Commentary on "Integrity: Wholeness and Holiness"
Day 7: Friday, June 4, 2010 - Further Study
This day’s lesson is comprised of three Ellen White quotations and four discussion questions. The quotes exhort people to “stand for the right though the heavens fall,” to educate their “habits, tastes, and inclinations…in harmony with the laws of life and health” so they may have “the very best physical conditions, and have mental clearness to discern between the evil and the good.”
The last quote says the greatest danger is not from scarcity but from Abundance and says those “who would preserve their powers unimpaired for the service of God, must observe strict temperance in the use of His bounties, as well as total abstinence from every injurious or debasing indulgence.”
The questions cover the issue of the danger of excess, finding the right balance between healthy and unhealthy amounts of sunshine, helping with AIDS work, and encouraging people to abstain from sexual activity outside marriage and to avoid using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
Ellen White’s quotations reveal that she believed mental clarity and physical health are the keys to spiritual awareness. She actually states that mental clearness gives the ability to discern between good and evil.
This belief is blatantly unbiblical. 1 Corinthians 2 is clear that spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and physical health is not part of either discernment or the gospel and salvation. The kingdom of heaven is not about eating and drinking.
This lesson has camped on superficial treatments of behavior. It has encouraged readers to model the integrity of their heroes and to live healthy lifestyles, to discipline their wills so they will live with integrity.
All these disciplines, if built on a faulty foundation, will not yield integrity. If one is deceived, all his decisions will be shaped by the deception and will not truly have integrity. For example, if one truly believes a vegetarian diet is an integral part of perceiving truth and knowing God and His will, teaching others to eat vegetarian and encouraging them that they will also be better able to perceive truth is nevertheless going to be false information.
The Bible is clear that the gospel is the historic reality that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day according to Scripture (1 Cor. 15:1-4). If diet is taught as an essential corollary to the biblical gospel, that teaching will be false teaching—no matter how sincere the teacher.
In other words, if a person has embraced a false doctrine or has been deceived into believing their false doctrine is truth, that person’s sincerity will not yield right standing with God.
If you, the reader, are an Adventist but do not fully believe all the fundamental beliefs of the Adventist organization, your staying in the church while disbelieving it nevertheless sends a false message—a message that you do endorse the teachings of Adventism.
In order to have true integrity, we must each submit our minds to God’s word and ask Him to teach us what is true. We must be willing to let go of what we have deeply and sincerely believed and allow God to shape our reality and worldview.
Unless we surrender everything we are and believe to Him, we retain the reigns of our own lives, and integrity is impossible. We can only have integrity if we are planted firmly in truth and reality as revealed in the Lord Jesus and His word. We can only act with integrity if we love Jesus and desire truth more that we love our lives, our family, and our income.
God provides all we need when we give Him the control of our lives. Truth will never disappoint. It may disrupt our paradigm of life, but the Lord Jesus is faithful. He gives us Himself, and He alone teaches us to live with integrity.
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