Integrity (from "integer" = the whole of anything, a whole number not a fraction - think "whole character" not a fraction of one!) speaks of the unimpaired state of one's mind and heart, of moral soundness and purity, of incorruptness, of uprightness, of honesty. Just as we would talk about a whole number, so also we can talk about a whole person who is undivided. A person of integrity is living rightly, not divided, nor being a different person in different circumstances. A person of integrity is the same person in private that he or she is in public. Integrity has the same root word as does the word integrated. A leader of integrity has taken the principles that govern his life, internalized them, and integrated them into every area of his life. Integrity is not like a weathervane that changes direction with every shift of the social winds, as Daniel will soon dramatically demonstrate.
INTEGRITY:"WYSIWYG" stands for "What You See Is What You Get." Congruency between what you verbalize and what you practice. Your "life" matches your "lips"! (Does mine?) cp Jesus' advice - Mt 23:2,3) The essence of integrity is to be on the inside what we appear to be on the outside. Secret indulgences undermine integrity. Public and private behavior are the same. Integrity is what you do when you’re unaware that you’re children are looking and listening. Integrity is who we really are on the inside. A popular book was entitled "Who Are You When Nobody’s Looking?" (This is obviously a secular book because we as believers know that God is ALWAYS looking - Pr 15:3 (See also - Ge 16:13 Dt 11:12 21:9 2Chr 6:20 Ps 33:18 Ps 34:15, Ps 113:6, Ps 139:2,3, Job 34:21, 31:4, Pr 5:21 Jer 16:17, 23:24, 32:19 Zech 4:10 Heb 4:13 1Pe 3:12 Ge 6:8. Related Resources: Omniscience of God; Pr 15:3 The Omnipresence of God - Charles Simeon; William Arnot's comments on Proverbs 15:3, 11 The All-Seeing; Proverbs 15:3 In Depth Commentary on site
Reputation is what men think you are, while character is what God knows you are. Daniel was both. He was not a hypocritical "OT Pharisee". Daniel knew the truth that what a man is in the sight of God (Pr 15:3), is what a man truly is!
1828 Webster's - Integrity comprehends the whole moral character, but has a special reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfers of property, and agencies for others. (How's your "integrity quotient"?) Integrity is an unimpaired condition or soundness, adherence to a code of moral values, and the quality or state of being complete and undivided. See also honesty. Integrity means soundness, completeness, honesty. A simple definition of integrity is doing what you say you will do. Does this describe me? The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out. (see also Judgment Seat of Christ)
INTEGRITY IS LIKE A SHIELD - A CHRISTIAN'S DEFENSE READ PSALM 26:1-12
Have you ever been blamed for something you didn't do? Leaders often are blamed falsely. The Israelites blamed Moses for lack of water, bitter water, enemies' attacks and lack of food. In this psalm, David is falsely accused, so he takes four steps to deal with his slanderers.
Step 1: An honest examination (Psalm 26:1-3). Human nature does not want to admit it's wrong, but we need to examine ourselves. David walked in integrity. Integrity means "wholeness of character." He also walked in faith, without wavering. We find David open before God, walking in the light and letting God examine him. We would save ourselves a lot of trouble if we would let Him examine us. He wants to teach us what we are really like. If we are right before God, it makes no difference what people say.
Step 2: A holy separation (Psalm 26:4,5). People accused David of being a hypocrite, even though he did not worship false gods. We must obey the biblical doctrine of holy separation (2Cor. 6:14-18).
Step 3: A happy celebration (Psalm 26:6-8). David washed his hands in innocence. He was cleansed by water and blood. He was concerned about praising, loving and glorifying God. Just as Jesus sang before His crucifixion, David sang songs of praise around the altar, the place of sacrifice. Do we sing songs of praise when we have to make sacrifices?
Step 4: A humble determination? (Psalm 26:9-12). David said, "As for me, I will walk in my integrity." When a person has integrity, he has a great defense, a great shield. Character is a marvelous shield against the accusations of men. A good conscience gives us courage in times of difficulty.
The Christian's defense is the grace of God, His Word and His truth. Because of this, we're able to walk. David's foot stood in an even place. He was not standing alone--he was in the congregation. Let's take the same steps David took the next time someone slanders us.
People can hurt you with false accusations, but you need not let slanderers defeat you. If you walk with integrity, your character will shield you. Keep yourself pure and avoid compromising situations. When someone slanders you, God's grace, His Word and His truth will protect you. (Warren Wiersbe - Prayer, Praises, Promises)
Take a moment to listen to this song, one of my favorites from Craig Smith, entitled Single Heart...
He had only one aim
In placing us here
This is His domain
And His message is clear.
Single heart, Single mind.
My eyes forward all the time.
Single heart, purified.
Single heart, Single mind.
May You find in us,
May you find a single heart!
Here is another song Pure Heart -- take a moment to ponder your life in light the words sung by Craig Smith and make it your prayer to the Father today:
Over and over I hear it again
That the Father desires pure heart
Not to seek earthly treasure or the favor of man
But to be found with pureness of heart
Pure heart is what the Father desires
Holy heart purified by God's holy fire
Broken heart, proven to be faithful and true
Fashion in me a heart that's thirsting for You
Search ever chamber, expose them to me
Create motives of honor and simplicity
May you find faithfulness, integrity
A heart which is worthy for Your eyes to see
My only ambition is to stand before You
And find I was pleasing in Your sight
An obedient child of God, faithful and true
Found with pureness of heart
It’s a fact of life that you never know when your integrity will be tested. But is is also true that integrity shines brightest against the backdrop of adversity. People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do.
Satan does not need to accomplish much to destroy integrity. Because integrity has to do with wholeness, even a small chink destroys it. Integrity is a true 24/7 concept. Consistently right choices create (or reveal) integrity. One evil choice creates a fault line of potential catastrophe.
A person of integrity is unimpeachable. He or she stands by principles no matter what the consequences. In fact integrity can cost you a relationship, reputation, promotion, job, even your life.
There are no degrees of honesty.
A good name keeps its brightness even in dark days.
A commentary of the times is that the word honesty is now preceded by old-fashioned.
Do you speak the truth (Biblical truth in love) no matter what people want to hear? That's integrity.
Do you have singleness of heart, of mind, of vision, of purpose? That's integrity. Paul said it this way "one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Php 3:13,14) Integrity manifest a single heart, a single mind, a single eye, a single focus - ONE THING - Integrity presses on toward the goal!
People of biblical integrity tend also to be people with unashamed boldness.
One thing you can give and still keep is your word.
Integrity enjoys God's favor (cp Da 1:9) for He delights in granting special grace and favor to those whose hearts are set on pleasing Him
1Chr 12:33 describes men "with an undivided heart" where undivided heart in Hebrew literally = they were without a heart and a heart! That's Biblical integrity!
Integrity practices what it preaches! If your enemies were out to get you, and did an audit of your lifestyle, could they find room to criticize you? Daniel’s life of utmost integrity was such that his enemies could find nothing with which to accuse and besmirch him! Why did Daniel's enemies know he would defy the King’s law in Daniel 6:10ff? Because Daniel was a man of integrity—he was consistent -- He did not pray to show his integrity, he prayed because of his integrity.
The Bible teaches that a believer's integrity is never for sale and never to be sacrificed.
Do not look upon the vessel, but upon what it holds.
Adrian Rogers - It has well been said that a child rejoices in what he has. A youth rejoices in what he does. But an adult rejoices in what he is. Now whether that's always true or not, I want to say that the more mature you are as a Christian, the more you will rejoice, not in what you have or what you do, but in what you are through the Lord Jesus Christ. And that's what these beatitudes talk about. (from his message entitled "Integrity: Don't Leave Home Without It." !)
The Puritan writer Thomas Watson might as well have said the following of Daniel - The plainer the diamond the more it sparkles. The plainer the heart is the more it sparkles in God's eyes. (Does you heart "sparkle" in His eyes? cp 2 Chronicles 16:9)
John Blanchard - It is better to go straight than to move in the best of circles.
Henry Ward Beecher - He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.
Phillips Brooks - A person who lives right and is right has more power in his silence than another has by words. Character is like bells which ring out sweet notes, and which, when touched—accidentally even—resound with sweet music.
G C Newton - Integrity describes a person whose thoughts and private behavior are consistent with their outward profession. The Christian leader with integrity is a person whose heart is set on loving and obeying God, no matter what the cost. (Newton, G. C. Growing toward spiritual maturity. Biblical essentials series. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.)
D A Adams - To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.
John Calvin - Integrity of heart is indispensable.
Dwight D. Eisenhower - The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
William Feather - Integrity is a good word and those who guide their lives by it will die happy, even though poor.
Samuel Johnson - Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
Oswald Chambers - It is never “do, do” with the Lord, but “be, be,” and he will “do” through you.
Oswald Chambers - Jesus Christ is not teaching ordinary integrity, but supernormal integrity, a likeness to our Father in heaven.
Oswald Chambers - My worth to God in public is what I am in private.
Billy Graham - Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. What our young people want to see in their elders is integrity, honesty, truthfulness, and faith. What they hate most of all is hypocrisy and phoniness. That is why it is important for us to go to church, to read the Bible, and to say grace at the table. Let them see us doing what we would like to see them do.
Shakespeare - This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Shakespeare - What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted.
Abraham Lincoln - I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
Abraham Lincoln - I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.
Charles Sommons - Integrity is the first step to true greatness.
C H Spurgeon - If we cannot be believed on our word, we are surely not to be trusted on our oath.
C H Spurgeon - If faith does not make a man honest, it is not an honest faith.
A W Tozer - A guileless mind is a great treasure; it is worth any price.
A W Tozer - A free Christian should act from within with a total disregard for the opinions of others. If a course is right, he should take it because it is right, not because he is afraid not to take it. And if it is wrong, he should avoid it though he lose every earthly treasure and even his very life as a consequence.
Thomas Watson - The plainer the diamond the more it sparkles; the plainer the heart is the more it sparkles in God’s eyes.
Shakespeare, Hamlet - Ay, sir; to be honest, as the world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Horace Greeley - Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow, only one thing endures—character.
John MacArthur - "A person with integrity is one whose thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions are all in perfect harmony. For the Christian, integrity involves having every area of life in submission to the truth of God’s Word, with nothing inconsistent or out of sync. A person with integrity is not like Talkative in Pilgrim’s Progress, who was described by those who knew him as a saint abroad but a devil at home."
Calvin Miller - Dear Christ, make one that which we are and that which we appear to be. Be Lord of naked faces.
Will Rogers - Lead your life so you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.
R C Sproul - "What enables a person to persevere is integrity. Integrity means that we are able to live without compromising what God has made us to be. Integrity enables us to stay on course, instead of panicking and bailing out. Integrity is strengthened through repeated tests. The trials God sends purge us of sin and enable us to mature in integrity."
Scott Morton- Integrity in leadership is inseparable from humility in leadership… Ultimately, our integrity in personal ministry comes from daily honesty with Christ. Don’t depend on someone else to keep you ethical.
Roy Hession - The only basis for real fellowship with God and man is to live out in the open with both.
Chuck Colson used hyperbole (albeit rightly) when said "The three most important ingredients in Christian work are integrity, integrity, integrity."..."Nothing more completely baffles one who is full of trick and duplicity, than straightforward and simple integrity in another."
Selwyn Hughes - Both we and the universe are made for integrity, and both the universe and we are alien to untruth and dishonesty. The whole thrust of the universe which God designed and created is simple, uncomplicated, and built on truth. There are great mysteries, of course, but no lies. Scientific laws are upheld by truth. Gravity, for example, will not lie; it is as true in one country as it is in another, as reliable in Jerusalem as it is in Japan.
Ted Engstromm- People of integrity can be trusted to be faithful. If they promise something, they will do it. Their actions are built on high moral principles. Their words are not spoken for gossip, spreading rumors, tearing others down, or for distorting the truth. People of integrity discover what pleases God—then they do it. Christians with integrity are committed both to hearing God’s Word and to doing what it says.
John MacArthur - In our society, those whose lives are marked by moral soundness, uprightness, honesty, and sincerity are usually thought of as people of integrity. However, society’s standards often fall far short of God’s. Spiritual integrity calls for the highest possible standard of behavior and requires supernatural resources available only to those who trust in Him.
Seek to have a life that bears scrutiny.
The Integrity of George Washington - Verna M Hall describes the incorruptible character of George Washington - "The integrity of (George) Washington was incorruptible. His principles were free from the contamination of selfish and unworthy passions. His real and avowed motives were the same (Ed: Read that description again! Does that describe me?). His ends were always upright, and his means pure. He was a statesman without guile, and his professions, both to his fellow-citizens and to foreign nations, were always sincere. No circumstances ever induced him to use duplicity. He was an example of the distinction which exists between wisdom and cunning; and his manly, open conduct, was an illustration of the soundness of the maxim, "that honesty is the best policy."" (George Washington : The Character and Influence of One Man: Foundation for American Christian Education) For the Christian, honesty is not the best policy it is the only one. Washington once said "I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."
The Integrity of Lincoln
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 1 Peter 3:16
When Abraham Lincoln was 24 years old, he served as the postmaster of New Salem, Illinois, earning about $60 a year. Even then, Lincoln exhibited the character that made him one of history's greatest leaders and earned him the title: "Honest Abe." The post office in New Salem closed in 1836, but several years would pass before an agent from the nation's capital arrived to settle the accounts with Lincoln, who was struggling in his new profession as a lawyer. The agent handed Lincoln a bill totaling $17. Lincoln grabbed the bill, headed across the room and opened an old box. He pulled out a tiny, yellow sack tied at the top with a string. Abe untied it, and spread out the sack, revealing $17. For all these years, he'd been holding it untouched. "I never use any man's money but my own," he said. Integrity is a vital virtue, especially in the life of believers. Often, brothers and sisters in the Lord show a poor testimony, because they fail to keep their commitments. They cut corners at work, fail to pay their bills on time, or even cheat the Lord on their tithe. When the world examines the Gospel, they will inspect our lives for character. They will see if we practice what we preach. Our children will watch us closely to see if the faith we speak about is a reality. Take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself this question: Are you a person of integrity? (James Scudder - Living Water)
Few persons are made of such strong fiber that they will make a costly outlay when surface work will pass as well in the market. - E.M. Bounds
Abraham Lincoln aka "Honest Abe" - Mary Todd Lincoln once wrote to a friend that "Mr. Lincoln . . . is almost monomaniac on the subject of honesty." The future president was first called "Honest Abe" when he was working as a young store clerk in New Salem, Ill. According to one story, whenever he realized he had shortchanged a customer by a few pennies, he would close the shop and deliver the correct change-regardless of how far he had to walk. People recognized his integrity and were soon asking him to act as judge or mediator in various contests, fights, and arguments. According to Robert Rutledge of New Salem, "Lincoln's judgment was final in all that region of country. People relied implicitly upon his honesty, integrity, and impartiality." (Click here to read more fascinating examples of "Honest Abe's" Integrity. - recommended reading for all Americans!)
Taking Inventory - Integrity is a key issue to consider while making our inventory. We need to ask ourselves where we are still in hiding. If we are making renewed vows, saying God ordained a specific course, perhaps we would do well to ask ourselves why we need all the extra endorsements. Integrity will be the natural result of making an honest inventory of ourselves. (The Life Recovery Devotional)
John MacArthur - Integrity (from the Latin word integer, “entire”) may be defined as the condition or quality of being undivided. It describes those who adhere to their ethical or moral standards without hypocrisy or duplicity. People with integrity lead lives that are one with their stated convictions; they what they preach.” They are honest, sincere, and incorruptible. In biblical terms, those with integrity are “above reproach”—a quality that is to characterize all believers (Php 2:15-note; 1 Ti 5:7), but especially elders (1 Ti 3:2; Titus 1:6, 7-note).The Bible stresses the value of integrity by condemning hypocrisy. Jesus repeatedly denounced the religious leaders of His day as hypocrites (Mt. 6:2-note, Mt 6:5-note, Mt 6:16-note; Mt 15:7; 22:18; Lk 12:1, 56; 13:15). Matthew 23 records His blistering malediction on the scribes and Pharisees for their lack of integrity, because “they say things and do not do them” (Mt 23:3). After a series of curses, each introduced by the phrase “woe to you” (Mt 23:13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29), and after repeatedly denouncing them as hypocrites, Jesus concluded with a stern rebuke: “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Mt 23:33). (MacArthur, J: 2Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press) (See his online sermon A Ministry of Integrity which discusses Biblical examples like Job and David; The Power of Integrity Building a Life Without Compromise)
Integrity in the Bible - Study the 27 uses of the English word integrity in the NAS - Ge 20:5, 6; Jdg 9:16, 19; 1Kgs 9:4; 1Chr 29:17; Job 2:3, 9; 4:6; 8:20; 27:5; 31:6; Ps 7:8-note; Ps 15:2-note; Ps 25:21-note; Ps 26:1-note, Ps 26:11-note; Ps 41:12-note; Ps 78:72-note; Ps 101:2-note; Pr 2:7; 10:9; 11:3; 19:1; 20:7; 28:6; Amos 5:10
What Will Be Your Legacy? - Fathers and mothers (but especially us as fathers for we are accountable to God to be the godly leaders of our families) read (and heed) Solomon's advice (something that he seems to himself have failed to heed! Witness his son - 1Ki 11:43, 12:7,8, 13)…
A righteous man who walks in his integrity. How blessed are his sons after him. (Proverbs 20:7)
Charles Bridges comments - The faithful man is here fully drawn—rich in the blessing of his God. Take the history of the father of the faithful—Abraham was the just man—accepted with God, and “walking before him” in his integrity. And did not the covenant of his God engage an everlasting blessing for his children after him? And thus does every child of Abraham, walking in the same integrity, secure “an inheritance for his children’s children.” It is ‘not however for the merits of the parents, that they deserve it; but such is the mercy of God to the root and the branches, that, because the fathers are loved, their children also are embraced.’4 But we must show our integrity, as did our father Abraham, in the practical habit of faith; not only “taking hold of the covenant” on our children’s behalf, but bringing them under the yoke of the covenant. Christian parents!—let integrity as before God, be the standard of our family responsibility. Walk not according to the maxims of the world yourselves, nor allow them in your children. Make God’s word—his whole word—our universal rule; his ways—however despised—our daily portion. “Seek first,” for our children as for ourselves, “the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Thus walking in our integrity—look for the honored blessing of being the parents of a godly race. Our children are blessed after us.
WHAT TO LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN - C H Spurgeon (From Faith's Checkbook on Proverbs 20:7)
ANXIETY about our family is natural, but we shall be wise if we turn it into care about our own character. If we walk before the Lord in integrity, we shall do more to bless our descendants than if we bequeathed them large estates. A father’s holy life is a rich legacy for his sons. The upright man leaves his heirs his example, and this in itself will be a mine of true wealth. How many me may trace their success in life to the example of their parents!
He leaves them also his repute. Men think all the better of us as the sons of a man who could be trusted, the successors of a tradesman of excellent repute. Oh, that all young men were anxious to keep up the family name!
Above all, he leaves his children his prayers and the blessing of a prayer-hearing God, and these make our offspring to be favored among the sons of men. God will save them even after we are dead. Oh, that they might be saved at once!
Our integrity may be God’s means of saving our sons and daughters. If they see the truth of our religion proved by our lives, it may be that they will believe in Jesus for themselves. Lord, fulfill this word to my household!
THE POWER TO LIVE WITH INTEGRITY - At its very core integrity is living like Jesus lived and our fallen flesh is intractably opposed to living like Jesus. The only way to do this is to daily yield to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to fill (control) us and empower us so that we are then able to walk by the Spirit and conduct ourselves with integrity. Read the following Scriptures and observe where the power to live with integrity come from. Eph 5:18, Gal 5:16-17, Gal 2:20-note, Php 2:12-note, Php 2:13-note, Php 4:13-note (But check the context - Php 4:11, 12-note), Col. 3:16-note,, Col 3:17-note, 1 Th 5:23,24-note. 2 Ti 1:7-note,, 2 Ti 2:1-note.
A clear conscience is a prime benefit of integrity, and it enables one to stand firm when the storms of life come upon us. If your heart does not condemn you, but affirms you, you can be a tower of strength for "The man of integrity walks securely" (Pr 10:9) where the Hebrew for "securely" means safety, security, place of refuge; feeling of trust, assurance, without concern, confidence. A person of integrity will have a good reputation and not have to fear that he or she will be exposed or found out. Integrity provides a safe path through life.
Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal… Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. Spurgeon - Morning and Evening.
Integrity is Attractive - There is an evangelistic magnetism in integrity (Think of the effect of Daniel on the lives of King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius) Every day we rub shoulders with people who are watching. Here in Daniel 6 we see that some are watching who the become jealous, but others are attracted to what they observe. When Christ is our life and He is living through us (think of integer = one - Christ is in us, we are in Covenant with Him, we are "one" with Him, and when we walk in integrity, that "oneness" with Christ becomes obvious to others!), we become an aroma of life to some but an aroma of death to others (see 2Cor 2:14, 15, 16). The integrity of a believer's life will demonstrate to the lost world whether Christianity is true or false. They make value judgments about us by our attitudes and actions. Have we made the right choices? Remember we may be the "only Bible" those around us will ever read! What is the "Gospel" according to __________ (your name here)? In other words, people around us often judge the truthfulness of Christianity by its affect in our lives. If they see Christians as duplicitous, as hypocrites, etc, they may not go any further in their investigation of the gospel.
Jesus is the supreme model of integrity. His enemies, even in their flattery, could only declare, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth" (Mk 12:14). So one thing integrity means is that we speak the truth no matter what people want to hear.
As the perfect model of integrity He alone could declare "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). His will was so integrated with the will of His Father that there was no division of mind or heart (think "integer") Believers have been redeemed and are in the oneness of the New Covenant relationship that we are also to be so integrated, to be conformed to the image of God in Christ.
D. L. Moody wisely said, “Character is what a man is in the dark.” Live your life above reproach so that your integrity will illuminate the darkness.
Synonyms and Antonyms for Integrity - A few words that are synonymous with integrity = conscientious, honest, principled, true, honorable, noble, just, scrupulous, upright, blameless, aboveboard, forthright, straightforward, open, authentic, trustworthy, incorruptible, moral, upstanding, fair-minded.
A few words describing the opposite of integrity beginning with "d" = devious, deceitful, dissembling, doubletalk, double-minded, duplicitous, dishonest, double-dealing, deceptive, delusive, defrauding! The opposite of integrity is corruption (Daniel was incorruptible). This person lives in contradiction; without an integrating core one’s conduct is marked by a host of "d" words!
How Important is Integrity? - One tiny piece of dirt in the carburetor can prevent a powerful otherwise well tuned truck from successfully climbing a mountain. This is a rather small impurity but it is all-important in making the ascent. In the same way, one tiny lapse in our integrity can have a great impact on our spiritual trek.
In the book of Daniel, we read that Daniel began distinguishing himself (Daniel 6:3) - Why? Because he possessed an extraordinary spirit. Do you your work with excellence as unto the Lord, as if He were the One "inspecting" your work? (see Col 3:17-note, Col 3:23, 24-note = How is this possible? We need to obey the command to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! Col 3:16-note, which relates to being filled with the Spirit, Eph 5:18-note, which relates to doing our doing our work heartily).
Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.
Charles Bridges - POVERTY is never a disgrace, except when it is the fruit of ill-conduct. But when adorned with godly integrity, it is most honorable. Better is the poor man than he, whom riches lift up in his own eyes; and he is given up to his perverseness and folly. Often man puts under his feet those, whom God lays in his bosom; honors the perverse for their riches, and despises the poor for their poverty. ‘But what hath the rich, if he hath not God? And what is a poor man, if he hath God? Better be in a wilderness with God, than in Canaan without him.’ Was not Job on the dunghill, walking in his integrity, better than ungodly Ahab on the throne? Was not Lazarus in his rags, better than Dives with his “fine linen and sumptuous fare?” Calculate wisdom by God’s standard, who judges not by station, but by character. Estimate things in the light of eternity. How soon will all accidental distinctions pass away, and personal distinctions alone avail! Death will strip the poor of his rags, and the rich of his purple, and bring them both “naked to the earth from whence they came.”6 Meanwhile let us learn from our Lord’s voice to his despised people.—“I know thy poverty; but thou art rich.” How glorious the stamp upon the outcast professors walking in their integrity—“Of whom the world was not worthy—For such is prepared the honor that cometh from God only—his seal—his smiles—his everlasting crown.
Hebrew word for integrity = tom - "tōm: A masculine noun meaning completeness, integrity. This word is used in Job to describe how a man could die, i.e., in complete security (Job 21:23). When Absalom invited two hundred men from Jerusalem to his party, the word denoted that the men did not have any idea of what was about to happen (2 Sam. 15:11). In Genesis, Abimelech acted with a clear conscience after Abraham stated that Sarah was his sister (Gen. 20:5, 6). In a statement of wisdom, Proverbs uses the word to indicate that righteousness guards the person of integrity (Prov. 13:6); while the psalmist asks that his integrity and uprightness protect him because his hope is in the Lord (Ps. 25:21).
David a man after God's own heart prayed for integrity in Ps 86:11 and also asked that his integrity be examined, tried and tested (!) in Psalm 26…
Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth; Unite my heart to fear Thy name. (Note: NIV, NRSV translates it "give me an undivided heart")
Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. (Ps 26:1, 2) (Verbs in red are imperatives = commands)
Wiersbe comments: Integrity means that your life is whole, that your heart is not divided. Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters" (Mt. 6:24-note). That's integrity. Duplicity means trying to serve two masters. Our Lord also said that nobody can look in two directions at the same time. If your eye is single, then your body is full of light. But if your eye is double, watch out. The darkness is coming in (Mt. 6:22,23-note). If you look at the darkness and the light simultaneously, the darkness crowds out the light. (Warren Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and Promises).
This idea of an undivided heart is also found in the following passages - Mt 6:24-note, Jas 1:6-note, Jas 4:8-note Lk 16:13; cp. 1Ki 18:21; 2Ki 17:41; Ga 1:10] David prays for a single-mindedness, a single focus, a heart not focused with one "eye" on the world's delectables and the other on heaven's divinity. (cp Jesus' desire that our "eye be single, [and then] thy whole body shall be full of light." Mt 6:22-note)
OLD TESTAMENT MEN OF INTEGRITY - Several Old Testament characters (just a sample not an all inclusive list) are designated persons of integrity (yes, even Jacob! There's hope [and sufficient grace] for ALL of us! Forget what lies behind beloved! Don't be weighed down by internal accusations that you've already "blown" your chance to live a life of integrity. That is a lie from the accuser of our souls (Rev 12:10):
Noah (Gen. 6:9); These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
Abraham (Ge 17:1); Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
Jacob (Ge 25:27); When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.
Job (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3); (1:1) There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil....(1:8) And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”...(2:3) And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause.”
David (1 Kings 9:4) “And as for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances,
It is interesting that Jesus did not use the word "integrity" but he did use terms and phrases that are virtually synonymous when he called for purity of heart (Mt. 5:8), singleness of purpose (Mt. 6:22), and purity of motive (Mt. 6:1-6).
What does integrity look like in practice?
Do you refuse to compromise with the enemy when you’re under stress? That's integrity.
Do you fulfill your commitments, and are you devoted to your duties? That's integrity
Are you in constant, untiring pursuit of truth? Do you, in short, "ring true"? That's integrity
When you die and people file out of the church after your memorial service, will they comment, "He said what he meant and meant what he said"? Will they say, "You knew where he stood," or "You could trust him," or "You could count on him"? Will someone say, "He had integrity"?
Warren Wiersbe - “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD!” (Ps 119:1). Undefiled means “people who are blameless, those who have integrity.” Integrity is the opposite of duplicity and hypocrisy, which is the pretense to be something we are not. If we have integrity, our whole lives are built around the Word of God. The psalmist says, “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” (Ps 119:2). Are you wholeheartedly into the Word of God? In the Bible, heart refers to the inner person, and that includes the mind. “I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments” (Ps 119:7). It also includes the will. “I will keep Your statutes” (Ps 119:8). In other words, when you give your whole heart, mind, and will to the Word of God, it starts to put your life together. Is your life or your home “falling apart” today? Turn to the Word of God. The Bible has one Author—God. It has one theme—Jesus Christ. It has one message—the salvation of your soul. And it has one blessing to bring—a life of integrity. The Word of God is a powerful spiritual resource. Its truth feeds your soul. As you walk in the life of faith, the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to minister to you. Get into the Word and allow it to make you whole and build integrity into your life.
Ten elements that make up personal integrity—and the Bible personalities who exemplified them—are honesty (Daniel), compassion (Boaz), wisdom (Solomon), self-control (Timothy), joy (Paul), trust (Abraham), faithfulness (Caleb and Joshua), balance (Mary and Martha), sexual purity (Joseph), and endurance (Job).
In his book I Surrender: Submitting to Christ in the Details of Life, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception "that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior." He goes on to say, "It is revival without reformation, without repentance."
Maintenance of personal integrity calls for us to be diligent to watch over our hearts (every day) as Solomon commands in Pr 4:23 - See In depth discussion on Proverbs 4:23
Drawing a Line - G. K. Chesterton spoke to the need to discipline ourselves for godliness (1Ti 4:7, 8-note) by guarding our hearts writing that "Morality, like art, consists in drawing a line somewhere!" Dear reader, given the brevity of our life on earth and the length of eternity with Christ, is their some "line" you need to draw (enabled by the Spirit of grace, not by your flesh trying to keep the law) in your life? Are you willing to pray Psalm 139:23, 24? Beloved, a short time loss of some ungodly fulfillment, simply cannot be compared to the eternal glory wrought by our temporal obedience (not that we merit anything glorious from God! But He has ordained to bless our Spirit enabled obedience not only in this life but in the life to come. See 1 Timothy 4:8-)! So let me ask you again since you've read this far -- is there a "line" you need to draw in your life?
Warren Wiersbe on Integrity - We must be careful to protect our own personal integrity. When integrity goes, then character starts to decay; when character goes, we've lost everything important. No matter what you may possess—money, popularity, talent, friends—if you don't have character, you don't have anything. But character depends on integrity. People with integrity are people who are honest with themselves, with others, and with God. They don't wear masks and they don't waste energy pretending to be what they aren't. They're not afraid of what others may find out about them because they have nothing to hide. The alternative to integrity is hypocrisy, and that eventually leads to duplicity—becoming two persons inside, neither of whom knows the other. Without inner wholeness, we can't function successfully in life or enjoy all that God wants us to enjoy. We must cultivate integrity. That means knowing God, God's forgiveness, God's truth, God's church, and God's love. John's First Epistle is a guidebook for the kind of personal integrity that comes from a faithful walk with Jesus Christ, what John calls "walking in the light." No shadows—nothing to hide. As you ponder this letter these next thirty days, you can discover the joyful inner healing that comes from being exposed to the loving light of God's truth and being honest with God. I pray that this will indeed be your experience. (Pause for Power - If you would like to do a study on integrity Wiersbe uses the book of First John to walk the reader through 30 daily devotionals all on the subject of integrity.)
Gritty Integrity - "In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1:1).Lord Byron was on target when he wrote: "Truth is always strange; stranger than fiction." The Book of Job is not religious fiction. Job was a real person, not an imaginary character; both Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and James 5:11 attest to that. Because he was a real man who had real experiences, he can tell us what we need to know about life and its problems in this real world. Job was "blameless and upright." He was not sinless, for nobody can claim that distinction; but he was complete and mature in character and "straight" in conduct. The word translated "blameless" is related to "integrity," another important word throughout the Book of Job. People with integrity are whole persons, without hypocrisy or duplicity. In the face of his friends' accusations and God's silence, Job maintained his integrity; and the Lord ultimately vindicated him. The foundation for Job's character was the fact that he "feared God and shunned evil." To fear the Lord means to respect who He is, what He says, and what He does. It is not the cringing fear of a slave before a master but the loving reverence of a child before a father, a respect that leads to obedience. "The remarkable thing about fearing God," said Oswald Chambers, "is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else." Applying God's Truth: 1. What things would you need to do before other people considered you blameless? 2. Can you think of a recent situation where you considered compromising your integrity? If not, can you think of any situation where you might? 3. Would you say that you fear God? Explain. (Pause for Power)
Can You Be Trusted?
And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. Genesis 39:2
When studying the life of Joseph, the most glaring characteristic of his life was that of integrity. Wherever he went, whatever situation he was thrust into, Joseph could be trusted. Not only was he reliable in the duties that his superiors gave him, but he also demonstrated leadership to those around him. Trust is an almost forgotten trait in our win-at-all-costs world. Backstabbing, lying, cheating, and fraud are all regularly used in order to advance. Sadly, many employers have a hard time finding people who can be trusted to work hard and get their work accomplished. Too often, Christians fall prey to worldly pressure to be dishonest and untrustworthy. Often, we are anchors in our churches, but unreliable at the secular workplace. We regard our job as unimportant. We treat our superiors at work with little respect and are often willing to cheat the employer if it suits our desires. We must realize that the workplace is where God put us to be a light to the world. How we act, what we say, and how hard we work reflects on the God we serve. Our fellow employees will judge God by our character. A lack of integrity discredits God's name and may drive a co-worker away from the Lord. Let me ask you: Can your employer trust you? Do you brush off your career as "just a job"? I challenge you to demonstrate integrity to your co-workers. It may be the only light they ever see. (James Scudder - Living Water)
Live on Monday like you appear to be on Sunday.
The Price of Integrity
And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. Genesis 39:2
Often, in Christianity we hear that the surest path to success in life is to follow God. This is true and biblical. There are times, though, that doing the right thing will hurt us, sometimes greatly. Joseph's life was a demonstration of this principle. Young Joseph, living alone in a strange land, was suddenly tempted by his master's wife to commit adultery. Joseph, a man of integrity, refused because the act would be a tremendous sin against God. Joseph did the right thing. He didn't just refuse once, but many, many times. Not only did Joseph refuse to commit adultery, but he was also a hard-working, efficient employee for Potiphar. Everything that he handled in this royal house prospered. Yet, for all his character and courage, Joseph was wrongly accused and sent to prison. Had he given in to temptation, he would have kept his position in Egypt. At the moment, doing right seemed to be a wrong move. As the story continues, we know that God blessed Joseph and placed him in high authority in the Egyptian Kingdom. Integrity has a price. Often it may cost us our job, position, and our friends. It usually seems worthless. But, I've discovered that the price of not doing right is much more painful than the sacrifice made for doing right. Are you struggling with an issue of character? Are you being tempted to sin against God in your workplace, in your marriage, or in your ministry? Will you pay the price of integrity? (James Scudder - Living Water)
People observe your character by observing
what you fall for; stand for, and lie for.
Always Test for Integrity -
"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach."—1 Timothy 3:1-2
At 7:00 PM, on September 27, 1994, the 510-foot deep-sea ferry 'Estonia' left the port Tallinn, Estonia, en route to Stockholm, Sweden. One hundred sixty-two crewmembers and 897 passengers were onboard for the overnight voyage. The ferry had been crossing the Baltic Sea for over a decade, the crew was experienced, and nothing indicated that there was any danger to the ship. At 8:30 P.M. the Estonia encountered rough weather. Rain and high seas slowed the ferry and pummeled its hull. At midnight water was observed pouring through the front-loading cargo doors. Pumps were activated immediately but within fifteen minutes the crew was overwhelmed by the water surging in. At 1:24 A.M. the ship sent a distress call. It had started listing and continued to take on water. At 2:00 A.M. the ship went down sixty miles from Stockholm. The sinking of the Estonia claimed 921 lives. Only 138 people survived. Before the Estonia sailed two Swedish safety inspectors had spent five hours examining her seaworthiness. They noted damaged and worn rubber seals around the front-loading cargo doors. These problems were written up but the lead inspector did not think they affected the ship's seaworthiness. Ships, like leaders, must have integrity. The Estonia failed the integrity test. Our church leaders must also have integrity. It is incumbent that we select our leaders not on their social status but by the measure of their integrity. This week pray that the church will select leaders of integrity. (From Generation to Generation - Peter Kennedy)
"Ministers, in order that they be shining lights, should walk closely with God and keep near to Christ. They should spend much time with him in prayer."—Jonathan Edwards
If we would be men and women of integrity we would be wise to continually let the words of David as be the sincere prayer of our heart…
The late esteemed Baptist preacher Adrian Rogers once asked…
Does character count? It does if there is a God in glory - a God Who helped our founders establish this nation, and Who has sustained this nation and brought us thus far. (Read his entire answer = Does Character Count)
Pray for revival
Prepare for survival
Get ready for arrival!
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before obscure men. (Pr 22:29)
Comment: Remember that this is a proverb, not a promise, and your good work in the Lord's sight (Who will reward you in this life and/or the next) may not always be perceived as "good" in the eyes of your pagan peers or superiors. Irregardless to how men respond, we need to heed Paul's command…
Whatever you do, do your work (present imperative = command to make this our habitual practice… LIKE DANIEL!) heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (cp Da 6:20 "servant of the living God"!). (Col 3:23, 24-note)
Integrity Will be Tested - A pastor preached a sermon on honesty one Sunday. On Monday morning he took the bus to get to his office. He paid the fare, and the bus driver gave him back too much change. During the rest of the journey, the pastor was rationalizing how God had provided him with some extra money he needed for the week. But he just could not live with himself, and before he got off the bus he said to the driver, "You have made a mistake. You’ve given me too much change." And he proceeded to give him back the extra money. The driver smiled and said, "There was no mistake. I was at your church yesterday and heard you preach on honesty. So I decided to put you to a test this morning." Integrity - one's deeds match one's words!
Integrity League - Read: Psalm 26
He who walks with integrity walks securely. —Proverbs 10:9
We call it the Integrity League, but it’s really just a bunch of guys who get together at lunchtime to play basketball. We call fouls on ourselves, attempt to avoid angry outbursts, and simply try to keep everything fair and enjoyable. We are competitive and we don’t like to lose—but we all agree that integrity and honesty should control the atmosphere.
Integrity. Scripture clearly indicates the importance of this trait. And we honor the God of our lives when we practice it. Through His Word, God has given us clear reasons to “walk in . . . integrity” (Ps. 26:11). A person who has integrity has the security of a quiet life unknown to the one who “perverts his ways” (Prov. 10:9). The follower of God who lives with integrity is preserved by his confidence in God, for that person waits for God’s intervention in his life instead of running ahead of Him (Ps. 25:21). And the one who practices integrity will be given guidance and clear direction (Pr. 11:3). Why should we care about life’s “Integrity League”? Because obeying God this way shows that we trust Him with our lives and that we want to shine His great love on others. - Dave Branon
Dear Father, help my word be true. Help my actions be honest. Help my life to reflect Your holiness and shine God’s light for all to see. Help me to live with integrity.
Integrity is Christlike character in work clothes.
Dr W H Houghton, pastored the Calvary Baptist Church in NYC and later served as president of Moody Bible Institute. When Dr. Houghton became pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle in Atlanta, a man in that city hired a private detective to follow Dr. Houghton and report on his conduct. After a few weeks, the detective was able to report to the man that Dr. Houghton’s life matched his preaching. As a result of Houghton's faithful life, a life of integrity, that man became a Christian.
An Honest Heart - Read: Psalm 15
I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. —1 Chronicles 29:17
I came across an epitaph on an old gravestone in a cemetery the other day. It read,“J. Holgate: An honest man.” I know nothing of Holgate’s life, but because his marker is unusually ornate, he must have struck it rich. But whatever he accomplished in his lifetime, he’s remembered for just one thing: He was “an honest man.” Diogenes, the Greek philosopher, spent a lifetime in search of honesty and finally concluded that an honest man could not be found. Honest people are hard to find in any age, but the trait is one that greatly matters. Honesty is not the best policy; it’s the only policy, and one of the marks of a man or woman who lives in God’s presence. David writes, “Lord, . . . who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly” (Ps. 15:1-2). I ask myself: Am I trustworthy and honorable in all my affairs? Do my words ring true? Do I speak the truth in love or do I fudge and fade the facts now and then, or exaggerate for emphasis? If so, I may turn to God with complete confidence and ask for forgiveness and for a good and honest heart—to make truthfulness an integral part of my nature. The One who has begun a good work in me is faithful. He will do it. - David Roper
Lord, help me to be honest
In all I do and say,
And grant me grace and power
To live for You each day.
Live in such a way that when people think of honesty and integrity,
they will think of you.
INSIGHT: David calls God’s people to live a life of integrity and purity (Ps. 15:2). He describes the upright as those who do what is right and who speak truthfully and honestly. Sincere, open, and transparent, they do not slander, discredit, or harm their friends (Ps 15:3). They honor those who fear God and keep their promises even when it is not advantageous to do so (Ps 15:4). They do not take advantage of others, but act justly and fairly (Ps 15:5).
Ed comment: If you had to write your epitaph, what would you say? In fact you are "writing your epitaph" today with the choices you make and by the way you live out those choices. Your friends and family will remember you for something, what will it be? May our earnest desire be that when we are laid to rest our life will have earned the epitaph—He/she was a man/a woman of Integrity. True be told, when it is all said and done, integrity is all that really counts.
God’s Moral Integrity - Read: Nahum 1:1-8
The Lord avenges and is furious. . . . The Lord is good, . . . and He knows those who trust in Him. —Nahum 1:2,7
Bertrand Russell became an atheist after he read the words of Jesus about hell. He apparently wanted a God who would never become angry or punish anyone. Dr. Russell certainly wouldn’t like today’s Scripture reading, which speaks of God as One who “avenges and is furious.”
Personally, I would have trouble believing in a God who never became angry and didn’t punish sin. Such a God would not be a good God. What would you think, for example, of a witness to a brutal murder who felt no emotion and remained indifferent toward punishing the wrongdoer? Would you consider such a person a good person? Hardly! God gives us a free will and usually doesn’t stop us from carrying out our wrong choices. But He does hold us accountable, and He will judge us. In Nahum’s day, the Ninevites were a cruel people who committed unbelievable atrocities. But the prophet assured the Israelites that God saw the wickedness of those people, was angered by it, and would justly punish them. I’m thankful that God possesses that kind of moral integrity. It gives me reason to trust Him to keep all His promises, and it assures me that He will right all the wrongs of history. - Herbert VanderLugt
Sometimes it seems that sin’s ignored
And evil has its way;
But don’t be fooled, God’s eyes aren’t closed;
He’ll judge us all someday. —Sper
God’s judgment may not be immediate,
but it is inevitable.
A Passion For Integrity - Read: Genesis 39:1-12
How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? —Genesis 39:9
A newspaper reported an unusual incident at a fast-food restaurant. The manager had put the day’s cash in a paper bag for deposit that night, but an attendant mistook it for an order and gave it to a couple at the drive-through window. A short time later, when the man and woman opened the bag in a nearby park, they were shocked by its contents. They immediately drove back to return it. The manager had reported a robbery, so police cars and a TV crew were on the scene. How relieved he was to get the money back! He said to the couple, “You should be featured on the evening news for your honesty.” “Oh, please, no publicity!” replied the man nervously. “She’s not my wife.” To be honest with another’s money but dishonest with another’s spouse isn’t being consistent. Moral soundness in one’s whole character is called integrity. This character quality was clearly evident in the life of Joseph. Potiphar had entrusted all he owned to Joseph (Gen. 39:6). And when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, Joseph maintained his integrity by refusing her advances (Ge 39:8-12). It cost him dearly, but ultimately it yielded great rewards (Ge 41:37-50:26).
Lord, give us a passion for that kind of integrity. - Dennis J. De Haan
Sift the substance of my life,
Filtering out the sin and strife;
Leave me, Lord, a purer soul,
Cleansed and sanctified and whole.
A person of integrity has nothing to hide.
Communicating Integrity - Read: Psalm 26:1-12
As for me, I will walk in my integrity. —Psalm 26:11
One side of Harry Elders’ business card had a photo of his smiling face. On the other side was his motto: “Integrity Can Be Communicated.”
For half a century, Harry worked as a narrator and actor in radio and TV. One of his favorite ongoing projects was Unshackled, a Chicago-based radio show dramatizing conversions to Christ. But whether he was narrating a film about foreign missions or a promotional video for a bank, his integrity permeated everything he did. There was no conflict between his walk and his talk. When you hired Harry, you got all of him—virtue, kindness, and principle.
After Harry died, a local newspaper had a column of tribute titled: “A voice of integrity is silenced, but its messages will live on.”
People like Harry remind us of what David wrote in Psalm 26. It begins and ends with integrity: “I have walked in my integrity” (v.1), and “I will walk in my integrity” (v.11). In between these statements he wrote, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart” (v.2). David’s desire was to be pure before the Lord so that he could worship and tell of all His wondrous works (vv.6-7).
Integrity can be communicated—when we are true to the Lord everywhere, all the time. - David McCasland
Lord, help me put away deceit
And live a life that's true—
And may there be integrity
In all I say and do. —Sper
There is no legacy as rich as integrity.
Integrity 101 - Read: Psalm 101
I will behave wisely in a perfect way...I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. —Psalm 101:2
Officials in Philadelphia were astonished to receive a letter and payment from a motorist who had been given a speeding ticket in 1954. John Gedge, an English tourist, had been visiting the City of Brotherly Love when he was cited for speeding. The penalty was $15, but Gedge forgot about the ticket for almost 52 years until he discovered it in an old coat. “I thought, I’ve got to pay it,” said Gedge, 84, who now lives in a nursing home in East Sussex. “Englishmen pay their debts. My conscience is clear.”
This story reminded me of the psalmist David’s commitment to integrity. Although he made some terrible choices in his life, Psalm 101 declares his resolve to live blamelessly. His integrity would begin in the privacy of his own house (Ps 101:2) and extend to his choice of colleagues and friends (Ps 101:6-7). In sharp contrast to the corrupt lives of most kings of the ancient Near East, David’s integrity led him to respect the life of his sworn enemy, King Saul (1 Sam. 24:4-6; 26:8-9).
As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk in integrity and to maintain a clear conscience. When we honor our commitments to God and to others, we will walk in fellowship with God. Our integrity will guide us (Prov. 11:3) and help us walk securely (Pr 10:9). - Marvin Williams
Lord, cleanse my heart of all deceit
And teach me to be true;
Help me to have integrity
In all I say and do.
There is no better test of a man’s integrity
than his behavior when he is wrong.
Integrity—Is It Possible? - Read: Psalm 119:121-128
Give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies. —Psalm 119:125
Samuel DiPiazza, CEO of a major public accounting firm, co-authored a book on building trust in the business world. The book proposes a spirit of transparency, a culture of accountability, and a people of integrity. But in an interview in Singapore, he noted there is one thing the book cannot teach—integrity. “Either you have it or you don’t,” he said.
Is he right? In our world of shifting standards, can integrity be acquired by those who don’t have it? The answer is found in our unchanging standard—God’s Word, the Bible. David the psalmist did not head a multinational corporation. But he did rule over a kingdom, and he was serious about doing what was right. He recognized how easy it is to slide down the slippery path of unethical behavior simply because it seems advantageous. So David asked God, “Teach me Your statutes” (Ps. 119:124). “Give me understanding,” he said, “that I may know Your testimonies” (Ps 119:125). David hated “every false way,” and based his life on the principle that “all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right” (Ps 119:128).
No one is born with godly character. But by studying God’s Word and listening to His Holy Spirit, we can learn to hate falsehood and love integrity. - C. P. Hia
For Further Study - How can faith flourish in a hostile work environment? Read Daniel: Spiritual Living In A Secular Culture
The measure of a man's character is
what he would do if he knew he never would be found out.
Wesley Pippert offers the following wise advice:
One of the most effective disciplines I know is not to do something that first time — for repetition will come far easier… Not doing something for the first time is a tremendous bulwark against not doing it later. As moral philosopher Sissela Bok has said in her book, Lying (New York: Pantheon, 1978, p. 28),
It is easy to tell a lie but hard to tell only one.
Discipline will help us avoid the guilt that we often experience by dabbling in things we shouldn’t.
An important fruit of discipline
Few things are more important than whether one has a good reputation, a “good name.” Not all people are gregarious or outgoing. Not all people are sought after or loveable. But everyone can have integrity. Integrity flows more out of a disciplined character than a daring personality. (From Letters to Graduates - Myrna Grant) (This quote is from a book I would highly recommend by Kent Hughes - see Google excerpt from Hughes on Integrity - Disciplines of a Godly Man - see also excerpt below from same source - enter page 123 for Chapter 10 - "Discipline of Integrity")
THE DAY AMERICA Told the Truth, a new book based on an extensive opinion survey which guaranteed the anonymity of the participants, reveals an alarming crisis of integrity in America. Only 13 percent of Americans see all Ten Commandments as binding on us today. Ninety-one percent lie regularly — at home and at work. In answer to the question, “Whom have you regularly lied to?” the statistics included 86 percent to parents and 75 percent to friends. A third of AIDS carriers admit to not having told their lovers. Most workers admit to goofing off for an average of seven hours — almost one whole day — a week, and half admit that they regularly call in sick when they are perfectly well… The truth is, American culture is in big trouble. The colossal slide of integrity (especially masculine ethics) has grim spiritual, domestic, and political implications which threaten the survival of life as we know it.
But for the Christian, the most chilling fact is this: there is little statistical difference between the ethical practices of the religious and the nonreligious. Doug Sherman and William Hendricks, in their book Keeping Your Ethical Edge Sharp, note Gallup’s statistics that 43 percent of non-church attenders admit to pilfering work supplies, compared to 37 percent of attenders. Seventeen percent of the unchurched use the company phone for long-distance personal calls, but 13 percent of those who attend worship do likewise. But is this true of real Christians? we may ask. Sherman and Hendricks answer yes. The general ethical conduct of Christians varies only slightly from non-Christians, with grand exceptions, of course. Sadly, Christians are almost as likely as non-Christians to:
• Falsify their income tax returns.
• Commit plagiarism (teachers especially know this).
• Bribe to obtain a building permit — “That’s the way business is done.”
• Ignore construction specs.
• Illegally copy a computer program.
• Steal time.
• Commit phone theft.
• Exaggerate a product.
• Tell people what they want to hear.
• Selectively obey the laws.
My great-grandfather, Daniel Bell, Jr., was scrupulously honest. Here is what one of his sons wrote about his integrity. One time, we took Daniel to the lumberyard with us. Our little four-year-old daughter, Ruth, picked up a small scrap of wood. As we left, Daniel asked Ruth where she got the piece of wood. She replied, "I found it on the floor." He then asked,
"Did you pay for it?" "No," she replied. "Did you work for it?" "No." "Did anyone give it to you as a gift?" "No." "Well, then, if you have not paid for it and if it was not a gift and if you have not worked for it and you took it, that is stealing. Now you go back into the lumberyard and return it."
Ruth has never forgotten this lesson in honesty.—Tricia Truax, Durham, North Carolina (Discipleship Journal 104: March/April, 1998)
EYES OF INTEGRITY - When friends at the pool teasingly told my husband that a beautiful blond was coming his way, they were amazed that he didn’t turn to look.
"Aren’t you going to look?" they asked him.
Dan joked that his wife wouldn’t let him.
"But it is your wife!" they laughed.
Dan’s obedience to Mt. 5:28 and his consistent modeling of Christ’s love for His church have made Jesus’ pure and unfailing love ever more real to me. —Julie A. Bailey, Carlsbad, California (Discipleship Journal 104: March/April, 1998)
Psalm 101 - The Walk of Integrity
• Integrity loves the Lord and His justice. Psalm 101:1-note
• Integrity lives a blameless life. Psalm 101:2-note
• Integrity keeps its eyes from evil. Psalm 101:3-note
• Integrity protects itself from the perverse. Psalm 101:4-note
• Integrity silences gossip and slander. Psalm 101:5-note
• Integrity seeks fellowship with God’s faithful and wisdom from the wise. Psalm 101:6-note
• Integrity denounces deceit and dishonesty. Psalm 101:7-note
• Integrity confronts those who compromise. Psalm 101:8-note
(From June Hunt's excellent recommended resource - Biblical Counseling Keys on Dating)
I. INTEGRITY OF A PERSON (Proverbs 11:1-9)
A. Integrity in Business (Proverbs 11:1)
B. Integrity and Humility (Proverbs 11:2, 3)
C. Integrity and God’s Judgment (Proverbs 11:4, 5, 6)
D. Integrity and God’s Deliverance (Proverbs 11:7, 8, 9)
II. INTEGRITY OF A COMMUNITY (Proverbs 11:10-14)
A. City Celebrates (Proverbs 11:10, 11)
B. Damage of Careless Accusals (Proverbs 11:12, 13)
C. Nation Adrift (Proverbs 11:14)
A. Satan Hates Integrity
B. The Hard Choice for Integrity
(Adapted from King James Version Standard Lesson Commentary)
Related resource: Proverbs 11:1 Honesty is the Best Policy
Integrity of Hearts not Walls! - In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric hordes to the north. So they built the Great Wall of China. It was too high to climb over, too thick to break down, and too long to go around. Security achieved! The only problem was that during the first hundred years of the wall’s existence, China was invaded three times. Was the wall a failure? Not really—for not once did the barbaric hordes climb over the wall, break it down, or go around it. How then did they get into China? The answer lies in human nature. They simply bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right in through a gate. The fatal flaw in the Chinese defense was placing too much reliance on a wall and not putting enough effort into building character into the gatekeeper.
MAINTAINING INTEGRITY - Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Job 2:9 - A FAMOUS PREACHER was once asked by a fellow clergyman, “Have you ever stared into the face of Satan?” Without missing a beat, the preacher answered, “No, but I’m married to his sister!” Sometimes I wonder if that’s how Job must have felt. At a time in his life when he most needed love and support, his wife gave him nothing but grief. He’d lost his wealth, his cattle, his children, and his health, and as if that wasn’t enough, his wife came at him with both barrels. “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity?” she asks him. “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). For what little we know about Job’s wife, we’re pretty certain of one thing: Most men are thankful they’re not married to her. Imagine having her at your family reunion each year. (For some it may not be much of a stretch!) And what is the “integrity” that she wanted Job to give up? Integrity simply means that he was “integrated” with God. The two were of one mind and heart. Job’s relationship with God was complete and whole. The Lord was an integral part of his being, and he knew that trials were not going to change that truth. Job was able to remain faithful to God, because God was woven into the fabric of his being. The greatest fear of someone who is integrated with God is that somehow that bond will be lost or broken. When the prophet Isaiah saw his sinfulness in light of God’s holiness, he cried out, “Woe to me … I am ruined!” (Isaiah 6:5, NIV). His integrity had been compromised, and he saw himself losing his oneness with God. It was the thing he most treasured—the one thing he couldn’t bear to live without. Isaiah’s integrity was more than a character trait; it was his lifeline. So it was with Job. When hard times come, it’s easy to lose perspective. We may be tempted to turn away from God and compromise our integrity. The bond we have with Jesus may suffer. Those closest to us may have thoughts of doubt and uncertainty. A lot of sin is born in the throes of a storm. But don’t let it happen. Don’t give in to the temptation. Don’t “dis-integrate” in a moment of darkness. Reach instead toward the One who shapes eternity. Trust in God, no matter what. REFLECTION - How does your “oneness” with God hold up in the middle of trials and temptation? How can you work to strengthen your faith and integrity? (Embracing Eternity)
Integrity - It didn’t take long for the baseball world to take sides over Sammy Sosa’s indiscretion over using a corked bat at the plate. Some say he was trying to break out of his batting funk created by being hit in the head by a pitch a few weeks before. Others took him at his word; he simply picked up the wrong bat as he was going to the plate-a bat that he said he used to put on a hitting show for the crowds during batting practice. I want to believe Sammy-most fans want to believe Sammy, because Sammy has become a celebrity to most people and a hero to others-even to people who aren’t baseball fans. In an editorial for USA Today, Andrew Abrams offers some insight into the difference between celebrities and heroes. “Society is generally eager to forgive when its heroes occasionally stumble. However, consistent with heroic mythic, when the heroes falter because of character flaws, they must realize the error of their ways and seek forgiveness with sincere remorse. Often this realization and redemption, if anything, make the hero even more heroic. Importantly, though, this redemption cannot come from a clutch home run or a game-saving acrobatic catch. The issue is not the physical prowess of the hero, but rather the individual’s character, because talent without character creates celebrities, not heroes.” Character does count. In the end, it is the true measure of a man, you can measure the popularity of a man by the length of the shadow he casts on society, but the real value of the man is in the trueness of his heart. The talents God gives us are His gift to us. What we do with them-the life of integrity we lead is our gift back to Him. No, I’m not talking about home runs, corked bats, denials, suspensions or fines—I’m talking about living life with integrity in the spotlight or in obscurity. We need people who don’t use “corked bats” in games or in batting practice. We have enough celebrities. We need heroes-men and women with character. Psalm 26:1 KJV “Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.” (Jim Wilson - Fresh Start Devotionals)
Wholehearted Dedication - Any task we do as Christians should be done with wholehearted dedication, for God is never satisfied with a halfhearted effort. H. A. Ironside learned this early in life while working for a Christian shoemaker. Young Harry’s job was to prepare the leather for soles. He would cut a piece of cowhide to size, soak it in water, and then pound it with a flat-headed hammer until it was hard and dry. This was a wearisome process, and he wished it could be avoided. Harry would often go to another shoe shop nearby to watch his employer’s competitor. This man did not pound the leather after it came from the water. Instead, he immediately nailed it onto the shoe he was making. One day Harry approached the shoemaker and said, “I noticed you put the soles on while they are still wet. Are they just as good as if they were pounded?” With a wink and a cynical smile the man replied, “No, but they come back much quicker this way, my boy!” Young Harry hurried back to his boss and suggested that perhaps they were wasting their time by drying out the leather so carefully. Upon hearing this, his employer took his Bible, read Colossians 3:23-note to him, and said, “Harry, I do not make shoes just for the money. I’m doing it for the glory of God. If at the judgment seat of Christ I should have to view every shoe I’ve ever made, I don’t want to hear the Lord say, ‘Dan, that was a poor job. You didn’t do your best.’ I want to see His smile and hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’” It was a lesson in practical Christian ethics that Ironside never forgot! - H. G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
In all the daily tasks we do,
The Bible helps us clearly see
That if the Work is good and true,
We’re living for eternity.
In God’s eyes it is a great thing
to do a little thing well.
Little Things Count (cp Da 1:8) - The story has been told of a bank employee who was due for a good promotion. One day at lunch the president of the bank, who happened to be standing behind the clerk in the cafeteria, saw him slip two pats of butter under his slice of bread so they wouldn’t be seen by the cashier. That little act of dishonesty cost him his promotion. Just a few pennies’ worth of butter made the difference. The bank president reasoned that if an employee cannot be trusted in little things he cannot be trusted at all. (Illustrations for Biblical Preaching)
Charles Simeon in a sermon on Job 23:10 (see commentary) discusses a great benefit of personal integrity…
A consciousness of their own integrity is a rich source of consolation to them in a trying hour—There are times and seasons when almost all the other springs of comfort seem dried up: sometimes it may be painful even to reflect upon God (Ps 77:3-note). Job acknowledges in the context, that God’s “presence was a trouble to him:” but knowing that God was acquainted with his heart, he could yet appeal to him respecting his own integrity: and from this source he derived a pleasing satisfaction, an encouraging hope. St. Paul, under a daily and hourly expectation of martyrdom, experienced much joy in the same thought (2Co 1:8,9,10,11,12): nor shall we find it a small consolation to us, under any trials we may be called to endure. (The Upright Person's Comfort Under Afflictions)
Lord's Prayer - A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter. So he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: “I have circled the block ten times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.” When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note: “I’ve circled this block for ten years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation. (Illustrations for Biblical Preaching)
Integrity of Lincoln - Throughout his administration, Abraham Lincoln was a president under fire, especially during the scarring years of the Civil War. And though he knew he would make errors of office, he resolved never to compromise his integrity. So strong was this resolve that he once said, "I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me." Today In The Word
Truth and Integrity - Our relationship with an ever-faithful God demands an ever-faithful life from his people. Others should be able to bank on our promises and entrust to us any important matter, with no further thought. We need to be known for our integrity as Tiffany’s is known for jewelry. We are called to be moral absolutists in a society of moral relativists. We need to be responsible and to act responsibly. We need to integrate our faith in the God we trust with a personal integrity that can always be trusted. (Hurley, V Speaker's sourcebook of new illustrations Dallas: Word Publishers)
Works That Witness - Daniel's life revealed the reality of his faith. He conducted himself so honorably in his high office that Darius "gave thought to setting him over the whole realm" (Da 6:3).
The other presidents and princes, however, were jealous and began to devise means of getting rid of Daniel. But hard as they tried, they could find nothing in his life to use against him. The Bible says that "he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him" (Da 6:4).
What a record! What a testimony! He was loyal and conscientious on the job--all the while giving God first place. Daniel's life was so far above reproach that his enemies had to create a situation in which his commitment to God would come into conflict with his government position.
Would we stand up under close examination like this? Are we so faithful in our work that our fellow employees could "find no charge or fault" in us? It's commendable to witness for Christ. But consider the influence of a godly life and a job so faithfully performed that others could find no fault. That would silence the critics and glorify God.
Like Daniel, our behavior should be blameless (cp "Integrity"). Then we too will have works that witness! — Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The task Your wisdom has assigned,
Lord, let me cheerfully fulfill;
In all my works Your presence find,
And prove Your good and perfect will.
When you do your work faithfully,
your faith will be seen at work.
Warren Wiersbe in his book The Integrity Crisis (referring to the church in America) writes that
"In order to understand integrity, we must first realize that two forces are at work in our world today: (1) God is putting things together; and (2) sin is tearing things apart. God wants to make us integers; Satan want to make us fractions… Integrity is to personal or corporate character what health is to the body or 20/20 vision is to the eyes. A person with integrity is not divided (that's duplicity) or merely pretending (that's hypocrisy). He or she is "whole"; life is "put together," and things are working together harmoniously. People with integrity have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. Their lives are open books. They are integers!… Jesus made it clear that integrity involves the whole person: the heart, the mind, and the will. The person with integrity has a single heart. He doesn't try to love God and the world at the same time (Mt 6:24-note). His heart is in heaven (THINK OF DANIEL PRAYING 3X A DAY) and that's where his treasure is (Mt 6:21-note)… An integrated person takes the command seriously "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart (Mt 22:37). The person with integrity also has a single mind, a single outlook ("eye") that keeps life going in the right direction. After all, outlook helps to determine outcome; "a double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways" (Jas 1:8-note)… Jesus also said the person with integrity has a single will; he seeks to serve but one master… The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master! Once you find your Master, Jesus Christ, you will find your freedom… for "if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (Jn 8:36). No one can successfully serve two masters. To attempt to do so is to become a fractional person, and a fractional person does not have INTEGRITY! Instead he is someone with a divided heart, a divided mind, a divided will." (Warren W Wiersbe - The Integrity Crisis, 1988).
Weekday Christians - A young man was being interviewed for a position in a small business firm. He had a neat appearance and made a good impression on the owner. He had also prepared an excellent résumé in which he listed his pastor, his Sunday school teacher, and a church deacon as references. The owner of the business studied the résumé for several minutes, then said, "I appreciate these recommendations from your church friends. But what I would really like is to hear from someone who knows you on weekdays."
Sorry to say, there is a sharp contrast between the way some Christians act in church and how they behave in the world. The principles they profess on Sunday should be practiced every day. Daniel was an ideal model in his relationship with both God and man. He did not live by a double standard. His daily conduct was consistent with his spiritual values. His enemies tried to find some charge against him, but no fault could be found (6:4). His walk in the world was in harmony with his walk with God. Would our church friends be shocked if they observed our actions and heard our speech at our job or in our home? A good Sunday Christian will also be a good weekday Christian. — Richard De Haan
Consistency! How much we need
To walk a measured pace,
To live the life of which we speak
Until we see Christ's face.
A hypocrite is a person who is not himself on Sunday.
Corruption - Webster's 1828 = perversion or deterioration of moral principles; loss of purity or integrity. A departure from the original or from what is pure or correct. Debasement; taint; or tendency to a worse state. "Keep my honor from corruption." (Shakespeare)
The man of integrity can become a target for those who lack integrity. If you doubt this, study the life of Daniel, especially Daniel 6:1-28 (see notes)