I recently heard someone say, “Wow, I went into the bank with a hat and a mask on!” Had he done such a stunt in pre-Covid times he would probably have found himself getting arrested! Things have surely changed in a short amount of time. Before Covid, wearing a mask would have raised suspicion of one’s character, now your character is questioned if you are in public without one. The funny thing about one’s character is that whether you try to conceal it or not, given enough time, the truth will always come to light.
With chaos abounding today, the follower of Christ has an opportunity, and a responsibility, to portray to others that there is still hope and good in this world. God is in the character-development business and He is calling those who follow Him to rise up and live with INTEGRITY. The choice to live by a sound moral character and with honesty requires discipline and humility. Yet, living with integrity yields an opportunity to proclaim to the world that God is still transforming lives, therefore, hope lives!
From the very beginning of the Jewish nation when God instructed Moses with the Law, to the teachings of the New Testament, God has called his people to live with integrity. The reputation and testimony of every follower of Christ hinges on our obedience to this calling.
Look at how the issue of integrity was addressed in these passages.
- In the Law:
Leviticus 6: 1-7, The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “When someone sins and offends the Lord by deceiving his neighbor in regard to a deposit, a security, or a robbery; or defrauds his neighbor;…4 once he has sinned and acknowledged his guilt—he must return what he stole or defrauded, … He will make full restitution for it and add a fifth of its value to it…. 6 Then he is to bring his guilt offering to the Lord:… 7 In this way the priest will make atonement on his behalf before the Lord, and he will be forgiven for anything he may have done to incur guilt.”
- By Jesus:
Mark 10: 19, “You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.
- By the Apostle Paul:
Romans 13: 9, “The commandments, Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet and any other commandment, are summed up by this commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Notice, in each of the passages, God connects the issue of integrity with the principle of loving others. In fact, six of the ten commandments deal with how you treat others. Jesus would sum this up in Matthew 22: 37-39 when He would teach us to “Love Your neighbor as yourself.”
Here are 7 practical ways to live with integrity from the Scriptures.
- Be HONEST in your Business Dealings
Proverbs 11: 1, Dishonest scales are detestable to the Lord, but an accurate weight is his delight.
- Pay your DEBTS.
Leviticus 19:13, Do not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages due a hired worker must not remain with you until morning.
- Don’t WITHHOLD from God.
Malachi 3:8, (ESV) – “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.”
- Choose to Do the RIGHT THING, Leave the Consequences to God.
1 Peter 3:16, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Proverbs 4: 25-27, Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
- Speak the TRUTH.
Proverbs 12: 22, The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
- Treat Others with RESPECT.
Luke 6:31, Do to others as you would have them do to you.
- Control your TEMPER and your MOUTH.
Colossians 3:8, But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.
Remember this, Integrity is a choice. We choose to do the right thing or not. The promise for the believer is that the Holy Spirit will encourage, empower, convict and inspire us to live with integrity if we give Him permission and yield our will to His.
Live with integrity, your testimony depends upon it.