| "Joseph left his cloak in her hand and ran
out of the house". (Gen 39:12)
The events of Sept 11th 01 in New York bring the words of
Jesus to mind "because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow
cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (MT 24:12).
Wickedness is on the increase; in times like these we need
to know that we are in a safe place, that we can be built up in love, be
encouraged and strengthened in God, and go out to live upright lives and to
share God's love with others.
Are you in a safe place?
How do you know if you are in a safe place?
The answer is in another question - does your leader have
Proverbs tell us that "the man of integrity walks
securely"(10:9) "the integrity of the upright guides them" (11:3)
"righteousness guards the man of integrity"(13:6) "bloodthirsty men hate a man
of integrity and seek to kill the upright" (29:10), hence the religious people
had Jesus crucified, "out of envy".
If your leader has integrity and proclaims the word of God
you are in a safe place. If your leader functions out of pride, selfish
ambition or envy, watch out! - you are in a dangerous place. "For where you
have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil
There are two areas in particular that test the
integrity of leaders: their attitude towards money and their attitude
towards women and particularly, their wives.
Why does integrity matter so much?
Because wickedness is on the increase and the devil
"masquerades as an angel of light". His evil is not always "in your face" as on
Sept11th 01. Most times it is hidden under a cloak of nicety, which is
deception. There is a 'kindness' that kills the spirit and leads to death. It
is called "worldly sorrow" and carries no repentance. It looks good on the
surface, but smothers and controls the spirit. It carries death and is of the
devil. Godly sorrow brings repentance and change of character
and leads to salvation (see 2Cor 7:9-10).
Is this relevant?
This same church that the Apostle Paul wrote to in Corinth,
was the same church that came round the Lord's table in an unworthy manner and
ate and drank judgement on themselves. "That is why many among you are weak and
sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep". (1 Cor 11:27- 30). This was a
dangerous place to be. There was no godly sorrow producing repentance
and a change of character. An "anything goes" church is not a safe place
to be; sickness and death is the result.
We need to know that we are in a safe place. We need
leaders with integrity. The prophet Isaiah said of Jesus: "righteousness
will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist" (Is 11:5).As
wickedness increases, we need leaders who will follow the paths of
righteousness and faithfulness, who will walk with integrity and whose
churches provide a place of safety, where we can be built up in love, find
wisdom to live by, and go out strong in our faith, to boldly proclaim God's
love for men and women.
Joseph was running to a place of safety. Are you in a safe