Integrity Matters

     In America in 2021, integrity is often hard to come by. Politicians promise one thing, and then the news reports what they miss and don't fulfill. But people don't trust the media either. A record 56% of Americans believe the media is intentionally misleading them. In other arenas, people promise love to another and then don't mean it. And employees may feel they are in demand, and do less (visit a restaurant in 2021). Other Americans accept benefits and insurance for being unemployed when they could be employed instead, but do not as a lifestyle choice. Even medical doctors are trusted less than they once were, even pre-Covid. And the list goes on. I'm sure any area tested except a minor few would show similar results. All of that is just illustrating a point.

     Yet: Integrity matters, but it is elusive in our times. This means we as Christians, as living out our faith, must examine our own hearts and minds to ensure we are people of integrity (Psalm 116:11). We must take that saving faith in Jesus, and live out a uniqueness to the Lord that testifies to Him (admitting we too, are not perfect). As many churches say, "no perfect people allowed." But that does not stop our seeking integrity, which is, an act of growing in purity (aka sanctification as theologians say). 

    In the Old Testament, king and prophet in Israel David once wrote, "O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?" Or you could say, who is worthy to come into your holy presence? (Psalm 15)

    He added the one who "does not slander with his tongue and does not evil to his neighbor" and who "swears to his own hurt and does not change;" and so on. (Psalm 15). In an ultimate sense, only Christ is holy enough to enter the throne room of God the Father. There is a perfect tabernacle in heaven as the Bible says. The earthly one was a mere type and pointing forward as a foreshadow of the greater.

     The point is this, we must walk the straight and narrow way. Solomon adds in Proverbs 10, "whoever walks in integrity walks securely." And also Proverbs 12 "lying lips are an abomination to the LORD" as are as well dishonest weights and measures, Proverbs 11:1. Proverbs offer general truths and guidance for real life dilemmas. They are perfect for refining your character as part of the walk of faith. 

     Try some things to bring integrity deeper into your life than it already is as a Christian. Not as an exercise in guilt, but as a way to be pure unto the Lord God, seek out in your heart if you are keeping your word, valuing integrity of speech, measuring things and contracts rightly, and if you have agreed to something, doing it. Help friends to keep integrity by using your friendship as a way to pour in words of follow through and upbuilding and direction to what is noble and good. When anyone in Christ by faith fails, confess the sin 1 John 1:9. Then move ahead in integrity again. The Lord forgives and enables next steps. You'll grow stronger as you draw nearer to the Lord in heart, mind, and will. (Psalm 27) Rejoice in what God rejoices in too. Find pleasure in the fulfillment and keeping of one's word. It is there that a peace and contentment is found as part of your walk with Christ. God bless.

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