When was the last time you heard a sermon on integrity? Have you seen many books on integrity in your local Christian bookstore? I must admit, it's been a while since I've heard a message on this vital subject. However, I believe this message must be addressed, not only in articles such as this one, but by the pastors and leaders in our churches. As Christians, we must have a proper perspective on integrity and understand its importance in our lives.
WHAT IS INTEGRITY & WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
Integrity - Strict adherence to a code or standard of values; honesty; moral soundness - especially as it is revealed in dealings that test steadfastness in truth, purpose, responsibility, or trust.
It is important for us to walk honestly and uprightly before God, our families, and our friends, because this is what the Lord requires of us in His word.
1 Tim. 2:1-3 - I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
2 Cor. 13:7 - Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest….
WHAT ABOUT THOSE LITTLE "WHITE" LIES?
Col. 3:9 - Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Psalm 101:7 - He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.
I don't know what your standards and expectations involve, but I want to continually dwell in His presence. I don't want anything in my life hindering my relationship with the Lord. It took me a long time to get where I am today, and I don't plan on going back. I'm determined in my heart to live for God and fulfill the calling that He has placed upon my life. I'm determined in my heart to be a woman of integrity and walk in obedience to Him. I don't take the things of God lightly, but I've counted the cost, and like Paul, I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.
It's time for the church to go forward in God. It's time for us to press in and press on! It's not a time to backslide or get involved in worldly lusts and pleasures. It's not time for us to give up and throw in the towel, because breakthrough is on the way! For those of you who have been bound by a lying spirit, get ready, your deliverance is coming! For those of you who have not walked in uprightness of heart, get ready! God is going to move on your behalf and bring the needed breakthrough and deliverance! "For there shall be deliverance upon My holy mountain, saith the Lord. The day of deliverance is now here for My church, for My people. Don't delay and put off what I am now prompting you to do. For NOW is the time for deliverance. Now is the time for salvation."
Whenever you determine in your heart to press into God, the persecution will come. The slander will come. The Job's comforters will come. The Sanballats and Tobiahs will come, but greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world! If we will persevere and continue to do what He has called us to do, the breakthrough will come, and He will bring the "greater blessing" and "greater glory."
WALK IN TRUTH
John 16:13 - "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come….."
Psalm 119:30 - "I have chosen the way of truth…"
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE
John 8:32 - "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
I cannot even begin to tell you how many people are in bondage today because they have refused to walk in the truth. They have believed a lie, and therefore, are suffering the consequences affiliated with their choice.
We must ask the Lord to help us make right choices and decisions. The choices and decisions that we make today will determine our future tomorrow.
HOLDING TRUE TO OUR WORDS
Have you ever had someone tell you they would do something for you on such and such a date, and when that day came, they never showed up? Have you ever had this happen to you more than once with the same individual? If you're like me, you probably won't ask that individual for any more assistance or help.
I respect those who walk in integrity and uprightness of heart before God and their fellow men. The commitments we make and the words that we speak say it all.
If you'll show me a person who keeps his commitments and his words, I'll show you a person who is walking in integrity.
Integrity is a characteristic that must be worked into the lives of every believer. Sure, sometimes we miss it and have to get back on track by asking the Lord to forgive us. But, if we are continually neglecting to be responsible, truthful, and trustworthy individuals, we are "missing it." We are not walking in the fullness of what the Lord has for us, nor are we being good examples to those around us of a Christ-like life.
HONESTY IS STILL THE BEST POLICY
What do I do when the person at the check out counter gives me too much change back from my purchase? Do I quietly put the change in my pocket and walk away, or do I bring it to their attention?
I'm sure that most of us have been through the "too much change back" test. I can remember a few times when I tried to get away with keeping the extra change that was given back to me. Did it work? Of course not! Holy Spirit conviction fell upon me, and I felt like a fool as I walked back into the store to return the "stolen" money. Why does it take some of us so long to learn?
LACK OF INTEGRITY AFFECTS THOSE AROUND US
Integrity not only affects us, but it affects all that come in contact with us. It also affects our children. If our children hear us telling lies and conducting ourselves in a manner that does not line up with the word of God, we are living a life of hypocrisy before them and the Lord is not pleased.
Prov. 20:7 - The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.
Prov. 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
I just recently read an interesting article in the 11/7/99 issue of USA Today. The article was entitled: Voters want a leader with integrity. People are tired of being lied to. They are fed up with politicians saying one thing and doing another. Actions do speak louder than words. I believe it's time for our nation to see some honest action in the world and in the church.
God is looking for men and women who walk in integrity and uprightness of heart before Him. He's searching to and fro for those whom He can trust with His purposes and vision. The Lord is searching for the "Davids" and the "Pauls" who will not compromise with the world and its ungodly standards. His hand is outstretched to all that call upon His name in faith believing.
I believe that joy floods the Father's heart as He sees His children filled with determination to accomplish His will for their lives. Are you one who brings the Father pleasure? Are you willing to walk in integrity and uprightness of heart? Are you willing to walk in truth and be honest with those whom you come in contact with? Are you willing to be responsible for your actions and keep the commitments that you've made?
Psalm 25:21 - Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
Proverbs 11:3 - The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart today. Repent of dishonesty, cheating, lying, and lack of responsibility on your part. Repent for all those times when you did not keep your word to someone. The Lord is faithful and just to forgive you. He is a merciful and mighty God. He will cause His face to shine upon you as you draw near to Him.
I desire truth in the inward parts, saith the Lord, and I desire that My people walk in the truth of My word and keep My commandments. I desire to bless My people with peace that passes all understanding. Many are confused and deceived because they do not adhere to My commands and My words. Many have continued to go their own way and do their own thing without My approval and counsel, saith the Lord, and they shall be held accountable before Me for their actions. I desire that My people follow Me and obey Me. I desire that their hearts be "right" before Me. My desire is to bless them, not harm them. My desire is to pour out My love upon them and bless them with every good and perfect gift from above. Many have sought after the blessings instead of seeking after Me. Seek Me and ye shall live. Seek Me and ye shall find rest for your weary souls. Seek Me and ye shall find Me when you search for Me with all of your hearts. Seek Me, saith the Lord. I will be your provision. I will be your sustenance, your healer, and your friend. I will be everything that you need Me to be, because I love you, saith the Lord.
May the Lord richly bless you. :-)