By Rick Warren
A common saying today is that “what you do in your private life is nobody’s business.” Well, it actually is. What you do in your private life – what you do behind closed doors or out of view of other people – builds and reveals your true character. And God sees it just as clearly as the things you do in public.
In fact, the small things you do that are unseen are the seeds to God’s public blessing on your life. You cannot compartmentalize your life and say, “I have integrity in my public life, just not in my private life.” I bet you could make a list right now of public figures who have tried to live their lives this way only to have their private indiscretions become this week’s public scandal and their personal downfall. No matter what they say, any leader who is not faithful in small matters will not be faithful in large matters.
Jesus says, “If you have not been faithful with that which belongs to someone else, who will give you what belongs to you?” (Luke 16:12).
For centuries, everybody who learned a skill, trade or vocation learned it through an apprenticeship. If you were going to be a mechanic, you apprenticed to another mechanic and served in his (or her) business before you started your own.
This principle of apprenticeship applies to every area of your life. It applies to how you handle other people’s money, how you handle other people’s possessions, and even how you handle other people’s ministry before God gives you your own.
Before God gave me my own ministry, I served as a youth pastor under another man’s ministry. God was watching how I handled it; he was testing my integrity. I needed to prove my faithfulness in that ministry before God would allow me to lead the ministry of Saddleback Church.
If someone loans you his car, how well do you take care of it? If a family lets you stay in their house for vacation, do you treat it as well as you treat your own home? God is watching and testing your integrity. And he will reward you accordingly.
Think and Pray
Consider the attitudes and behaviors that you would be embarrassed for others to know about. Do you have an action plan for bringing those areas in alignment with the character Christ wants to form in you?
Dear Lord, help me to remember that you are always with me, knowing my heart, my motives and my actions. Help me live both my public and private life to honor you. Amen