Established With Integrity

Take away the impurities from the silver,
    and a good smith can create something of value;
 Take away the wicked from among the king’s advisors,
    and his reign will be established with integrity.

–Proverbs 25:4-5

While reading this passage in The Voice translation the other night, I began to ponder what the words might mean if I put others in the place of the king.

Others, meaning you or me.

If I were to “take away the wicked from among [my] advisors”, what would be the result?

Kings had formal advisors to converse with about important things.

Not considering my friends to be formal advisors, they are, however, a very real influence.

Now, what about that word, wicked?

I can honestly say I don’t have any wicked friends.

Being curious about it, I looked up some words that mean the same thing:






No. My friends don’t fall into this category.

So, what is the result?

My reign will be established in integrity.

Not being a king (or queen),  I don’t have a reign.

I do, nonetheless, have influence.

Influence on my family.

Influence on the people I work with.

Influence on the people I see at church.

Influence on the very friends that I am influenced by.

Applying this scripture to myself, I can come to the conclusion that if I choose only wise and God honoring people to be my advisors/friends, then my own influence will be one of integrity.

And how important is that to me?

Extremely important.

How important is that to you?


It Started With a Test


In the book of John, chapter 6, verses 1-6 begin the account of Jesus’ miracle of feeding 5,000 people:

Once this had transpired, Jesus made His way to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (which some these days call the Sea of Tiberias).  As Jesus walked, a large crowd pursued Him hoping to see new signs and miracles; His healings of the sick and lame were garnering great attention. Jesus went up a mountain and found a place to sit down and teach. His disciples gathered around.  The celebration of the Passover, one of the principal Jewish feasts, would take place soon.  But when Jesus looked up, He could see an immense crowd coming toward Him. Jesus approached Philip.

Jesus (to Philip): Where is a place to buy bread so these people may eat?

 Jesus knew what He was planning to do, but He asked Philip nonetheless. He had something to teach, and it started with a test.

Reading on, I found that Philip thought that even half a year’s wages wouldn’t be enough to buy bread to feed the crowd. Another of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, had seen a boy in the crowd who had five barley loaves and two fish. When Jesus took this food and gave thanks to God for it, all the people were able to eat all they wanted. The disciples gathered twelve baskets full of left overs.

As I was reading this passage,  a verse resonated in my mind.

He had something to teach, and it started with a test.

Rick Warren, in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, has this to say about tests:

“Character is both developed and revealed by tests and all of life is a test.”

Looking at the definition of test in an online dictionary, I found this result:

“a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use.”

Does Jesus sometimes begin our lessons—yours and mine—-with a test?

With a question?

“Where do you suppose you could get….?”

“What do you think can be done for….?”

“Is there any hope of…..?”

“Do you believe that…..?”

I wonder.

If all of life is a test, and a test both develops and reveals our character AND establishes our quality, performance and reliability, what, oh what, are we as mere humans to do?

Doesn’t it all sound incredibly overwhelming?

If we had to memorize all the answers to every test in life, we wouldn’t be able to do it.

Instead, our life tests are “open book” tests.

We have the Bible to guide us as the Holy Spirit leads and we have prayer as an avenue to find the correct action in every circumstance.

Will we always look for God’s guidance in our test?

Probably not.

Yet, we are developing; growing closer to Him, coming to know Him better.

God has life lessons to teach us throughout our days on earth.

Are we eager to learn?


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teach test