Integrity: Key to Selflessness

There is a crisis of integrity in the world today.   I was impressed to write about this recently during a church prayer service.  Soon afterward, I saw someone’s status post on Facebook about integrity.  A little later, my former pastor and employer, Bishop Keith Butler’s daily internet devotions began addressing “integrity.”  I believe that it is time for me to follow this inward witness and address the topic here on this blog.

A lack of integrity affects one personally as well as that person’s family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and community.  When thinking about this, I recall the title of a sermon given by one of the assistant pastors at my former church: “Is You Is What You Say You Is When You Is All Alone?”  Bad English, for sure, but it makes me think of the importance of being real at home alone, with my family, at work and at school….  My heart’s desire is to be authentic and live a life of worth that will bless my family and those I encounter each day.  I can do this if I develop and hold fast to Integrity as the standard for my conduct.

Let’s first define what we mean when we use the word “integrity.”

http://www.dictionary.com defines the noun integrity as:
          1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
 2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
 3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.
                                Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/integrity
 

Our integrity keeps us constant in our daily walk with God and interaction with others.  Our integrity keeps us in the peace of God when we are all alone and have opportunity to act outside of holiness because it seems that no one is watching.   Our integrity will motivate use to keep pressing forward, against all odds, against all opposition, against all contrary feelings to a deeper level of personal holiness.  Our integrity motivates us to be imitators of God as dear children.  God spoke in Malachi, “I am Jehovah, I change not…”  We learn in the Letter to the Hebrews that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  We are charged “I am Holy, therefore you be Holy.”

Our soundness is most secure as we draw near to Christ and seek to be like Him.  As we yield to the holy influence of Holy Spirit, we are changed from glory to glory.  You may have heard the saying, “God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.”  Why does it seem that God won’t leave us alone?  Well, Psalm 8 tells us that He is ever mindful of us.  We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for Good works that God ordained for us to complete before the foundation of the world.  How can we complete our calling and fulfill our purpose apart from our Creator?  Without Him we are nothing.  With Him we can do all things.

Integrity causes us to cling to our Creator like static electricity causes the fabric of your clothing to stick to your body.  We are joined with Christ… so much so as far as God is concerned, we are seated with Him in Heavenly places – far above all the mere mortal things of this world.

Integrity is perhaps measured by how closely we adhere to the mold shaped for us into which our lives conform by the help of Holy Spirit.

How can we know our integrity apart from an independent investigative report from God?

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Scripture References

    1. Genesis 20:5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.”
    2. Genesis 20:6 And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. )
    3. 1 Kings 9:4 Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments,
    4. Job 2:3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
    5. Job 2:9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
    6. Job 4:6 Is not your reverence your confidence?And the integrity of your ways your hope?
    7. Job 27:1 Job Maintains His Integrity ] Moreover Job continued his discourse, and said:… Job 27:5 Far be it from meThat I should say you are right; Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
    8. Job 31:6 Let me be weighed on honest scales,That God may know my integrity.
    9. Psalm 7:8 The LORD shall judge the peoples;Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, And according to myintegrity within me.
    10. Psalm 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,For I wait for You.
    11. Psalm 26:1 A Psalm of David. ] Vindicate me, O LORD,For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip.
    12. Psalm 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;Redeem me and be merciful to me.
    13. Psalm 41:12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,And set me before Your face forever.
    14. Psalm 78:72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
    15. Proverbs 10:9 He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known.
    16. Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.
    17. Proverbs 19:1 Better is the poor who walks in his integrityThan one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
    18. Proverbs 20:7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.
    19. Proverbs 28:6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
    20. Titus 2:7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,

Integrity in Action

 The scriptures listed below lead me to conclude that we act in integrity when we willingly conform to God’s righteous standards.  This means that we first must acknowledge our need for God’s assistance.  Secondly, we allow His Holy Spirit to fill us with His love and wisdom, guide us, correct us, lead us, and strengthen us. Thirdly, we base our actions on how the Spirit of God leads us to express His great love to our family, neighbors and strangers we come in cantact with.  Love fulfills the law of God and pleases God.  We learn in 1 John 4:8 that God is LOVE.  God is integrity.  When we keep ourselves in the love of God (receiving His love for us and acting in love towards others) we are operating in the integrity of God.  Love NEVER fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

In fact, God’s love constrains us to not fly off the handle, act foolishly and lose our integrity.  What a blessing to be loved by such an awesome God.

Leviticus 19:34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

 Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? {walk…: Heb. humble thyself to walk}

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 

 James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

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