Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Little Foxes

Learning to Live for God in ALL Things

"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; " Colossians 3:22-23

About 13 years ago, I became a manager at a Firm where I was afforded some liberty in my duties and the management of my team.  However, I sometimes took advantage of this.

One way that I did so was by padding my expense reports.  I didn't want to just be reimbursed for my expenses, but I wanted to be enriched by them.  Whenever I traveled, I wanted to come back ahead of the game; which to me meant not only paid for expenses but making money off of traveling.  Therefore, every expense report usually had from $5.00 - $20.00 of "padded" expenses.

One day as I was filling out my expense report - doing as I usually did and what I was sure most others did as well - God spoke to me and asked, "Do you not have faith in me to provide you with $7.14 if you need it?"

Startled, I answered, "Yes, Lord.  Of course I do."

"Then why are you trying to get $7.14 from this company unrighteously?" He asked.

"Well see God," I replied, (this is the part where you get to fall on the floor laughing at my ignorance as I try to justify myself to God.), "I am not doing this because of any lack of faith in you.  I believe you will get me anything I need.  It is just that this company sticks it to us in so many ways.  I figure they also owe me for the effort in traveling and being away from my family.  Plus, they have a lot of money and you should see the ways in which the Partners waste it, so these little amounts won't hurt them.  And by the way, everyone does it; they probably even expect it."

"When you do this," God said "You are demonstrating a lack of faith in me and you are taking what you have not earned.  You are lying and you are stealing."

I was shocked.  I didn't think these actions had anything to do with God.  This was after all "just work".  And He called this little thing stealing?  Wasn't that a bit much?  Besides, everyone was doing it.

I didn't understand that my feeling justified in breaking God's commands in order to get what I wanted was indeed a lack of faith.  It reflected a lack of integrity or wholeness in my character.
integrity: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty, virtue; the state of being whole.

Did you know that integrity and integrate come from the same root words?  The only way in which we can have integrity is to be integrated (renewed, restored) into Christ.  It is only in Him that we are made whole. 

"O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee...Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide." Psalm 25:20-21, 26:1

There is nothing we could ever need or want which we cannot ask our Heavenly Father to provide.  Our answers are found in waiting upon and trusting in Him.  That is faith.

And the truth of the matter is that I didn't even need that money.  I did it simply because I could.  I did it because I was still crooked in my thinking in many ways.  Thank God He renews our minds and makes straight our paths (Isaiah 42:16; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23)! 

I had somehow convinced myself that "the job" was separate from other aspects of my life in Christ.  That how I interacted in the world and with the world didn't really matter.  Yet, it does.  It matters to God.

"[Be] Not slothful in business; [be] fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; " Romans 12:11

When we sin - no matter the area or how small - we are sinning against God; and sin is personal to Him.  This is why it is often the "little foxes" which trip us up (Song of Songs 2:15).  The little things we do against God which we falsely convince ourselves mean nothing to Him. 

We take refuge in not being a mass murderer, a fornicator, or a drug addict.  However, we take no thought to lying on our jobs, holding on to more than we are due, or being dishonest with the government or in business dealings.

We are to live righteously in this world - not because the world is righteous - but because our God is...and He calls us to be.  Regardless of how others deal with us, we are to always be upright.  As His children, we are not called to live like "everyone else".  He holds us to a "higher calling"; holiness (Philippians 3:14; I Peter 1:15-16).  

In a recent conversation with a sister in the Lord, she spoke of how her son had lost his job because of the same issue: a lack of integrity.   While he should have been working, he had instead been goofing off.  What he didn't know was that they had been watching him and had documented his lapses in judgment.  Therefore, when they met to fire him, he had no excuse.

When confronted, his first thoughts went to the fact that others were doing the same thing.  However, he was the one who was fired.

"The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them." Proverbs 11:3

The Scriptures let us know that the opposite of having integrity is being crooked or perverse.  Further, it is the lack of integrity which destroys.  Even when I see the same thing in my own son - a desire to slick and sneak instead of being upright - I am quick to ask him, "What type of man do you want to become? What type of person do you want to grow up to be?"  As is often said - Character Counts.  When we compromise on doing what is right, God's word is clear that we destroy our own way.

As we live, you never know who is watching. I am not speaking from a perspective of trying not to "get caught" in wrongdoing.  Such a person is already unfaithful and unconverted in his heart.  I am talking about how our lives reflect - or even detract from - the testimony of Christ.

It is not only crucial to walk with honor before the Lord for our own sakes, but for the sake of others since we are His witnesses.  When we confess Christ and then act in ways that are without virtue or integrity, we can nullify our professions and dishonor Christ.  We show ourselves to be no different than those who are lost.  What good then is our Christ and His salvation?  It is not that we make Christ void, but rather we pervert Him to others and potentially create obstacles to their receiving Him.

And yet, the biggest motivation to living a life of integrity is what is in the heart of every child: simply a desire to please the Father.  What sense of purpose, joy, and fulfillment there is in hearing God say, "Well done."  As Jesus said, His very food - that which nourished & sustained Him - was to do the will of the Father (John 4:34).

If we want God to trust us in the bigger things, then we must prove accountable in the little things.  We cannot wonder why God is not blessing and multiplying the fruit in our lives when the little fruit we produce is being gobbled up by these small foxes.

Let's truly seek to walk uprightly before the Lord with our whole hearts and in all that we do.

Whatsoever you do, do it as unto the Lord.

"The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him." Proverbs 20:7


  1. I'm amazed at how much the word 'integrity' is popping up. The Spirit of the LORD never ceases to amaze me! Love you LORD...

    Happy to be tested, may we please the LORD with our integrity! :D

  2. This was an awesome post. I was confronted by the Lord about this very issue. Thanks God for correction, love, and abounding grace.

  3. Thank you, this is very timely for me too. I am facing this issue right now, procrastinating and being lazy and undirected in my work and my life. I have tried for years now to address it but with no steady, long-term change. I now think God must change me because I cannot seem to do it myself. But to me, it seems this kind of change only occurs when one truly become a Christian and how does one do that? I believe in God, I believe Jesus is His son and the Christ, I read and am coming to know the Bible - but more like a Pharisee it feels. It all seems to come from a very dry place and I certainly am no source of living waters. It has been about 5 years since I started thinking about and seeking Him more.

  4. Hi Reed,

    I think where you are now is exactly where you need to be. We cannot change ourselves and much of our frustration is trying to accomplish in the flesh what only God can to.

    I don't even think it is a one time realization for a Christian. The natural impulse of man is to "perform" or to "do". Even still, God has to pull me up short when I am starting to move ahead of Him. We must continue to be mindful to rely on the Spirit and not our own efforts.

    I hope the following message is encouraging to you and helps stir your fire for the Lord.

    I Cannot Perfect Myself

    Being a Christian - or rather, living this Christian walk - is the product of us depending on Christ; even to complete the work He has begun in us.

    God Bless!

  5. Such a true article. God does want to wash us thoroughly doesn't He? Even when we think it is just something "little".

  6. I'm glad you shared this, I believe situations like this are far more common experiences in the lives of Believers than we usually are willing to acknowledge...

    You describe the inner rationalizing that we all can do so well. We can dismiss such things as being "small potatoes", but of course God does not regard it that way at all! To him, stealing is stealing, even if it's incremental amounts from some massive, corrupt entity...

    I'm happy that you listened to the voice of the Spirit, and in sharing your story, it all serves to demonstrate how God doesn't just coming crashing down on us when we give into these kind of temptations, but reproves and corrects us in grace, calling us to repent and move on. I've been there many times, His grace is almost beyond my comprehension...

  7. Hi D,

    I agree. His thoughts are so much higher than ours. All unrighteousness is sin to Him.

    We are born fallen. It is our nature. But thank God we don't have to stay that way. Thank God that in His mercy and grace, He can open our blind eyes to see ourselves and cry out to Him for deliverance. Little by little, as we walk with Him, our minds are renewed and our paths made straight.

    He is surely worthy of all honor and all praise!

  8. Thanks for the link, LDM


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