The importance of integrity in the life of a Christian is becoming increasingly more significant. As we witness corruption in the lives of people in every walk of life, we can understand why Jesus called us to be "the salt of the earth and the light of the world." We are to stand out from the rest of society, not because we chose to dress differently or live in a community of like-minded people, but because we chose to conduct ourselves with dignity and honor.
Webster's New World Dictionary defines integrity as:
1) the quality or state of being complete, unbroken condition; wholeness
2) the quality or state of being unimpaired; perfect condition
3) the quality or state of being of sound moral principle, upright, honesty.
Wouldn't it be refreshing if we could return to the days when a person's word meant something and his handshake was his bond? God desires for us to walk in integrity. He wants our yes, to be yes, and our no, to be no. He wants us to say what we mean, and mean what we say. In other words, if you don't intend to follow through on a commitment, don't commit yourself to begin with. As we consider integrity issues in our own life, we need to look not only at our actions, but at our thought life as well. Proverbs 23:7 states "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he..." This verse clearly explains that if we don't control our thoughts, they will soon affect our actions, which is why God tells us in Romans 12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but, be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Sin that is obvious to one person may be a blind area for someone else. Our expectations of people often times are based on our own upbringing. If we were raised with honor, trust, forgiveness, etc., we will most times extend those same courtesies to others and in turn expect them from others as well.
Problems arise, however, when the expected courtesy that is so obvious to us is not extended and we begin to think of the other person as less spiritual than we are. In other words, we think that we are more spiritual because we feel we would have conducted ourselves in a more honorable way in that situation.
What happens in our own blind area? We need to search our heart and continually ask the Lord to reveal to us the little foxes that spoil our vine, our testimony. Areas where we haven't reached God's standard of integrity.
Challenge yourself to do the same. Walk in integrity. When you walk in integrity, it helps those around you to walk in integrity. Proverbs 13:20 tells us "He who walks with wise men will be wise." And Proverbs 27:17 says "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
Countenance, in Webster's New World Dictionary, is derived from two words meaning "bearing/conduct" and "the way one holds oneself, restraint" and it refers to the word contain. Contain is derived from two words, com= together, and tenere=to hold. "Contain" can either mean to hold something or to hold something back or within fixed limits; restrain. An example would be a dam, which contains water within a fixed limit, and restrains the water from flooding the surrounding area.
In the same way, according to Proverbs 27:17, a friend can sharpen our countenance, our conduct. A friend can help us to "contain" ourselves and hold back ungodly conduct. Once again, Proverbs 13:20 says "He who walks with wise men, will be wise."
The Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:10 prays for the saints in Colosse so that they "may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowlege of God." In Ephesians 4:1 he wrote "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called..." and in Philippians 1:27 the Apostle Paul wrote "Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."
Walking in integrity is not a goal to achieve but a lifestyle to maintain.
”And in whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:17.
C. Renee Smith