Integrity. We hear this word mentioned a lot, especially as Christians. But, exactly, what is it and how do we live with integrity?
Webster’s defines integrity as:
- firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
- an unimpaired condition : soundness
- the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
Dictionary.com defines integrity as:
- adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
- the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
- being honest
- standing up for what’s right
- doing the right thing
Some of the characteristics that stand out to me are:
Honesty. Honesty is essential. Other people need to be able to trust that what you say you will do, you do. They need to know that you mean what you say and say what you mean. People need to know, without a doubt, that you are honest, all the time, regardless of your surroundings or the circumstance.
Morally upright. A morally upright person is one who has a strong set of personal values. You need to have high moral principles that do not become abandoned when you are pressured or persuaded. Honesty, holding on to moral values in the 21st century is super hard, but it can be done, if you seek God’s help in this area of your life. There are so many influences that can easily stray us away and statistics that we can, sadly, become part of if we are not careful.
Consistency of actions. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Do what you say you will do. You CANNOT live on the fence.
Many Christians almost live a split life:
Life #1: I’m a Christian when I feel like it, when it benefits me, when it makes me looks good, on Sunday mornings, on Wednesdays, etc.
Life #2: I proclaim with my lips that I am a Christian, but I certainly don’t live like it. (see Life #1 in reference to when I DO live a 100% life of integrity)
You cannot stand on both sides of the fence….
I love what The Message regarding living “lukewarm.”
“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.”
We make God want to V-O-M-I-T!!!
Instead we need to live out Psalm 26:1-12
vs. 11-12 (NLT) “But I am not like that; I live with integrity. So redeem me and show me mercy. Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the Lord.”
Responsibility and dependability. When you say you will do something, others can forget about it but know that it will get done because you are responsible.
More in God’s Word just confirms what it means to live a life of integrity:
“He who walks with integrity walks securely…” Proverbs 10:9
“The integrity of the upright will guide them…” Proverbs 11:3
As you walk in the light and the life of Christ, you will REPRESENT HIM WELL!
And, simply stated, Integrity is…..”Doing the right thing in the right place at the right time with the right people, even if no one is watching!