The Lord Jesus once said: “And said, Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 18:3). As we all know, the likeness of little children is the likeness of honest persons. The Lord requires us to be as pure and honest as children, neither telling lies nor displaying any treachery. Only honest persons are approved of by God and are qualified to enter into God’s kingdom. In fact, honest persons are not only liked by God, but also liked by man. In life, each of us likes associating with honest persons, because when we are staying with someone honest, we need not worry about too much nor guard against being harmed by him, and we also can have a heart-to-heart with him and pour out our troubles to him. From this can be seen that honest persons are very popular. Then how can we achieve being honest persons? In a book, I found four key elements of being an honest person. Here, I’d like to share them with you.
Matthew 18:3 — become as little children — Jesus teaching
1. To be an honest person, one must have a place for God in his heart, and accept God’s observation and test.
Although we believers in God know well that God likes honest persons, in real life, when our fleshly interests are involved, we will tell lies in spite of ourselves. This is an undeniable fact. However, when encountering a thing, if we can bring our intentions and thoughts in treating the thing before God and accept God’s observation, we will not be debauched nor unrestrained but can practice the truth and be an honest person. For example, there is a brother in the Lord doing business. When a customer came to buy the brand of sheet he liked yet it was out of stock, then the brother wanted to display the treachery and use another brand of sheet instead to cheat the customer, but he thought of God’s words: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer 17:10). He realized that God is at his side and observes his words and actions, thoughts and ideas, so he betrayed his flesh, not telling lies. When he practiced like this, he felt comforted in his heart. From this can be seen that when we encounter a matter, if we can accept God’s observation and have a heart of reverence for God, we can practice according to God’s words. On the contrary, if we don’t honor God as the greatest in our hearts, don’t have a heart that reveres God and fears God at all but just think of our own interests, we will certainly not put God’s words into practice. Just as Judas, he often stole money from the Lord Jesus and cheated Him; at last, he sold out the Lord Jesus for money, earning the punishment of God. So if we want to be an honest person, we must have a place for God in our hearts, accept God’s observation, and act according to God’s requirements. This is the path of practice that an honest person should have.
2. To be an honest person, one must quiet his heart before God, speak the words of his heart and speak honestly to God when he prays to God. This is truly communing with God. Only thus can he maintain a normal relationship with God.
The Lord Jesus said: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jhn 4:24). From this we can see, one who practices being an honest person must quiet his heart before God, open up and lay himself bare to tell his incorrect intentions or difficulties to God, seeking God’s leading and guidance. Only thus can we have a normal relationship with God. For example, in our contact with people in life, when our interests are involved and we want to be deceitful, we should pray to God: “God! You see, I again want to be deceitful for the sake of my interests. I do not have the form of a human. I’m still a devil which disgusts You. I also hate myself for playing at plots and schemes. I ask You to discipline me, reproach me and punish me.” When we speak the words of our hearts and speak honestly to God like this, our relationship with God will gradually become normal. This is giving our heart to God in prayer, is being an honest person in the presence of God. On the contrary, when we pray to God, if we can’t quiet our hearts before God, nor speak the words in our hearts, but only do outward things, we will not have a normal relationship with God. Just like the Pharisees, they made long prayers standing in the corners of the streets, just for show. God doesn’t listen to such prayers. Just as the Lord Jesus taught us: “And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men” (Mat 6:5). He also once rebuked the Pharisees: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Mat 23:14). From this can be seen that if we make false prayers before people like hypocritical Pharisees, then this is false devoutness, is cheating people. If we pray to God in spirit and truth and speak the words in our hearts and speak honestly to God, talking with God about our practical difficulties, confusions, shortcomings and corruptions we expose, these are the manifestations of an honest person.
3. Honest persons should speak and do things in complete accord with their thoughts. When they get along with brothers and sisters, they should not only open up and lay themselves bare but should have wisdom.
One who practices being an honest person should mean what he says, saying what he thinks in his heart. The Revelation says: “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Rev 14:5). Being an honest person according to God’s requirements, one should say what he thinks in his heart before others’ eyes and no lies come out of his mouth. When we get along with the brothers and sisters, we should open up and lay ourselves bare, and hold nothing back without concealment. For example, when the brothers and sisters reveal complaint, resistance, evasion and even betrayal in various kinds of trails, we should fellowship about the Lord’s will combining our own experience, and fellowship what weakness we have and at last how we overcome all kinds of miseries and sufferings by praying to receive the Lord’s enlightenment and guidance and accept the test given by the Lord. When we fellowship about our experience to help and assist the brothers and sisters, we should seek truth from facts, not exaggerate to cheat them; at the same time, we should have wisdom and fellowship according to their stature, not making them negative or misunderstand God. Most importantly, we should help them be nourished in their spiritual life. Only practicing like this is living out normal humanity.
4. Honest persons speak and do things according to God’s words. They don’t resort to deceit but conduct themselves honestly and frankly.
After we believe in God and understand some truths through reading God’s words, we will not speak and do things in a deceitful way but practice according to the principles of truth God’s words require. Only thus can we gain God’s approval, can we be honest persons in God’s eyes. For example, when we find the brothers and sisters are weak in spirit, lacking of life supply, we can’t be fraudulent nor fake nor pretend to understand when we don’t. In order to help and assist the brothers and sisters well, we should seek the reason more why they are weak in spirit and why our sermons have no light and are not able to supply them. If we let matters slide, do not care about their life, and even trap and control them to protect our status, not allowing them to go out to find the church which has the work of the Holy Spirit to gain life supply, this is truly deceitful and too selfish and mean. Then, we can only be rejected by God and fall into the darkness and being eliminated by God. When the Lord Jesus required us to follow the Lord’s way, He said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Mat 22:37–38). According to the Lord’s words, when we preach and work, and supply the church, if we don’t think of our own benefit or loss and future fate in all things but can satisfy God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, then we are the persons who follow the Lord’s way, and the honest persons who practice God’s words. Like Peter, in order to love the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, even if he suffered persecution and tribulation, he still accomplished what the Lord Jesus entrusted him with — watering and shepherding the Lord’s sheep well. At last, he was nailed upside down to the cross, achieving submitting all the way up to death and loving God to the extreme. Peter served the Lord all his life, working diligently and conscientiously without attracting any attention and seeking no reward. He is a loyal saint. He is even more an honest man in God’s eyes. God hopes that we could conduct ourselves in a well-behaved manner, have truth and humanity, practice God’s words in all things, and conduct ourselves frankly and honestly. Only this kind of person is the honest one, who is approved of by God and shall live forever in God’s kingdom.
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