Titus 2:6-8 (NLT)
In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.
Doing the right thing can be very difficult. We try to live honest and upright lives which would not be such a problem if other people were not involved. In a careless world whose love has grown cold, compassion is waning and mercy is all but gone, how can we as believers live an upright life of integrity? It’s tough not to fuss at the person who cuts you off in traffic and ride their bumper for the next few miles. It’s hard not to grow impatient when people are less than enthusiastic about doing their minimum wage job. It’s difficult to be the person that we are called to be and live a normal life in society today. Selfishness has overtaken the hearts and minds of so many with few willing to “pay it forward” when it comes to good works. Pride does not allow the words “I’m sorry” or “please forgive me”. Yielding to one another is now a sign of weakness rather than common courtesy. The church now is selective in its sinners choosing only those who are problem-free rather than the least of these struggling to survive. It is a sad situation in which we live and it has nothing to do with the state of our nation or the economy. The hearts of God’s People have once again hardened and love has grown cold and indifferent. Without a radical change, God’s People will perish all from a lack of knowledge. We must learn the true meaning of a word called “integrity” and not as the world defines it but as God ordained it. It is defined by complete faith in God that leads to righteous living among those who call themselves believers.
I Kings 9:3-5 (NLT)
The LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’”
After Solomon completed the Temple of God, he prayed and asked the Lord to bless it. God did. Then the Lord spoke directly to Solomon saying that if you follow me with integrity and godliness, I will establish your dynasty forever. God is motivated not by our religious acts but righteous heart. One might think that after constructing the finest temple ever built the Lord would have consecrated not only the building but the man as well. But no, God promised to set the Temple apart as holy and always watch over it. But then the Lord directs His Full Attention to the man (who after Jesus would become His Temple) and says, “If you follow me with integrity and godliness” then the promise of fulfillment will come. How many times have we prayed to God for something and failed to see it come to pass? There are many people who have never been taught the importance of integrity and uprightness in God’s People and its direct connect to our promises. God doesn’t reward us for being good, but rather has ordained an inheritance for every one of His Precious Children (that’s you and I as believers). All we must do is live in our Father’s Presence to receive these things. To remain in God’s Presence, we must separate ourselves from sin and darkness choosing to live in the Light of His Love. We must read His Word, listen to it and do what it says. God promises to establish His People this way in righteousness that is found in Jesus Christ. To maintain righteousness which is uprightness, we must learn to walk in His Ways daily. We must learn to do the right thing even when other people do not. We must learn to love and forgive even when they let you down or worse do the unthinkable. It is not about them but rather our connection to the Father and position of blessing that is compromised when we choose to seek our way instead of His Way!
Job 2:2-4 (NLT)
“Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” Satan replied to the LORD, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life.
People of integrity become quite influential not only in the world but the Kingdom of God. Why? They are rare. The Lord asked satan, “Where have you come from? His response, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that is going on.” God did name a church or organization in his reply but rather one man, Job. “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless – a man of complete integrity.” Job was known as a man who feared God even after losing his entire family and facing economic disaster. He never cursed God or blamed him just continued to pray for His Help. I believe that Job was the only man in the world at that time who could undergo such terrible testing and survive with his righteousness intact. How sad is that? No more devastating than to think that there world is filled with “Christians” that are men and women of integrity or uprightness who will turn on the Lord instantly when they do not get their way or their prayer is seemingly unanswered. To fear the lord and stay away from evil when things are going well is one thing, but to maintain one’s integrity when all hell breaks loose and you cannot seem to catch a break or your breath is quite another. God is looking for those who He calls blameless. Believers who maintain the integrity of their faith in the Lord even when things do not go their way or disaster strikes.
Integrity means to adhere to moral principles or the Truth that guides your life. If you do not believe in God then you probably tend to side with societal norms. For those who call themselves believers, this would be the Word of God. Do you adhere to ever Word that God has written and spoken in your life? Integrity is honesty before God and men. You don’t have to be honest with the Lord for He examines your heart and knows the truth. But if you want to be considered upright, then you will be honest with the Lord in every encounter. You will also live in honest before men which includes working a full-day for a full-day’s pay not robbing your employer by goofing off on the clock. It includes not cheating on your taxes and paying for that item you left under the buggy when you discover it at the car. Integrity means to live in total agreement with Jesus Christ – completely unified by faith that holds tight to the anchor of hope we have been given. (Hebrews 6:19) If hope is the anchor for our soul, faith is the chain that holds us to it. To maintain a strong connection, we must live a life of integrity and uprightness before the Lord. The anchor is no good if the chain is not intact. It doesn’t mean that the Lord is not doing His Part because that anchor is weighted and unmoving. It means that we are not doing our part of holding tight to it by faith. Faith in God expects Him to complete our life and fulfill our dreams providing our destiny without our assistance only our faith in Him that causes us to hold fast to integrity and uprightness to lead us home.
Proverbs 20:6-7 (NLT)
Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.
People will let you down even your closest friends because they are people. Too many times we expect to find good in other people only to be disappointed. I have an awesome husband, but he is just a man. I have fabulous children, but they are just little (and not so little) people. I have great friends, but yep you guessed it – people. They were not created to be my Savior and Lord – His Name is Jesus Christ. Yet many times rather than putting all of my expectation in Jesus, I dole it among the people in my life. So when they let me down, I am obviously disappointed and sometimes devastated because I wrongly expected more of them. It is not wrong to do so but it is when I rely on people more than the Lord. Jesus should be the One who I put all my faith and trust in so when people let me down I remain whole and lacking no good thing. If my faith and hope remain strongly fixed in Jesus Christ, I maintain my integrity (unimpaired, sound faith in God with complete unity and wholeness in Him) so that my righteousness is not compromised by loving and trusting others more than the Lord. In fact, those who learn to rely on the Lord and trust Him completely will walk in integrity and find life. (Proverbs 11:3) They will find that they are not pulled up and down with the currents of life – good times or bad – but remain secure. (Proverbs 10:9) The enemy cannot triumph over those who walk in integrity with God in right standing. (Psalm 41:11-12) Satan tried desperately to change Job’s mind about God first destroying his life and heritage, and then attacking the man. Job could not be moved from his position of integrity as he kept his eyes, mind and heart firmly fixed on God. Integrity is a choice. (Psalm 26:11-12) God is not going to force you to remain righteous, but rather invites you into His Presence where a great inheritance of blessings and promises awaits. Invite the Lord to examine your heart and mind today. Ask Him to prove you – if you dare. (Psalm 26:1-3) The blessing promised to those who walk in integrity is enough to overflow into the lives of future generations and well-worth having but integrity comes at a very high price. Jesus paid that price to set you free from the bondage of sin allowing us to put all of our expectation in Him. Those who do this will live a blameless life and be able to stand before God when Jesus returns. Sadly there are many who will be disappointed this day when their integrity does not measure up to our friend, Job.
Proverbs 2:6-11 (NLT)
For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.
Wisdom is the key to maintaining one’s integrity. We are immersed in the world making it difficult to look past what we see to the unseen things of God. Faith comes by hearing. It is important that open our eyes, ears and mind to the Word of God, Way of God and Will of God in order to live lives of complete integrity. It is not enough to know it, but wisdom is when we take what we know and put it to good use. The world will never teach us to love others as Jesus did, but His Spirit works with the Word in order to empower us to love other people without expecting anything from them at all. It’s tough sometimes and almost impossible most of the time but absolutely necessary to live a godly and obedient life. People never fail to amaze me and generally not in the most flattering way. It seems like blatant disrespect and total disregard for other people is the undercurrent of the world in which we live. But I do not rely on the world for satisfaction, but choose to put my faith and trust in the Lord which lessens the blow of disappointment when it comes because hopeless cannot abound in such a position. Those who choose to live an honest and upright life will have common sense that can only come from the Lord in order to overcome people problems. The Lord guards the path of the just and protects those who are faithful not because you have earned it but it is just one more of His Precious Promises released by your integrity. Such common sense allows us to do the “right, just and faith” thing when the whole world is bent on rebellion and doing the wrong thing. Such wisdom allows for joy when we make wise choices no matter how unfashionable to the watching world. This leads to overflowing and overwhelming blessings that reach future generations from one person’s choice to do the right thing.
Proverbs 15:3-9 (NLT)
The LORD is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise. There is treasure in the house of the godly, but the earnings of the wicked bring trouble. The lips of the wise give good advice; the heart of a fool has none to give. The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but he delights in the prayers of the upright. The LORD detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue godliness.
The enemy is not the only one who is watching everything that is going on. The Lord is watching everywhere, too. The enemy seeks who he can rob, kill or destroy. But Jesus is watching who will choose to live uprightly by faith and honestly seek to live a blameless life. He is not waiting to punish anyone but rather bless them. Gentle words are a tree of life. I find that the more I fill my heart and mind with the Word of God and empower the Spirit with good ammunition to overcome my flesh the less likely I am to have a runaway tongue. The power of life and death are in my mouth. I have direct influence whether I am blessed or cursed by the words that I speak. I have treasure in Heaven waiting to be released and the words of my mouth spoken in public or private have the ability to release them. The Lord listens to the prayers (words) of the upright and actually delights in them. Since we are now the Temple of God as His Spirit lives in us – the Lord is privy to every conversation and it includes Him. Ouch! God loves those who pursue godliness or god-like-ness which means it’s time to turn the other cheek and forgive those who offend or abuse us. Those who choose to ignore or misuse us even if we call them “friend”. We must lay down our life for our friends and learn to love our enemies. That is, if we want to do the right thing!
Deuteronomy 32:3-4 (NLT)
I will proclaim the name of the LORD; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!