Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Walking with Integrity

     One of the things I cherish most in my memories of my father is his abiding integrity.  He was a man who could be trusted with a handshake to seal a deal.  He felt it was the duty of a man to keep his word, and he never disappointed me.  Integrity is one of the hallmarks of the Christian character.
     As we face another election cycle, I always find it interesting to not only follow the candidates but also the fact checker sites to see if what they said was correct or a major departure from the truth.  We do not need people to tickle our ears with sweet sounding promises, but instead, we need men and women of integrity to lead out of a desire to serve others.  Of course, I have no illusions to the fact that we all have a sin nature.  Perfection is not yet attained for Christians on this side of heaven.  However, I believe the Lord wants our words and our walk to match, and He indicates this in His Word.
     When Solomon wrote Proverbs, he displayed God's great wisdom.  Look, with me, at four
verses which speak of integrity.  Proverbs 10:9 says:  "Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out."  If we are an honest person, we don't have to cover our tracks, make up stories and then try to remember what we said so we won't be found out.  There is wisdom and security in that path.  Yet,  the other part of this picture shows us a person whose ways are crooked, and God says he will be found out.  Our sins will ALWAYS come to light.  Maybe it will not be immediately, but nothing is hidden before God.  Eventually, people learn the truth as well.
     A second reference to integrity comes from Proverbs 11:3 which reads:  "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them."  Again, we see a great contrast between to philosophies of living.  The person who is honest receives guidance from God, but the individual who is treacherous in their dealings finds destruction.  Sin may look glamorous for a season, but in the end, it destroys the person who plays with it.
     In Proverbs 19:1, Solomon writes:  "Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool."  This is quite a statement from a King who reigned in wealth and riches.  He says clearly in this verse that integrity is far better than wealth.  The person who is crooked in speech is a fool.  He may gain the whole world, but as Scripture tells us, he might lose his soul in the process (Mark 8:36).
     A final verse in Proverbs comes from chapter 20:7 which says:  "The righteous who walks in his integrity - blessed are his children after him!"  Do you want your children to be blessed?  Then, walk in integrity.  What a great promise from God!  Certainly, my father influenced my life as I watched him walk in his integrity.  This character quality was something I also looked for in a husband when the time came for that momentous decision.  I am blessed to say that I married a man who values honesty as did my father, and both of us strive to follow the greatest example which is the Lord.
     We know from Scripture that Jesus came to bring the truth and open the eyes of those blinded by sin.  His honesty nailed Him to the cross for those in sin cannot stand the light of truth; yet He willingly gave His life that we might be free from sin and death.  As He clearly told us, "I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).  It is our Savior who beckons us to live holy lives and walk in integrity before the Father.  May we take seriously this calling that as others see honesty in us they may glorify our Father in heaven and be drawn to Him.  Selah!

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