Living With Integrity. In Hebrews 13:18 TPT, Paul asks for prayer for a clear conscience and a desire to live honorably in every way. Why would Paul be asking for prayer for these two things?
“And keep praying for us that we continue to live with a clear conscience, for we desire to live honorably in all that we do.” Hebrews 13:18 TPT
When I read this in The Passion Translation, it was a new idea for me. I have never prayed for someone to have a continuing desire to live honorably and, in the process, maintain a clear conscience. Honestly, I’ve never done much praying about my own conscience or anyone else’s until I started this series! Why would Paul be asking for this type of prayer? Perhaps because he knew his own weaknesses.
A Desire to Live
We already know what it means to have a clear conscience, but what does it mean to have a “desire to live honorably in every way?” First is the desire. Paul isn’t saying – I hope I can live honorably. He is asking for a continuing desire. Desire is a much stronger word than want. Dictionary.com defines desire this way:
Verb – to wish or long for; crave; want. To express a wish to obtain; ask for; request.
Noun – a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment: a desire for fame. An expressed wish; request Something desired. Sexual appetite our a sexual urge.
This is a desire, something that pushes you forward because you know you can obtain it. Other dictionaries say it is to want something strongly. Paul is asking for this deep, driving force to propel him into an honorable way of life in everything he does.
What does it mean to be honorable? Synonyms for honorable include: morally correct, honest, moral, ethical, principled, righteous, right-minded, full of integrity. Paul wants these things to be part of his life. He wants to desire them, not just hope they happen. He wants to live a moral life and be a person of integrity. When I picture a person of integrity, I think of someone who is honest, wise, uncompromising, and humble. They don’t make a big deal of themselves but others admire and respect them.
Paul is such an interesting character. He seems so perfect at times. However, we have to remember that this is the same guy who got in an argument with Barnabas and they never made up! He wasn’t perfect. Some feel that he bragged about himself in many of his letters. Perhaps he had a little struggle with ego! He wasn’t perfect, but after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was certainly a changed person.
Paul’s Dramatic Conversion
“During those days, Saul, full of angry threats and rage, wanted to murder the disciples of the Lord Jesus. So he went to ask the high priest and requested a letter of authorization he could take to the Jewish leaders in Damascus, requesting their cooperation in finding and arresting any who were followers of the Way. Saul wanted to capture all of the believers he found, both men and women, and drag them as prisoners back to Jerusalem. So he obtained the authorization and left for Damascus.
Just outside the city, a brilliant light flashing from heaven suddenly exploded all around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a booming voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” The men accompanying Saul were stunned and speechless, for they heard a heavenly voice but could see no one.
I Am Jesus
Saul replied, “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, the Victorious, the one you are persecuting. Now, get up and go into the city, where you will be told what you are to do.”
Saul stood to his feet, and even though his eyes were open he could see nothing—he was blind. So the men had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. For three days he didn’t eat or drink and couldn’t see a thing for three days.” Acts 9:1-9 TPT
We Are All Made New
That is a dramatic and traumatic conversion! Jesus made his point and Saul/Paul never questioned who it was or what He said. From that point forward, Paul was a new man. While your conversion story may not be quite that dramatic, you were still a new person from that point forward. And, like Paul, you are flawed and fallible, but you can ask for the same things Paul did because you are also a new person.
We have looked at the conscience from many, many angles and seen what an important role it plays in our lives. We’ve seen it’s connections to every aspect of our being. Now, we see that a prayer to have a desire to live honorably in every way is also connected to our conscience.
If we all had a continuous, burning desire to live in integrity, honor, sincerity, and honesty, our conscience should be in great shape! It should be really clear. Even if we don’t feel this way every day, that desire can still dwell in our hearts and helping us maintain that consience. What could quench that desire?
All Kinds of Desires
A desire for worldly things could definitely put out our fire for an honorable Christian life. A desire to please man instead of God could do the same thing. There is nothing wrong with desires – we have many of them. The key is that the one for Christ has to be the strongest at all times. We know when it isn’t.A strong desire to live honorably is - a zealous, forceful, moral or intellectual power which pushes you through to live in a morally correct, honest, ethical, and Christ-like way in everything. Click To Tweet
Sexual desires can obliterate our desire to live an honorable life by plunging us into immorality and pornography. You might think it’s a secret, but God knows and sees. You might say you aren’t hurting anyone. That’s a lie. First, you are hurting the Holy Spirit and the Godhead. Second, you are hurting the people you love – perhaps your husband or wife – by lusting after someone else. Third, you are destroying yourself. You are poisoning your own mind, heart, spirit, soul, conscience, and body. That poison will seep out into every area of your life as desire turns into obsession.
Desires Can Become Obsessions
Desires can go in hundreds of directions. Desire can pollute our thinking if it becomes uncontrollable. You may have something you really desire. Are you able to postpone getting it until you can afford it? Are you willing to never have it and remain content in your life? If a desire causes you to be angry, striving, pushing, constantly thinking about, and obsessive, then that desire has crossed over into sin. If a possession, person or activity becomes an obsession and you are forced to lie or cheat to get it, you need to repent.
Desires can also be good. They can move us forward into new things, meeting new people, taking a new job and many other wonderful things which bring peace, hope and light into your life. The negative desires bring darkness. The godly ones bring light.
Stay in the Light
It is interesting that Paul fell to the ground because of a brilliant light from heaven that exploded around him. God always shows up in the form of light. He doesn’t hide in the bushes like Adam and Eve did. He doesn’t have to lie. Instead, everything about God is open and exposed. Once Jesus lives inside us, everything about us is open and exposed to God. When we sin, He doesn’t shame, expose or mock us. He tenderly covers us and woos us back into His arms as we repent. We will reap the consequences of our sin, but we will never be shamed by God.
Our part in the process is to repent. God’s part is already done. He is already there waiting for us to run through the cleansing flood back into His arms. If you have desires which control you and suffocate your desire for Jesus, God will heal and forgive through true and honest repentance.
How does our desire to live honorably in all that we do change us?
- It will reset our priorities.
- All of our desires will be realigned under this one.
- Our conscience will be pure and protected.
- The Holy Spirit will be even more effective in our lives.
- Our focus will be where it should be – on Jesus.
One verse holds such a powerful lesson. The Word has more to say about desire:
- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NIV
- “We must live honorably, surrounded by the light of this new day, not in the darkness of drunkenness and debauchery, not in promiscuity and sensuality,[d] not being argumentative or jealous of others. Instead fully immerse yourselves into the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, and don’t waste even a moment’s thought on your former identity to awaken its selfish desires.” Romans 13:13-14 TPT
Desire Without Knowledge
- “Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way! A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.” Proverbs 19:2-3 NIV
- “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3 NIV
Where Are Your Affections Set?
- “Don’t set the affections of your heart on this world or in loving the things of the world. The love of the Father and the love of the world are incompatible. For all that the world can offer us—the gratification of our flesh, the allurement of the things of the world, and the obsession with status and importance—none of these things come from the Father but from the world. This world and its desires are in the process of passing away, but those who love to do the will of God live forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 TPT
- “When we act in justice and righteousness—following Your laws—we wait for You. We are eager to hear Your holy name and remember Your ways. At night I long for You with all that is in Me. When morning comes, I seek You with all my heart. For when Your justice is done on earth, then everyone in the world will learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:8-9 The Voice
What Do We Crave?
- “But those who crave the wealth of this world slip into spiritual snares. They become trapped by the troubles that come through their foolish and harmful desires, driven by greed and drowning in their own sinful pleasures. And they take others down with them into their corruption and eventual destruction. Loving money is the first step toward all kinds of trouble. Some people run after it so much that they have given up their faith. Craving more money pushes them away from the faith into error, compounding misery in their lives!” 1 Timothy 6:9-10 TPT
- “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” Psalm 73:25 NIV
Like David and Paul, let our greatest desire should be Jesus and living with integrity to honor Him.
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**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.
Day 1 – 24 Day Challenge – Renewing Your Mind and Conscience
Day 2 – Living By the Golden Rule
Day 3 – Being Falsely Accused
Day 4 – A Personal Testimony of Salvation
Day 5 – Knowing Right From Wrong
Day 6 – What is the Power of the Holy Spirit?
Day 7 – Submitting to Authority
Day 8 – What is a Weak Conscience?
Day 9 – Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel
Day 10 – Speaking The Truth at All Times
Day 11 – Purity of Heart and Mind
Day 12 – 12 Steps to Overcoming Guilt and Shame