The Bible says, “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
“And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:5).
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie” (Revelation 21:27).
These words of God clearly tell us that God likes the honest and that only by living like a child—pure, open and honest without lies, falsehoods or deception—can we enter the heavenly kingdom. Then where should we start if we want to become honest people? Presumably, this is a question for all brothers and sisters. Now I’d like to share some fellowship on a bit of my own understanding, which I hope can be helpful to you.
- Being an Honest Person Requires Opening Our Hearts to God in Prayer
The Lord Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
These words of the Lord are terse and succinct. God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. That is, we lay ourselves bare in all things before God without any pretense, deception or concealment. Perhaps some brothers and sisters may say, “My heart is open to the Lord, because whatever sins I commit and whatever thoughts, I’ll tell the Lord about them.” However, our opening up is selective: We always tell the Lord about trifling and insignificant things, but we don’t lay ourselves bare and instead have some reservations on major issues of principles. That doesn’t qualify as being honest people. There are also some people who talk a good game in prayer, such as seeking to love and satisfy the Lord wholeheartedly, but actually they pursue fame, wealth and fleshly pleasures. By praying this way, they are trying to deceive the Lord with nice-sounding words, and they fail to speak openly and honestly to the Lord.
The Lord Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). These words show us that the behavior of an honest person is seeking truth from facts and telling it like it is, without the slightest bit of adulteration or deception. Whatever sins we commit, or whatever mistaken pursuits, plans, difficulties or shortcomings, we should truthfully tell the Lord about them; we should speak out what’s in our hearts to the Lord without any concealment or deception, and allow Him to examine our hearts. This means that we are laying ourselves bare before the Lord. When the Lord sees that we pray with an honest heart, He will listen to our prayers and guide us to understand His will and to know how to do things.
- Being an Honest Person Requires Serving God With All Our Heart and Might
The Bible says, “[W]hat does Jehovah your God require of you, but to fear Jehovah your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12). “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
Working and expending for the Lord is what we created beings should do. There is different work in church we need to do, such as shepherding the church, preaching, handling general affairs, spreading the gospel, and so on. Some brothers and sisters may say that their forsaking and expending for the Lord and working in the church means that they’re serving the Lord with all their heart and might and thus they have attained the standard for being honest. Actually, it isn’t the case that as long as we do those things outwardly, then we are serving the Lord with all our heart and might. We must also look at our intentions, motives, and purposes. If our intention is to love and satisfy God, if it isn’t adulterated by our ulterior motives, if it isn’t to pursue reputation and status or to win the esteem and adoration of our brothers and sisters, if it isn’t to bargain with the Lord to gain the blessings of the heavenly kingdom, and if we don’t muddle or skate through when doing church work, then this is serving the Lord with all our heart and might and this is an expression of an honest person. On the contrary, if our intention, motive and purpose are to obtain reputation and status or to gain rewards and crown, then all that we do isn’t serving the Lord with all our heart and might and we are not up to the standard of an honest person. Take the Pharisees of that time, for example. They appeared to be loyal and devoted and traveled to the ends of the earth to spread the gospel and preach, but actually they did this for the sake of their own reputation, position and livelihood. They didn’t focus on preaching Jehovah God’s words but instead sought to establish their own image and gain others’ esteem by deliberately doing good deeds for others to see. God scrutinizes the innermost heart of man. So, although the Pharisees’ actions and conduct might be able to deceive people, they couldn’t deceive God. Ultimately, the Pharisees were cursed by the Lord, just as the Lord said, “[W]oe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matthew 23:13).
The Pharisees’ failure in serving God should be a warning for us. If we don’t do church work for the sake of loving and satisfying the Lord but instead have many ulterior motives, impurities, and desires for reputation and status, for others’ esteem, support and adoration, or for blessings and rewards, then what we do is destined to not attain the Lord’s approval but instead we will be condemned as hypocrites by the Lord. Therefore, when it comes to being honest in serving God, we can’t just see our external behaviors, the most important is to look at our intentions. If we want to meet the standard of an honest person, we must harbor right intentions without our own motives when doing church work, and act in accordance with the Lord’s requirement: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37), putting all our heart and strength into the church work.
From now on, we can consciously practice opening up our hearts in prayer, and when serving God, giving all our heart and strength and not resorting to tricks or bargaining, and seek to be honest people who please the Lord.