The likable character in a Christian by far is honesty. God loves an honest person. Honesty reflects truth, obedience to God, righteousness, justice and faith in the Lord. If we possess it, we can be pleasing to God even when no one is watching. It has reward from God in the future, since it relies on Him. It exhibits both the fear of God and fear toward God. A believer with honesty does not live or work for man’s sake, but for God whom he knows is just. No circumstance can bend him to stray from honesty. Are you an honest man? Is your honesty worthy before God? Does it reflect the heavenly qualities? There are many that claim to be honest and yet, fail to produce it. Often men lose their honor by the lack of it. On the contrary, he who has it will be without reproach. Jacob said, “So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen” (Gen. 30:33).
We ought to strive to be honest before God rather than striving to prove ourselves before men. If we do the former, we acquire greater freedom in life. Righteousness along with the other heavenly qualities befriends us. Doing the latter causes panic and stress to us; there is worry and fear from it. Our focus too remains on the earthly things and on the thoughts of the mind. By being honest before God we can leave all matters to His judgment. God begins to work on our behalf. The reason God worked for His chosen ones throughout the generations in the Bible is honesty. Honesty like any other God-pleasing trait is a quality that must be sustained. It necessitates striving in God’s presence. We can always forego it by our interests. God does not force us for it, but when with it takes the opportunity to lead us into His ways and thoughts. One of its greatness is that it builds its reputation in us; it does not depend on other sources. God adds substance as well as honor to it so that it is visible to all. If honesty is a quality in us, it brings forth the following.
1. Courage. “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted’” (1 Sam. 17:45). We have inner strength to face every matter in life in the name of the Lord. Mountainous tasks become possible to us. While others find it difficult to do certain things, we perceive solutions to do them by honestly applying the principles of truth. Often men choose twisted ways, as they do not have the courage to be honest. On the other hand, honesty blinds us to those ways. So, we overcome every barrier in life. The courage we have is by the superior ways of God embedded in honesty.
2. Gladness. “For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands” (Ps. 92:4). God’s works will be with us at all times. There will be joy in us all the time. Even in weaker times we can gain strength by remembering His response to our honesty. And He will again come to us by His works. Gladness is an output of intimacy with God that insists honesty. Honesty beckons the controlling of mind for establishing the desire of God. For any given situation there is the desire of God. It could be as simple as an informal conversation between two people; there is God’s desire in it. Honesty can establish it. Such practice allows gladness to exist in us at all times.
3. Reverence to God. God personally teaches us that we do not mistreat Him. “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name” (Mal. 2:5). By the things we learn we never stop understanding His greatness. His commands, promises and ways become to us as tassels on the corner of the garment. Therefore, we do not adopt a mind to follow after our own heart and ways. God Himself walks with us to bring us closer to Him. Is there life and peace by which we can rejoice and not be in fear? Yes. It is by honesty; for God reaches down to us.
Having said the above honesty must be developed, if it should bring forth its fruit in us. The following are able to teach us for it.
1. Unending devotion to Christ. There should never be a time in our life that says no to Jesus. Though circumstances may contradict His guidance or instruction, we ought not to lose the knowledge of who He is. Often too many display a flashpoint to faith and trusting the Lord. They forget that sometimes the Lord guides, reveals and blesses them when they have failed in all their endeavors as human beings. Honesty is developed at the guidance of the Lord. For it teaches to listen to Him no matter what. “Simon answered and said, ‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets’” (Luke 5:5).
2. Not likening the Lord to man. This is one of the significant factors to develop honesty. Perceiving the Lord as the all-knowing mighty God brings fear toward Him into our hearts. This then leads to the fear of Him. It is when we seek to assert ourselves as righteous before men that we begin to liken Him to man. We falsely assume our intentions as hidden. Satan overcomes us and we fall to the consequences of sin. “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 5:1-2).
3. Do not retreat. “Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised” (1 Cor. 7:18). The flesh is so weak that it is highly possible for us to reverse to its deeds or turn to deeds of deception. When we know we have been called by God for salvation and are called for a specific purpose, we ought not to even entertain the thought of choosing another way. Every thought that is against His will can be outweighed by His purpose to us. Honesty is developed when we are steadfast in His purpose to us.
Whatever it is that is linked to honesty, if they are in us, there will be untold rewards lined up by God for us. Even His rewards proclaim we are His children and turn us as light to those living in darkness.