Integrity

ornament-708799_640Genesis 20:5: Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” (ESV)

Integrity can mean sincerity, plainness. The king being quoted in the focus verse was trying to give a reason why he should not be punished for doing what he did at it was not from a heart of wickedness.

Integrity is about not being duplicity, not saying one thing and doing the other, not making and breaking commitment at will.

In the book of Malachi, God warned the men from being unfaithful to the wives of their youth through divorce (Malachi 2:14-16). Integrity has to do with keeping commitments. It is about faithfulness.

God is known for his faithfulness, commitment to his own word. He said thousands of years ago that as long as the earth remains seed-time and harvest will not cease. He said he will not again destroy the world with water (Genesis 9:11-17).  We can count on those two things happening.

He has integrity he keeps his word and expects the same from us. He does not waste his word, he does not speak to the gallery.

He said that as the rain comes to the earth so is his word, it does not go back to him void but achieves the purpose for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11). God’s word is packed with creative power and they create the reality that they express. He would not say something and turn around to say he did not say it. Peter said that Jesus has the words of eternal life (John 6:63).

Our words are very important, to the limit that we are committed to our own words, we have integrity. We should not be flippant with words. Jesus said that we will account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36).

Words are powerful, and we should say what we mean and mean what we say. Jesus said it this way: let your yes be yes and your no be no (Matthew 5:37); any other thing comes from the evil one. It is as serious as that.

Remove lying from your lips. That is one of the things that the bible says you need to have a long fulfilled life (1Peter 3:8-13). When you know you should not lie, you will avoid doing things that you will need to cover up or have to misrepresent the facts.

When Samuel was declaring the judgement of God on King Saul, to show him it was irreversible, he said the strength of Israel, i.e. God, will not lie (1Samuel 15:29).

Paul confronted Peter at a time for his lack of integrity. Certain Jewish converts came into town and in order not to be disapproved by them, for his association with the gentiles, Peter stopped associating with the gentiles, the way he was doing. Paul said: I confronted him because his behaviour is not in alignment with the truth of the gospel. He blamed him for believing one thing and doing another, for believing that in Jesus all are accepted and being hypocritical in order to please some people (Galatians 2:7-17).

It was the same Peter who denied Jesus three times. Before then he said that he was going to die with him (Luke 22:33-61). Would it not have been better for him to shut up his mouth, rather than say one thing and do the opposite? Integrity is saying what you mean and meaning what you say. We need to try our best to pull through in fulfilling our words.

If integrity means commitment, then the three men of David who broke through the garrison of the Philistines to get him water from the well of Bethlehem, at the risk of their lives, to fulfil the wishes for David, are great examples of it.  They did not care for their lives to be able to please their leader, they met his spoken desire (2Samuel 23:14-16). They allowed his words to guide their action, we should have the same relationship with the Word of God.

Jesus expression similar integrity in his death on the cross. He made a commitment to lay down his life and pulled through. He had the chance to pull out, but he did not. When he was about to be arrested and Peter was trying to prove tough, he said that he could ask for angels to come in his defence and the Roman soldiers will be summarily dealt with (John 18:1-12, Matthew 26:47-54). He, however, did not take the easy way out, did not try to avoid the bitter cup that God wants him to drink (Matthew 26:39).

He was the epitome of integrity. That is why at the end of the day the bible says that Jesus has been given a power above every other (Philippians 2:5-11). Once he fulfilled the word of God, his name was invested with the power that cannot be resisted because he did not resist the will of God, yielding to the death of the cross.

Integrity is a quality of the heart and that God sees the heart. He says that he looks at the heart while we humans look at the appearance (1Samuel 16:1-13).

That was what he told Samuel when he was about to make the mistake of anointing the wrong man king. He was taken by the appearance of the Eliab who was the first born of Jesse and was imposing in appearance.

God focuses on the core of our person. And his transformation work also goes deep there. There is where the gifts of the Holy Spirit are expressed: peace, joy, love, faithfulness (a quality of integrity), and God is not just about giving us a makeover on the outside but on the inside also (Galatians 5:22-23).

It is not enough to profess a need for change, complaining about yourself or complaining about others, we need to be remade, transformed from within, because unfaithfulness is a rot in our unregenerate “gene.”

The best of man is imperfect, but the very life of God bubbling in us makes all the difference, turning us into men and women of integrity, designed to respond to situations like Jesus would, manifesting his integrity.

Paul said that we should act wisely towards those who are outside, walking circumspectly not as fools but wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:13-20). And walking in wisdom involves walking in integrity. When we walk in integrity, our consistency and truthfulness will be an example to others, and we shine as light.

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