It has been quite a while since I last spoke about Proverbs within the series Righteousness vs. Wickedness. I thought that today would be a good day to return to this topic. Why? — well, why not? Every day is a good day to study God’s Word. Looking back at the last Proverbs post, I ended with verse 2. As a result, I will start this one with verse 13…
Just kidding, verse 3. Here we go!
3. The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. (Proverbs 11:3)
This verse is pretty straightforward. Despite its simplicity, I find the message it delivers to be very amusing. Here in this one line, we find guidance and destruction. If you want to have a sense of direction, develop your integrity and allow it to manifest itself in your life in a way that will be evident to others. Just in case you are wondering what integrity is, I took the liberty of using dictionary.com to provide you with a proper definition.
|1.||adherence to moral principles; honesty|
|2.||the quality of being unimpaired; soundness|
In the King James Version, integrity can be compared to righteousness (see Prov. 13:6). As listed in its definition, to have integrity is to adhere to moral principles; to be honest, sound, and whole. As Christians, this concept of morals is conceived from the teachings outlined throughout scripture. It is also directed by the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Those seeking to have integrity or to be righteous will be guided by the Holy Spirit. This is clearly asserted in the beginning of verse 3.
The second half of the verse begins with another noun, perverseness. The definition of the adjective perverse is listed for you below.
|1.||deliberately deviating from what is regarded as normal, good,or proper|
|2.||persistently holding to what is wrong|
|3.||wayward or contrary; obstinate; cantankerous|
Therefore, perverseness is the quality or state of being perverse. The perverseness of transgressors (sinners) is the deliberate disregard or deviation from that which is true and good. To be perverse is the complete opposite of what it means to have integrity. Likewise, the result of perverseness is contrasting to the result of displaying integrity. For those who are perverse, the end result will be destruction. The guidance spawned from integrity will lead us on a path that will keep us from destruction. The interesting thing about these results is the time in which we may see them.
In the modern North American day that I live, I am taught to expect results now. I live in a fast-paced society that wants to reap the benefits of its actions immediately. In the case of this verse, only one type of action guarantees results within this lifetime. If you can’t see which one that is, it is action guided by integrity. What is the guaranteed result? Guidance. On the other hand, if you would prefer to not reap the benefits of having integrity now, you’re welcome to try perverseness! You may very well never experience the destruction which is guaranteed in this passage until your death; but do not be misinformed… eventually you will be destroyed.
This whole passage makes me giggle. Integrity and guidance go hand-in-hand. The Holy Spirit and Word guide us so that we can display righteous integrity, and then our integrity guides us throughout the extent of our lives. In light of the American mindset that drives a good number of our decisions, the obvious choice would be to strive for integrity. It is guaranteed to pay off now, and to do so very well.
Should you choose perverseness, I will not need to discuss how to go about being perverse. It comes naturally. Should you choose integrity, you will have to try a bit harder than the others. Because you are human, acting and living with integrity will go against everything your sinful nature tells you to do. Thankfully, you have another aspect of your being that battles against that sinful nature. This is the Holy Spirt which is accompanied by the Word of God. The two are inseparable, as described by scripture.
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
God = The Holy Spirit = The Word
11. Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. (Psalm 119:11)
The Word of God is written on the hearts of man.
9. Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
The Holy Spirit lives inside of you in order to provide peace and guidance.
Having and displaying integrity is easy and hard. It is easy in that we know who to look to and where to look for guidance in our actions. The hard part is allowing ourselves to be instructed in the Word of God and to let the Holy Spirit correct us as we make mistakes. If we do this, however, our lives will line up with the will of the Lord. This will is true, good, whole, honest, and sound. Look back at the definition of integrity. See if God’s will lines up with it.
8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to integrity, and allow integrity to guide you in your walk with Christ and others.