unity within the entire Christian community as a whole.
A lack of integrity will breed division within the Christian community. When Christians or Christian organizations fail to uphold their commitments, conflicts, and misunderstandings may arise, hindering efforts to work together for common goals. This disunity not only weakens the Church’s collective impact but also contradicts the call for unity and love among believers.
A CORE CAUSE OF A LACK OF INTEGRITY – DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS
In the pursuit of a steadfast and unshakable faith, the Bible warns against the peril of double-mindedness. James 1:8, a profound scripture, sheds light on the detrimental consequences of wavering beliefs and divided hearts. Double-mindedness not only harms individuals but also damages the testimony of the Church and undermines the cause of Christ.
James 1:8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
The term “double minded” is derived from the Greek word “dipsuchos,” meaning “two-souled” or “divided in mind.” It describes a state of inner conflict where a person wavers between two opposing beliefs, desires, or purposes. The Bible presents this condition as a grave concern, as it undermines the foundation of faith and leaves individuals vulnerable to various destructive outcomes.
The Warning of James 1:8
James 1:8 states, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways ” This concise verse powerfully illustrates the core issue with double-mindedness: instability. Just as a house built on shifting sands cannot withstand the storms, a faith divided within itself cannot withstand the trials of life. Double-mindedness leads to indecision, doubt, and an inability to commit fully to God’s will, resulting in severe consequences.
The Personal Impact of Double-Mindedness
Double-mindedness can severely harm an individual’s spiritual growth and emotional well-being. When we lack conviction and commitment to our faith, we struggle to mature in Christ, often remaining stagnant in our relationship with God. This lack of spiritual growth robs us of the peace and contentment that come from walking steadfastly with the Lord.
Additionally, double-mindedness can hinder personal relationships and lead to confusion in decision-making. A wavering heart may struggle to maintain healthy connections with others, as trust and reliability become questionable traits. This instability can cause rifts within families, friendships, and communities, ultimately hurting not only ourselves but also those around us.
The Impact on the Church
The detrimental effects of double-mindedness extend beyond individuals and can infect the entire body of Christ – the Church. A congregation marred by double-mindedness may struggle to present a unified testimony of God’s love and grace. When believers fail to demonstrate consistent and unwavering faith, it hinders the Church’s ability to be a beacon of hope and truth in a troubled world.
Moreover, double-mindedness can lead to division within the Church. Divergent opinions and beliefs can cause conflicts that weaken the bonds of fellowship and disrupt the collective mission to advance the cause of Christ. It is essential for the Church to stand united, guided by a firm and unwavering faith, to effectively impact the lives of others positively.
The Effect on the Cause of Christ
The ultimate tragedy of double-mindedness lies in the damage it inflicts on the cause of Christ. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be ambassadors of His love and truth. However, when our faith is inconsistent and unsure, our witness becomes compromised. Non-believers may see our wavering and perceive Christianity as a flawed and unreliable belief system.
A powerful testimony comes from a life dedicated to Christ without compromise. When believers exemplify unwavering faith, the world takes notice and is drawn to the authentic transformation that Christ brings. However, double-mindedness undermines this transformative power and hinders the growth of God’s Kingdom on Earth.
James 1:8 serves as a poignant reminder of the destructive nature of double-mindedness. It warns us of the dire consequences it brings upon ourselves, others, the Church, and the cause of Christ. As believers, let us strive to cultivate a steadfast and undivided heart, anchored in God’s Word and committed to following His will. By doing so, we can live out a powerful witness to the world, drawing others to the life-changing truth found in Christ alone.
Integrity is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, and its absence among Christians and Christian organizations can have far-reaching consequences. A failure to uphold commitments, double-mindedness, and a lack of integrity tarnish the reputation of Christ and His followers, hinder the spread of the Gospel, and undermine the unity of the Church. It is crucial for believers to remember that their actions and words carry weight and influence, impacting the perception of Christianity locally and around the world.
As individuals and as a community, Christians must strive to be consistent in their words and actions, honoring their commitments, and living with integrity. By doing so, they can become authentic representatives of Christ’s love, grace, and transformative power, ultimately strengthening the cause of Christ and glorifying God in all aspects of life.