If we are indeed sons and daughters of God, He will discipline us. He loves us, so He teaches us. Solomon wrote:
He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly
If we love our children, we discipline them to keep them walking in line with God’s word. God does the same thing with us. He knows that integrity, truth, and purity are vital keys to keeping us healthy in the spiritual battle we all face.
Personally, I have gotten to the point that I appreciate when God confronts and exposes the sins in my life. He loves me and wants me to be healthy. So he addresses lies and sins that will hold me back in life. I have learned the power of Paul’s statement:
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4)
I remember an especially vivid time that God called me to confront anger and bitterness in my heart. I was going through a difficult time in my life and ministry. I had paid for a large meeting to be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Phoenix. I had reserved front row seats for the event. Though I was running late that night, I knew I had those seats saved. But when I reached the event, another preacher, one who had said some painful, mean spirited lies publicly about me was sitting in my seat. Although my name printed on a laminated card on that seat, he took it for his own. I was livid. I sat at the back of the room while the nationally known speaker preached. The second the service was done, I was out the door, and gone. I drove home furious at the audacity of that preacher to take my chair.
As I drove home, with my wife and daughters in the car, the Lord talked to me. He asked me why it was so important to sit on the front row. He asked if I cared that much about the front row. He showed me the real problem wasn’t the man in my seat, it was my heart, filled with pain, anger, and bitterness. I had to confess it to God and let Him deal with it.
Integrity is when we take ownership of ourselves and confess what wrong inside of us is. We open up and say, “God, here I am. Here are my sins. I confess them to you and want you to help me heal in areas that are weak or broken in me.” Integrity allows us to pray like David:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. …
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties… (Psalm 139:1, 23)
Often, we equate the love of God with how much he gives us or blesses us with, but I know now, after years of walking with Jesus, that the level of His love for us is often shown through how much He addresses the sins in our lives. He is working to help us keep the belt of truth on and our inner lives protected from assault.