There are leaders called to greatness in God’s Kingdom and they will greatly impact their nations because they have put a strong emphasis on character as well as hungered for Christ’s presence, nature and power in their life. At the same time there are leaders called to greatness in God’s Kingdom around the world but if they refuse to deal with character issues they very well could end up falling short of reaching their full potential in Christ. In certain nations God is starting to unleash His power and Spirit in a measure we have not witnessed before. Will you be ready to used by Him?
This article came as result of the Holy Spirit laying some important things on my heart to share with leaders in India and Nepal. I have labored in India since 1986 and Nepal since 1991 and desire to see leaders raised up who will not compromise their walk with Christ. As the harvest is being reaped at an accelerated pace in India and Nepal it is so important that as leaders you drill into the new believers and those you are training the importance of truthfulness, honesty and integrity.
In the days to come I believe the Holy Spirit will be moving powerfully in countries like India and Nepal. In ways that have not been witnessed before. There are things leaders need to be aware of both good and bad to be the most effective for Christ. Often in Full Gospel circles there is a strong emphasis on the gifts or the giftings God has placed on one’s life. That is good but if we place a greater emphasis on the giftings then our character we can eventually fall way short of the mark and end up bringing reproach to the name of Christ rather than honor.
I have been in ministry for 33 years now and been doing mission work throughout the world since 1981 on a regular basis. I have watched many ministries all over the world allow their giftings to surpass their character and end up falling into great sin or fall by the wayside (no longer having a great ministry) despite having tremendous giftings and the call of God on their life.
Jesus said in the last days before He would return that many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another (Matthew 24:10). The Greek word for offended also means scandalized. In other words there will be many scandals. Christian leaders are not exempt from this. Currently more Christian leaders are falling from grace in the world than any other time in history. Mainly because they did not deal with the little foxes (character issues) in their life that spoiled the vine. These scandals do not mean the Holy Spirit will not do some very powerful things in the days to come. It is time to get ready for a powerful move of the Holy Spirit! There are pockets in the world right now where it is crucial that the spiritual atmosphere be set because the Holy Spirit is ready to move in ways never witnessed before in those areas. India is one of those areas.
IMPORTANCE OF HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND HUMILITY IN MINISTRY
I want to show you some key things that will take ministry leaders very far in ministry and also at the same time show you why so many ministry leaders are falling today. Over the years I have seen how in some cultures and religions being deceitful, lying and lack of integrity is alright. Even when following Christ this mindset has continued. I have seen many in ministry who have no problem with being deceitful, lying and having little or no integrity. Some countries more than others.
In America passionate followers of Christ are taught to be people of integrity and honesty. Our country was founded by Godly leaders like Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln who could not bring themselves to lie. They put a strong emphasis on integrity and honesty. Mahatma Ghandi was a man of similar principles. I believe that is what made him such a great leader. These were the kind of men that would tell the truth even if it was to their own hurt. They have passed on a great heritage and legacy for others to follow. As a follower of Jesus Christ I am greatly attracted to leaders with great integrity. America has been changing though in recent years as well as other countries. We will share why later.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 says that in the last days many (all over the world) will lack integrity and believe lies. It is part of ushering in the spirit of Anti-Christ. Let us not be part of the many who lack integrity and believe lies. As a whole passionate believers of Jesus Christ should hate lying and deceit. Let’s take a look at what the scriptures say about these matters and see the great blessing there is in being a person of integrity.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRUTH
First let’s look at the importance of truth in ministry. Jesus said I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). One thing Jesus is, is TRUTH. We can not say we are truly his disciples unless we are people of TRUTH.
In John 16:13 Jesus said this about the Holy Spirit, However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of TRUTH. He will guide us in all truth. He will show us things to come. The Greek says He will transmit to your spirit things that pertain the future. In the scriptures the Holy Spirit is also referred to as a dove. Doves are gentle but very skittish birds. Bill Johnson was sharing on this and said “We always need to walk keeping the dove (Holy Spirit) in mind.” There are things that grieve the Holy Spirit. We need to be people always mindful of His presence if we are to walk in greater power and glory. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:6). When He directs your steps many times heaven invading earth follows.
Numbers 23:19 -20 says “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. It is impossible for God to lie. For God to lie the universe would fall apart. He holds all things by the word of His power (see Hebrews 1:3). We are made in His likeness and image to be like Him. Our words have to be words of integrity, honesty and authority. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children (Ephesians 5:1).
God speaking in Psalms 89:34 says My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. The highest form of any covenant ever made is a blood covenant. What God the Father has done especially through Jesus Christ revolves entirely around blood covenant. Blood covenant is throughout the Bible. A better name for Testament is covenant. God will never alter His word or break a covenant He has made. Psalms 138:2 says For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. God’s Word is His oath and He is fully capable of keeping every word He has spoken. We need to be people who keep our word. People of integrity and truth!
THE REWARDS OF INTEGRITY
Let’s look at the rewards for integrity. There is great reward for those who walk in integrity. Proverbs 20:7 says The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. Notice something here. If we are people who walk in integrity we will be blessed spiritually, mentally, physically, socially and financially. Not only are we blessed but our mate, children and spiritual children God has entrusted us with will be blessed also. WOW! What a powerful promise! How many are claiming that one and walking in it?
This is how we built this ministry into what we have today. I was brought up in a home where a strong strong emphasis was placed on integrity, honesty and hard work. God has greatly blessed us because integrity is of utmost importance to us in our personal lives and ministry. In the early years of ministry I had issues of pride, arrogance and insecurity. Even though I did have these character flaws, I could never allow myself to lie and exaggerate as I knew this would bring reproach to my Lord and Saviour. Thank God I have dealt with the pride and insecurity issues as best I can since then. (Sharmila and I continue to deal with character flaws as they come up, with humility and repentance.) If we lack integrity the opposite is to bring a curse on our life, our children’s and those under us. For no other reason that should make us want to walk in integrity.
How much does integrity mean to you? Would you be willing to lose friends because you are truthful, honest and walk in integrity rather than trying to put on a show and look good for them? That is one test to see if you are person of integrity or not. We need to quit trying to prove ourselves to man and find all our security in Him. He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known (Proverbs 10:9). If you are a person of integrity, word will get out that you are one who can be trusted. You will be put over faster by God and man than someone who perverts his way (is deceitful, lacks integrity or embellishes the truth). Some say “what is wrong with a little lie.” It brings dishonor to Jesus! A person of dishonesty and who lacks integrity will be found out and eventually reap shame and disgrace. Disgrace is a by product of dishonesty and deceit.
Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel (Proverbs 20:17). The effects of deceit are short-lived. It is not worth it my friend!!! You are called to greatness. Do not trade that in for dishonesty and shame. When it is all said and done it is not worth it. Consider your future and eternity. Integrity and humility will help take you great places you have never been before in God’s Kingdom.
When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them (Proverbs 11:2-3). Notice integrity will guide you. The word guide in the original Hebrew means it will transport you. Integrity will take you far in this life and the rewards will be great in the life to come. It will be guiding force in your decision making process, to keep you on the right path.
Many people think that a humble person is someone timid, shy, insecure and someone who can not look you in the eye. But that is not the fruit of humility. It is the fruit of pride and arrogance. Many do not realize that when you exaggerate, or lift yourself up it is because of insecurity (See also Proverbs 27:2). Insecurity is a by product of pride and arrogance and it brings with it shame (ref. Proverbs 11:2). A righteous man hates lying, But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame (Proverbs 13:5). Lying, pride and arrogance bring shame. Many people do not set out to be deceitful but are insecure in who they are, causing them to embellish and eventually tell lies so others think more highly of them. Be secure in who Christ made you to be. We need to be people who hate lying, exaggerating, pride, find our security in Christ and live our lives for the audience of ONE. It will take us further in these last days than we could ever imagine. I know because we have witnessed this time and time again.
A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies will not escape (Proverbs 19:5). What good is lying? Proverbs 6:16-19 says These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue … A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. There will always be gossip, strife, and competition wherever there is lying and arrogance. How do we combat this? By being people of truth and integrity. These things God hates and they are an abomination to Him. Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal truthfully are His delight (Proverbs 12:22). When you are a person of truth you are His delight.
LYING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOT GOOD!
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.”
9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things (Acts 5:1-11).
Here is the story of couple who sold their possessions, did not give it all to the apostles but kept a part of it back for themselves. Nothing was wrong with keeping part of it back. That would have been fine in the eyes of the Lord. Where did they go wrong? They lied! They tried to make it look like they were giving it all (a form of pride and arrogance). They lied to the apostles. Peter said you did not lie to man but to God, the Holy Spirit. Both dropped dead. In the church today many just pass over scriptures like that and continue lying, being deceitful, exaggerating or embellishing the truth to look good to man. Many ministers have come to a place where there is no fear of God and they continue on with character issues like this.
I am reminded of a true story that happened in Kenya, Africa. I knew of a woman pastor in Minnesota, USA who had a strong anointing on her life for miracles. She was invited to Kenya to conduct a campaign and leadership conference. She began to raise support to conduct these events. Many people in her church sacrificed their hard earned money and gave so she could go reach these people in Kenya. Many passionate followers of Jesus Christ in the USA churches are very trusting and believe anyone who claims to be strong believers in Jesus, especially ministers, that they would be people of integrity and honesty. Finally after many months of raising support for the events the pastor sent the money over to Kenya so the ministers could begin preparing for her coming. She finally arrived in Kenya but could not find the ministers who were organizing her campaign and leadership conference. These minsters had deceived her, stolen the money and left town. She and her church who were very trusting were greatly discouraged and wondered what happened to these ministers in Kenya. After returning home she got word that they had found the ministers. They were both dead. After stealing the money, they had suddenly with no warning just dropped dead. Little did they realize you can not mock or deceive God. We will eventually reap what we sow (See Galatians 6:7-8).
I believe with the things God will be doing in the church we will be seeing the fear of God returning to the church. Personally I want to see all leaders in India and Nepal where I labor often reach their full potential in Christ and do great exploits for the glory of God. With greater glory come greater responsibility to handle the anointing properly. We can not live lives full of deceit, dishonesty and have little or no integrity and expect God to just turn a blind eye. With the increase of the miraculous coming to the church there is greater responsibility.
The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy (Proverbs 12:19-20). Do you want to go far in life then be a person of truth and integrity. You will go far in this coming wave of the Holy Spirit. Get ready to be used by Him!