“Until I die, I will not renounce my integrity!”—JOB 27:5.
SONG 34 Walking in Integrity
1. How did the three Witnesses of Jehovah described in this paragraph take a stand for Jehovah?
IMAGINE the following three scenes involving Jehovah’s Witnesses. (1) A young girl is at school one day when the teacher asks all the students in class to take part in a holiday celebration. The girl knows that this holiday does not please God, so she respectfully refuses to join in. (2) A shy young man is preaching from door to door. He realizes that someone from his school lives at the next house—a fellow student who has made fun of Jehovah’s Witnesses before. But the young man goes to the house and knocks on the door anyway. (3) A man is working hard to provide for his family, and one day his boss asks him to do something dishonest or illegal. Though he could lose his job, the man explains that he must be honest and obey the law because God requires that of his servants.—Rom. 13:1-4; Heb. 13:18.
2. What questions will we consider, and why?
2 What quality do you see in those three individuals? You may notice several, such as courage and honesty. But one quality stands out as especially precious—integrity. Each of the three shows loyalty to Jehovah. Each one refuses to compromise on God’s standards. Integrity moves those individuals to act as they do. Jehovah would surely feel proud of each one of them for showing that quality. We likewise want to make our Father in heaven proud. So let us discuss these questions: What is integrity? Why do we need integrity? And how can we strengthen our determination to maintain integrity in these difficult times?
WHAT IS INTEGRITY?
3. (a) What does integrity mean for us? (b) What examples show that completeness, soundness, or wholeness matter to us?
3 When applied to us as servants of God, integrity means wholehearted love for and unbreakable devotion to Jehovah as a Person, so that his will comes first in all our decisions. Consider some background. One basic meaning of the Bible word for “integrity” is this: complete, sound, or whole. For example, the Israelites offered up animals in sacrifice to Jehovah, and the Law said that the animals had to be sound. * (Lev. 22:21, 22) God’s people were not allowed to offer up an animal that was missing a leg, an ear, or an eye; nor could they offer one full of disease. It was important to Jehovah that the animal be complete, sound, or whole. (Mal. 1:6-9) We can understand why Jehovah cares about soundness or completeness. When we purchase something, whether a piece of fruit, a book, or a tool, we do not want one that has gaping holes or parts missing. We want one that is complete, sound, or whole. Jehovah feels similarly when it comes to our love for him, our loyalty. It must be complete, sound, or whole.
4. (a) Why can an imperfect person have integrity? (b) According to Psalm 103:12-14, what does Jehovah expect of us?
4 Should we conclude that we must be perfect in order to have integrity? After all, we may feel that we are less than sound, or even very flawed. Consider two reasons why we need not fear. First, Jehovah does not focus on our flaws. His Word tells us: “If errors were what you watch, O Jah, then who, O Jehovah, could stand?” (Ps. 130:3) He knows that we are imperfect, sinful humans, and he forgives us generously. (Ps. 86:5) Second, Jehovah knows our limitations, and he does not expect more of us than we can do. (Read Psalm 103:12-14.) In what sense, then, can we be complete, sound, or whole in his eyes?
5. For servants of Jehovah, how is love the key to integrity?
5 For servants of Jehovah, the key to integrity is love. Our love for God, our loyal devotion to him as our heavenly Father, must remain complete, sound, or whole. If our love remains like that even when we are tested, then we have integrity. (1 Chron. 28:9; Matt. 22:37) Consider again the three Witnesses we described at the outset. Why do they act as they do? Does the young girl hate having fun at school, or does the young man hope to be embarrassed at a door, or does the family man want to lose his job? Of course not. Rather, they know that Jehovah has righteous standards, and their minds are focused on what pleases their heavenly Father. Their love for him moves them to put him first in the decisions they make. They thus put their integrity into action.
WHY WE NEED INTEGRITY
6. (a) Why do you need integrity? (b) How did Adam and Eve fail to show integrity?
6 What makes integrity so vital that each of us needs it? You need integrity because Satan has challenged Jehovah, and he has challenged you. That rebellious angel made himself Satan, or “Resister,” back in the garden of Eden. He smeared Jehovah’s good name by implying that God is a bad, selfish, and dishonest Ruler. Sadly, Adam and Eve sided with Satan, rebelling against Jehovah. (Gen. 3:1-6) Life in Eden had given them countless opportunities to strengthen their love for Jehovah. But at the time of Satan’s challenge, their love was not complete, sound, or whole. Another question arose: Would any humans remain loyal to Jehovah God out of love for him? In other words, are humans capable of showing integrity? That question came to the fore in the case of Job.
7. As revealed at Job 1:8-11, how did Jehovah and Satan feel about Job’s integrity?
7 Job lived in the days when the Israelites were in Egypt. His integrity was unique. Like us, the man was imperfect. He made mistakes. However, Jehovah loved Job for his integrity. It seems likely that Satan had already taunted Jehovah about human integrity. So Jehovah called Satan’s attention to Job. That man’s life course exposed Satan as a liar! Satan demanded that Job’s integrity be put to the test. Jehovah trusted his friend Job, and He allowed Satan to test him.—Read Job 1:8-11.
8. How did Satan attack Job?
8 Satan is cruel, and he is a murderer. He attacked Job’s belongings, robbing him of his wealth, his servants, and his reputation in the community. He attacked Job’s family, robbing him of his ten beloved children. Then he attacked Job’s body, robbing him of his health by afflicting him with painful boils that covered him from head to foot. Job’s wife was distraught and overwhelmed with grief; she urged him to give up, to curse God and die. Job himself wished for death, but still he kept his integrity. Then Satan tried a different method of attack. He used three men who were companions of Job. The men visited Job for days, but they offered no comfort. Instead they heartlessly lectured and scolded him. They claimed that God was behind his troubles and cared nothing about his integrity. They even suggested that Job was a wicked man who deserved the terrible things that were happening to him!—Job 1:13-22; 2:7-11; 15:4, 5; 22:3-6; 25:4-6.
9. In the face of his trials, what did Job refuse to do?
9 How did Job handle all that adversity? He was not perfect. He angrily rebuked his false comforters, and he uttered what he admitted was wild talk. He defended his own righteousness more than he did God’s. (Job 6:3; 13:4, 5; 32:2; 34:5) However, even in his worst moments, Job refused to turn against Jehovah God. He refused to believe the lies of those false friends. He said: “It is unthinkable for me to declare you men righteous! Until I die, I will not renounce my integrity!” (Job 27:5) That is a statement of vital importance. Job refused to give in; we can do the same.
10. How are you involved in the issue that Satan raised regarding Job?
10 Satan makes the same charges about each of us. How are you involved? In effect, he says that you do not really love Jehovah God, that you will stop serving him to save yourself, and that any integrity you have is false! (Job 2:4, 5; Rev. 12:10) How does that make you feel? It is hurtful, is it not? However, think about this: Jehovah trusts you enough to offer you a marvelous opportunity. Jehovah is allowing Satan to test your integrity. Jehovah is confident that you can keep your integrity and help to prove Satan a liar. And He promises to help you do that. (Heb. 13:6) What a privilege to be trusted by the Sovereign of the universe! Do you see why integrity is so important? It enables us to refute Satan’s lies and to uphold our Father’s good name and support his way of ruling. How can we build up this vital quality?
HOW WE CAN KEEP OUR INTEGRITY AT THIS TIME
11. What can we learn from Job?
11 Satan has intensified his attacks in these troubled “last days.” (2 Tim. 3:1) In such dark times, how can we strengthen ourselves to maintain our integrity? Again, we can learn a lot from Job. Long before his tests arose, Job had already built up a record of integrity. Consider three lessons we can learn from him about strengthening ourselves to keep our integrity.
12 Job strengthened his love for God by developing awe for Jehovah. Job spent time contemplating the marvels of Jehovah’s creation. (Read Job 26:7, 8, 14.) He was awestruck when he thought about the earth, the sky, the clouds, and the thunder, yet he recognized that he knew very little about the vastness of creation. He also felt awe for Jehovah’s expressions. “I have treasured up his sayings,” Job said of God’s words. (Job 23:12) Job’s awe and respect for Jehovah moved him. He loved his Father and wanted to please him. Job’s determination to keep his integrity thus grew stronger. We need to do as Job did. We know far more about the marvels of creation than did people of Job’s time. And we have the entire inspired Bible to help us to know Jehovah as he really is. All that we learn can help to fill our heart with awe. Our awe and respect for Jehovah will, in turn, move us to love and obey him and to build up our deep desire to keep our integrity.—Job 28:28.
13-14. (a) As noted at Job 31:1, how did Job prove to be obedient? (b) How might we follow Job’s example?
13 Job strengthened himself to keep his integrity through acts of obedience. Job knew that integrity calls for obedience. In fact, each act of obedience strengthens our determination to keep our integrity. Job worked hard to obey God in his daily life. For example, he was careful about his behavior with those of the opposite sex. (Read Job 31:1.) As a married man, he knew that it was improper to pay romantic attention to any woman other than his wife. Today, we live in a world that bombards us with sexual temptation. Like Job, will we refuse to pay improper attention to anyone to whom we are not married? Will we also refuse to look at lewd or pornographic images in any form? (Matt. 5:28) If we exert such self-control daily, we will strengthen ourselves to keep our integrity.
14 Job also obeyed Jehovah in the way he viewed material things. Job saw that if he put his trust in his possessions, he would commit a grave error deserving of punishment. (Job 31:24, 25, 28) Today, we live in a very materialistic world. If we develop a balanced view of money and possessions, as the Bible admonishes us to do, we will strengthen our determination to keep our integrity.—Prov. 30:8, 9; Matt. 6:19-21.
15. (a) The prospect of what reward helped Job keep his integrity? (b) Why might it help us to keep in mind the hope that Jehovah offers?
15 Job kept his integrity by focusing on the hope that God would reward him. He believed that God did care about his integrity. (Job 31:6) Despite his trials, Job was confident that Jehovah would finally reward him. This confidence surely helped him cling to his integrity. Jehovah was so delighted with Job’s integrity that He rewarded him richly while he was still an imperfect man! (Job 42:12-17; Jas. 5:11) And even greater rewards lie ahead for Job. Do you have strong hope that Jehovah will reward your integrity? Our God has not changed. (Mal. 3:6) If we remember that he values our integrity, we can keep our hope for a bright future alive in our heart.—1 Thess. 5:8, 9.
16. What should we be resolved to do?
16 Be resolved, then, never to let go of your integrity! At times, you may feel lonely in such a course, but you will never be alone. You will be among millions of faithful integrity-keepers around the world. You will also join the ranks of men and women of faith who kept their integrity in the past, even under the threat of death. (Heb. 11:36-38; 12:1) May all of us be determined to live by Job’s words: “I will not renounce my integrity!” And may our integrity glorify Jehovah forever!
SONG 124 Ever Loyal
^ par. 5 What is integrity? Why does Jehovah value that quality in his servants? Why is integrity important to each of us? This article will help us find the Bible’s answers to those questions. It will also help us see clearly how we can strengthen ourselves to maintain integrity from day to day. Doing so will bring us great blessings.
^ par. 3 The Hebrew word rendered “sound” regarding an animal is related to the word for “integrity” used regarding humans.
^ par. 50 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: We see Job as a young father teaching some of his children about the marvels of Jehovah’s creation.
^ par. 52 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A brother refuses to join his workmates in viewing pornography.
^ par. 54 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A brother resists the urge to buy a large and expensive television that he does not need and cannot afford.
^ par. 56 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A brother takes time to meditate prayerfully on the Paradise hope.