Whether we are employed or not, the challenges facing us in today’s world require us to make choices that produce prosperity for more than ourselves.
We face so many crises today, but the one issue rarely identified as a real crisis is at the root of practically all the problems. It’s a crisis in integrity.
So many problems would be greatly diminished or perhaps even disappear if people had acted with integrity and honor. Before we take a look at how we individually can make the best choices for the challenges of the future, we need to recognize the serious reality of what all of us are facing.
Just think of some of the society-wide problems that are happening today. We choose how we deal with them. Hiding our faces doesn’t make the problems go away.
Physical problems: environmental toxicity issues; chronic degenerative health conditions; shortages; dangers and side effects from natural disasters.
Social problems: political corruption; public policy decisions; civil unrest; conflicts of world views.
Financial problems: Debt; Inflation; unemployment.
Personal problems: fear of the future; peace of mind; relational problems.
So, what do we do to maintain a sense of stability in such a swirling confusion of negative woes?
Trusting God must be the foundation of our plans and actions.
Read Psalm 37:1-11 “Fret not yourselves because of evil doers… trust in the Lord and do good. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
Integrity must be what we determine to maintain no matter what.
What are the Marks of Integrity?
An article by Charles R. Swindoll focused on a vital concept found in 1 Cor. 11:28, 31.
“But let a man examine himself…”
“..If we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.”
Integrity is a very personal matter of our individual willingness to be accountable to the truths and values to which we have committed ourselves.
What are the marks of integrity that God wants in our lives. Do you have these marks of integrity?
- An excellent attitude
- Faithfulness and diligence at work
- Personal purity of the highest caliber
- Consistency in your walk with God
A reminder: Only you can do the surgery on your soul. Only you! No one else can know the truth. You can cover up, twist the facts in your mind, rationalize, and ignore . . . and no one will know the difference but you. But if you really value integrity, you will come to terms with the whole truth, regardless of the consequences. Daniel refused to compromise and consequently was thrown into the lions’ den. Look what God did. He honored Daniel’s faithfulness. He’ll do the same for you.
Integrity is a matter of consistency in living out your values
Conformity leads to compromise. Compromise leads to mediocrity. Mediocrity leads to sin and a wasted life. Finally, a wasted life leads to a lost legacy. Dennis Rainey
No position in life can be secure, and no achievement can be permanent unless built upon truth and justice. Napoleon Hill
You see, we are successful when we are steadily becoming the unique person God intends us to become and when we are doing what he asks us to do. Pamela Heim
Discipline is the price you pay for freedom…Discipline restores your freedom of choice.
Norman Vincent Peale
Now if it is true that God is both Truth and Love it will be readily seen that the greatest sins will be unreality, hypocrisy, deceit, lying, or whatever we choose to call sins against truth, and self-love which makes fellowship with other people and their proper treatment impossible. J.B. Phillips
It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed, than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail. Peter Marshall
Christians must seek to behave among men in a way that brings praise to their Father in heaven. J.I. Packer
HOW TO CULTIVATE INTEGRITY
Cultivating integrity is not easy. It is developed on a daily basis, moment by moment, decision by decision, test by test.
Psalms 26:11 – David saw it as a walk: “But as for me, I will walk in my integrity…” It is something we do, a step at a time.
We cultivate our integrity as we respond to the circumstances we face every day. It doesn’t matter if the circumstances are big or little. They are equally effective in testing our core honesty. Some pass these tests better than others. Abraham failed such a test, yielding to the fear of man rather than the promises of God. He didn’t lie outright, but he told only part of the truth, acting as if he were Sarah’s brother. It nearly cost him his inheritance. When the pagan king learned that something was wrong because he took Sarah, he told the Lord, “In the integrity of my heart I have done this. I did not know she was this man’s wife, or I would never have taken her.” The Lord replied, “Yes, I know, and it was because of your integrity that I stopped you from sinning against me.” (Genesis 20:1-7)
David did not wait for circumstances to test him. He had the courage to invite God to test him. He had what some call aggressive integrity, insisting that God sift his heart and examine him: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; (24) and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23, 24)
Pray like David: Psalm 26:2: “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.”
HAVING OUR INTEGRITY TESTED
The Biblical account of Job is really a story about a good man who had his integrity tested. It’s evident by the question God asked Satan at the start of the Book:
“Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3)
People have tried to fit other interpretations for the “why” behind this story, but this is the only reason God gave. What is otherwise a difficult book to read becomes more relevant to our lives when read in light of how God will allow our integrity to be tested. Job’s wife certainly saw this as the issue, when she said, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Even his friends raised the question of integrity: “Is not your fear of God your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope?”
Sometimes hanging on to our integrity is our only hope for recovery. Job held fast to his, saying,
“Far be it from me that I should say you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.”
In the end, all he could say was:
“Let me be weighed on honest scales, that God may know my integrity.”
When we come to the end of our difficult circumstances, sort through all the accusations thrown at us, examine the differences in beliefs and practices which threaten to divide us, or look at all the personality conflicts we face, they can be seen as the tests which assess the depth and development of our integrity.
When we recognize that those trials bring our integrity to bear, will we stand fast.
Integrity means ‘singleness.’ Will we maintain singleness of mind and purpose in our work and in our personal lives? God is challenging us to have integrity to shine brightly to make a true difference in the world around us. He is looking for the men and women of integrity. Will we stand in the face of challenges to do His will, no matter what? Let’s dedicate our lives to reclaim the legacy of integrity. May God give specific direction in how He will fulfill his purpose in your life.