Integrity | Imitate Series
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
A quality that is well admired in others is integrity. Have you ever known a person of integrity? The reason we are so drawn to someone who has integrity is because we know that they’re an honest, reliable, upright person.
Below is a short story about how the two sign off words, ‘Yours sincerely’ originated. I think you’ll find the reason quite enlightening.
‘When we write letters we commonly end them with “Yours sincerely”. Have you ever wondered why you do this? The practice has its origins in ancient Rome. Roman sculptors often concealed cracks in apparently flawless marble statues with melted beeswax. When the wax dried and crumbled, the angry purchaser sought compensation. Reputable sculptors guaranteed their work as ‘sine cera’, which means ‘without wax’. Hence ‘Yours sincerely’. Likewise, we are called to be people of integrity whose words are true.’
- Source: reported in Talkback Trash and Treasure
So we can see from this story that integrity has been a highly sought, yet rarely seen trait for many centuries. In order for consumers to be able to trust that their marble item was flawless, they had to rely on the creator’s word of sincerity – which over time would result in the truthful sculptors being known as reliable and trustworthy, while the dishonest sculptors would become known as deceitful liars.
2 Corinthians 8:21
...for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.
This shows us how important it is for the Christian to be an honourable man of his word. After all, what else do we have but our word when we commit to a thing? It’s not until the outcome that it will become apparent as to whether a person’s word can be believed and trusted or not, and a believer should be known as being a person of integrity in all areas of how they conduct their lives.
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
To have integrity is to have an upstanding nature. The believer who exudes integrity is one who has supreme respect for the Lord.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Although it may be easier to offer our self-selected sacrifices to God, such as: ensuring to attend church weekly, following traditional rituals, spending extra time singing or praying, reading the Bible daily or abstaining from extreme sinful practices, we cannot expect that God will be satisfied with our sacrificial offerings if this is all we’re doing to convince ourselves that we’ve obtained righteousness while obedience to God is missing.
Only the one who has the Holy Spirit dwelling within will seek to please the Lord in ALL their ways – not just through self-picked sacrifices – but by laying down every area of their life to Him in order to be a living testimony, loving and following Christ in complete obedience by not only hearing and knowing the information they learn from the Bible, but by living according to it! This is what it means to be the righteousness of God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
Due to having pondered which way we will go, our ways will be sure because we have considered God’s will in all our decisions, allowing Him to take the lead. The person of integrity will hate all things God hates, and love all things God loves (Romans 12:9), therefore not giving way for evil to creep in, but remaining sturdy on the solid rock of Christ Jesus (Psalm 62:6).
We see that David was confident that the Lord’s love for him was ever enduring and that God would set him in His presence forever because David was a man of integrity. He knew that God delighted in him and would not allow his enemies to triumph over him.
By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
This is a great example to show how vital it is to have integrity. In saying that, this attribute, which rolls into every other aspect of all the discipleship characteristics we cover throughout this course, can only be truly found in a genuine Christian.
A genuine Christian is not one who simply speaks a lot of sweet-sounding words, performs religious deeds, once said a prayer at the altar or put up their hand to receive Jesus.
A genuine Christian is one who knows he is a sinner, realising that his position before coming to the Lord was filthy and destined for Hell until God called him and he produced godly sorrow and repented for his sins, receiving forgiveness, sanctification and the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus. He now no longer lives for himself, but all for the glory of God. Any works he now produces are God-ordained – not in order to earn salvation, but out of sincere love for the Lord in desiring to please Him. He now has a heart for God and sincerely loves all people and is willing to serve, share and lead them to the Almighty who is the only way to life. This will require telling people what they don’t want to hear, but it’s the hard truths that will set a man free and save his spirit.
One could hold all the riches in this world, yet his eternal spirit may be damned. Likewise, one could have no earthly possessions, be regarded as a ‘nobody’ and pushed down by society due to their deficiency of cultural style and lack of good looks, yet this man could be destined for eternal life in the presence of the Lord.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
Most often (however not always), we see a distinct trend develop between the rich and the poor. The rich have most likely had to be somewhat cut-throat and cold-hearted in order to reach the position they’re in, compromising their integrity and choosing to obtain their riches by corrupt means. The poor on the other hand, have most likely been through tragic circumstances and been disregarded by those around them, yet they remain strong in their convictions, won’t stray from their integrity and are more likely to stand for what they know to be true. Which position is better?
It is far more important to walk in good conscience and be slammed for it, than to give in to the pressures of this world and forsake God’s ways. Acceptance and approval by others may be a constant struggle you face, but never let it be the deciding factor when it comes to who you live for.
1 Peter 3:16
...having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Likewise, to be known as one who doesn’t hold firmly to the truth is dangerous. Some call lies for what they are while others convince themselves that a ‘white lie’ is acceptable and justified – however be cautioned that this is not how the Lord views it. Any lie, whether small or large, is an abomination to the Lord. In fact, it is so serious that God repeatedly warns against it (Proverbs 6:17, 6:19, 12:17, 14:5, 19:5, 19:9).
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
Let us humbly come before the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help us let go of our selfish ways and to walk in the spirit, having a clear conscience and keeping the flesh in complete submission. For when we walk in the spirit, we will be walking in integrity as ambassadors for our Lord, desiring to act honourably in all things.
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.
-- By Jen Ayling
This article was written to form part of the series, 'Imitate'. Containing 45 sessions, this thorough series intends to reveal the characteristics found in a disciple of Jesus. The original article, 'Imitate', would be the best place to begin your journey in discovering the qualities of a follower of the Messiah of Israel.