Joyous Results of Maintained Integrity
1. What Scriptural support is there for the thought that David was a man of integrity?
“SO David, with a sling and a stone, proved stronger than the Philistine and struck the Philistine down and put him to death; and there was no sword in David’s hand.” (1 Sam. 17:50) What great joy this must have brought David, to realize that he had gained the victory over the Philistine giant Goliath because of David’s integrity, his whole-souled devotion to Jehovah. Sometime after his encounter with Goliath, David prayed to Jehovah, “Let integrity and uprightness themselves safeguard me.” (Ps. 25:21) The inspired writer Asaph speaks of David and the “integrity of his heart.” (Ps. 78:72) In 1 Kings 9:4, Jehovah encouraged Solomon to follow the course of his father by saying: “Walk before me, just as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and with uprightness by doing according to all that I have commanded you.” So, although he was imperfect and did make mistakes, David many times throughout his life proved he was an integrity-keeper.
2. (a) Why was Jesus willing to die as he did? (b) According to Philippians 2:5-11, how was Jesus’ course of integrity rewarded?
2 In due time a greater-than-David appeared on earth, the man Jesus. Jesus was perfect and faithfully maintained his integrity to Jehovah throughout his human life, setting a fine example for us to follow. (1 Pet. 2:21-23) Can we say that his loyalty to Jehovah brought him happiness? Let God’s Word answer that for us: “For the joy that was set before him [Jesus] he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2) Yes, Jesus was willing to go through the ignominious death he faced because he maintained his integrity and had a joyous reward awaiting him. In Philippians 2:5-11 more is told us about this: “Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake. For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
3. What have many in modern times done as well?
3 In this twentieth century there are many integrity-keepers throughout the world, individuals who day after day show their honesty, their desire to be upright in Jehovah’s eyes by their course of action even in little matters. And, of course, there are many too who have faced big issues, proving their integrity.
4. (a) What course did one sixteen-year-old follow in his efforts to maintain integrity? (b) What did his teacher finally do?
4 In one country where the church and state work hand in hand, a Christian boy of about sixteen was told that he would be expelled from school if he did not make the sign of the cross and attend the church Mass. He was so near to graduating, but he would lose all his credits if he did not conform. The instructor told him just to go through the motions without believing in what he was doing, but the boy stood firm. The instructor admired the boy’s faith so much that he arranged to have him stand at the rear of the room at prayer time so it would not be noticed that he was not making the sign of the cross. (The teacher was afraid he would get in trouble and that his job would be in jeopardy if he were openly to permit the boy to refrain from this religious practice.) The teacher also assigned him jobs during church Mass so he would have an excuse to be busy and away from the church service. Can we not say, then, that the boy’s integrity-keeping course was rewarded?
5. Why did a youth in school suffer physical abuse?
5 There are those who, in obeying the counsel found in God’s Word, have been physically abused. On one Pacific island two youngsters refused to engage in a patriotic ceremony that involved an idolatrous act. The teacher, not appreciating freedom of religion as allowed for in that land, went so far as to break the hand of one youngster. The matter was discussed with the teacher and taken up with his superior, and the teacher was soundly reprimanded. Since that time the teacher has been most cooperative. It is true that the one youngster suffered considerably, but he stayed faithful and in doing so proved that he truly is loyal to Jehovah.
6. (a) Why was the matter of blood transfusions brought up to one thirteen-year-old girl? (b) How did she and her mother keep integrity to Jehovah’s laws?
6 Another case of integrity-keeping was manifested in recent years when a thirteen-year-old girl in Berlin was found to have leukemia. The doctor explained that transfusions of blood would make the girl more comfortable and stave off the progress of the disease. The mother, being a God-fearing Christian, knew what the Bible says about not eating blood. (Gen. 9:4; Acts 15:28, 29) So she refused to permit transfusions to be given. The girl also refused to permit this, saying, “I would rather die faithful to Jehovah God than to violate his command in order to live a little while longer.” (Matt. 10:39) This girl did die, but she left a letter for her mother to read. The letter was to all the ones the girl knew and it asked that they not find fault with her mother for not permitting transfusions. She said: “It is just as much my firm will to be true and obedient to God’s Word rather than to be a lawbreaker. . . . If the great Life-giver Jehovah considers me worthy he will give me a resurrection—in honest-to-goodness flesh and blood as a human on a cleansed paradise earth in delight and happiness. So you see, that is why it wasn’t hard for me to die. Can you understand that?”
7. (a) Faith in what makes one able to face death? (b) How do individuals get such faith?
7 But why was it not hard for her to die? Because she had faith just as did Abraham of old, who “reckoned that God was able to raise him [his son Isaac] up even from the dead.” (Heb. 11:19) Yes, she had full faith in God’s promised new system of things and the resurrection of those ransomed by the sacrifice of God’s Son. (John 5:28) But where would someone so young get such faith that would aid her to keep integrity, even in the face of death? It was from a study of God’s Word, the Bible. Another young girl, who is now a full-time minister of Jehovah’s witnesses, in commenting on some material she heard about parents training their children, said: “It made me glad all over again that my mother had bothered with a family study. I sure do wish I could shake some of these children who ignore their parents and their counsel.”
8. (a) Why is neutrality involved in keeping integrity? (b) How were a mother and son tested on the neutrality issue, and what was the outcome?
8 In John 18:36 Jesus is quoted as saying, “My kingdom is no part of this world.” Our keeping integrity involves our being loyal to that kingdom and maintaining a course of strict neutrality toward the affairs of this wicked system of things. In one island country, a Witness learned that her son had been threatened with dismissal from school because of his conscientious refusal to participate in military exercises. So she appealed to the school officials on her son’s behalf. One official suggested she claim that her son was physically disabled so that he could be excused, but the mother, knowing God’s viewpoint of lying, told them that this was not the truth. (Rev. 21:8) Then they suggested that the boy just wear the uniform and do nothing more than call the roll and hand out the wooden rifles. Again the mother explained that this would identify her boy as part of the exercises. Becoming irritated, the officials angrily dismissed the mother, saying that her religion is unreasonably strict. She left quietly, but before she could go far she was hastily called back by the officials. They apologized for what they had said earlier and told her that, in fact, they really admired her firm religious convictions. How thankful she was to Jehovah when they told her that the boy would be given work to do in the principal’s office while others did military exercises! Certainly she and her son were rewarded for their efforts to maintain their integrity as far as the issue of Christian neutrality is concerned.
9. Why did an actress and her husband make changes in their lives, and what resulted from this?
9 Even individuals newly associated with the true religion and the pure worship of Jehovah have the opportunity to show their loyalty to God, their integrity. People from all walks of life come to an accurate knowledge of the truth. A married woman who was an actress in the Middle East began studying the Bible and readily accepted the truth. Quickly she saw the need to avoid parts in television and on the stage that violated Christian principles. (1 Pet. 4:3, 4) Her husband, an actor, had more difficulty in making changes in his life because worldly associations were hindering his progress. Through encouragement from Jehovah’s witnesses and some self-examination on his part, he soon took a position pleasing to God. Then he began inviting all his friends and neighbors to study the Bible. They asked what changed him, and he replied, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) By this couple’s endeavoring to conform their lives loyally to Jehovah’s Word and the principles therein, they had the joyous result of seeing the change in themselves and being able to share their newfound religion effectively with others.
10. How did one newly interested person face up to family opposition, and how was she rewarded?
10 Maintaining integrity often brings opposition from relatives who do not appreciate the true religion, but did not Jesus foretell that “a man’s enemies will be persons of his own household”? (Matt. 10:36) A woman in the southern part of Africa began studying the Bible and immediately quit her church because of its false teachings. Her husband and mother fiercely opposed her, but the one studying the Bible with her pointed out Matthew 10:37, where Jesus said: “He that has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me.” She was encouraged by this to continue studying, and she was also comforted with the knowledge that those hated because of the good news of God’s kingdom are really blessed. (Matt. 5:10, 11) She became all the more determined to put into practice what she learned from her studies. Her steadfastness brought results, however, for sometime later she was astounded to find her mother also giving a witness of the good news to her friends, even expressing regret that she previously had been wasting her time. The mother then began encouraging her daughter not to give up. Certainly the young woman’s integrity-keeping course has been richly rewarded as she and her once opposed mother work together serving Jehovah.
11. What temptations were put before a brother to break the Scriptural injunction against stealing, and how did the matter work out?
11 Keeping integrity involves living in harmony with the thought expressed in Ephesians 4:28: “Let the stealer steal no more.” In these times of great economic hardships, those in responsible secular positions are faced with many temptations and intimidations. Studying the principles of the Bible serves to maintain one’s balance and honesty. A person serving as a cashier in a bank in a poor Asian country began studying with Jehovah’s witnesses. Often employees would endeavor to bribe or force him to falsify checks in order to obtain money for themselves. These corrupt persons even brought and offered him a complete set of furniture and a new motorcar in an effort to break down his resistance and get him to join with them. Fortified with the Bible truth, he maintained his integrity, refusing all such gifts. Shortly after he was baptized, the director of the bank endeavored to obtain large amounts of money through him without providing the proper receipts. This too the brother refused to do, as it was against the regulations of the bank and contrary to Scriptural principles. An inspection was made by the authorities of the bank. The bank director was fired, but the brother is still holding his job because of their respect for his honesty. He could have given in to the director’s wishes, thinking he would have to continue working with him and would suffer abuse if he did not cooperate with him, but he chose to pursue a course of loyalty to Jehovah, and in the end was richly rewarded.
12. What effort did one Bible student put forth to qualify for the ministry?
12 The Bible, speaking of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, says, “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4) Maintaining integrity involves heeding that counsel too. In a west African land a man studied the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses and in a few months expressed the desire to join in the field ministry. It was pointed out that he was too closely associated with a segment of Babylon the Great and that adjustments had to be made in his secular work first. Due to a physical handicap he found it very difficult to find suitable, alternative employment. Knowing that Jehovah would bless anyone doing what is right, he moved over four hundred miles to take up a new job. Imagine his delight at finding that he was sharing an office with one of Jehovah’s witnesses. He immediately took up the field ministry, joined the Theocratic Ministry School and made arrangements to be baptized in symbol of his dedication to Jehovah.
13. (a) What attitude toward the preaching work brings rewards? (b) What did one young lady do to help her family to learn the truth, and was it worth the effort?
13 Our loyalty to Jehovah, our maintaining our integrity to him is also shown by our sharing the good news from God’s Word, the Bible, with others. Knowing the truth, we should feel just as Jeremiah did when he said, “In my heart it proved to be like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I got tired of holding in, and I was unable to endure it.” (Jer. 20:9) This right attitude toward speaking about Jehovah’s purposes brings joyous rewards too. A young lady visited relatives in another country and found that one of them was studying with Jehovah’s witnesses. She sat in on the studies and made rapid progress. In a few months she became a dedicated witness of Jehovah. She wrote her family about the truths she had learned from the Bible but they did not respond favorably to her letters, so she decided to return home to speak to them directly and to let them see what a change the truth had made in her life. But things did not work out that way, and her family even opposed her attending meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. Some of the men in the congregation arranged to make a friendly visit on her family and were able to persuade the family to make just one visit to the Kingdom Hall to see what went on there. At the meeting they were so impressed by the love, kindness and joy manifested by the brothers that they no longer opposed the young lady’s attending meetings and sharing in the field ministry. In time her younger sister became interested in the truth and is now a dedicated servant of God. Continued efforts resulted in her mother and married sister’s also learning the truth and, in turn, sharing it with others. Now they are happily united in Jehovah’s service, all because of the faithful course of the one who learned the truth and determinedly shared it with others in her immediate family.
JOY NOW AND IN THE FUTURE
14. (a) How do we receive joy now by maintaining integrity? (b) Explain Proverbs 27:11 in connection with our being joyful.
14 From the foregoing, can it not be said that maintaining our integrity now brings joyous results at present? True, joy may come from being able to help others to see that we have the true religion or from receiving commendation or perhaps a promotion from a worldly superior because of his seeing our fine course of action. But an even greater reason for our being joyful is spoken of in Proverbs 27:11. Let us read and analyze this verse together: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.” Jehovah is telling us to be wise. How can we be wise? How can we show wisdom? By taking in knowledge from the Bible and then by applying that knowledge in our lives. In other words, by keeping integrity to Bible principles. If we are wise in this way, what does it do? It makes God’s heart rejoice. Why? Because we can serve as an answer to ‘him that is taunting God,’ that is, Satan the Devil. Yes, Jehovah can point to integrity-keepers to prove Satan’s challenge that he could turn all men away from God is false, just as Jehovah did in the case of Job. (Job 1:8) When you stop and think of it, is that not an outstanding reason for us to be joyful, knowing that by our course of action, by our doing what is right, especially under test or trial, we are making Jehovah rejoice? And knowing this will help us to continue in this right course, for ‘the joy of Jehovah is our stronghold.’—Neh. 8:10.
15. Why can we say that the happiness integrity brings is not short-lived?
15 The happiness that comes from loyalty to Jehovah is not something that is short-lived, however. This happiness is to survive the destruction of this wicked system of things, which destruction is near at hand. Isaiah 65:18 records Jehovah’s invitation: “Exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating.” And what is it that Jehovah is creating? Isa 65 Verse 17 says: “For here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” The righteous new system of God’s making is something about which we can express joy endlessly, because if we faithfully do his will we have the hope of living in that arrangement. Our integrity will serve as a refuge for us to protect us when the wicked are destroyed. “Because of his badness the wicked will be pushed down, but the righteous will be finding refuge in his integrity.”—Prov. 14:32.
16. What joy awaits the remnant of the “little flock”?
16 For those yet remaining of Jesus’ “little flock” on earth, their maintaining their integrity until death will bring the great reward of being united with Christ Jesus in heaven to serve as kings and priests with him for a thousand years. (Luke 12:32; Rev. 20:6) Paul, in Philippians 3:13 and 14, explains what he did to keep in line to receive this prize: “Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.” Those anointed Christians, still alive in the flesh, must follow a similar course. For so doing they will have many joyous experiences now, and will in Jehovah’s due time be given the incomparable reward of immortality with Jesus as part of God’s heavenly Kingdom government.—1 Cor. 15:53, 54.
17. What joy awaits those of the “great crowd”?
17 After speaking of the limited number who would gain the prize of heavenly life, Revelation chapter 7 goes on in Re 7 verse 9 to speak of a “great crowd” from all over the world who would also gain life. But the life these would gain is everlasting life as humans on a paradise earth. For those who keep themselves in a clean condition before Jehovah by maintaining their integrity to him and who courageously acknowledge that salvation comes from Jehovah through Jesus, the joyous result will be life eternal when these words come true: “And [God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) Such a promise is not ‘too good to be true,’ as some would say, for the next Re 21 verse 5 in the Bible says, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” Yes, they are guaranteed by God himself.
18. If we maintain integrity, what attitude like that of David can we have?
18 There is no doubt about it. Maintaining integrity brings joyous results now and in the future. If we follow this course, we too can say to God as did David: “As for me, because of my integrity you have upheld me, and you will set me before your face to time indefinite.”—Ps. 41:12.