As followers of Christ, living a life of integrity should be considered of great value to us. Our love of God, above all else, should inspire us to make walking in integrity a priority in our lives. Without it we lose our witness. It is necessary that we determine to be the best representation of Christ in a world that needs to see the righteousness of God.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17
Some have come to the conclusion that Christians are hypocrites. They believe that we do not practice what we preach. Of course, we know that as human beings we are flawed and we will not be perfect in our Christian walk. Thank the Lord for His amazing grace! Yet, His grace is not to be trampled upon. Although, we are saved by grace and not by works, scripture also states that we are to work out our salvation. We are to live according to the word of God. We are to follow Christ’s example of loving others well, humbly serving, with kindness and compassion. We are to do everything with excellence as unto the Lord and not men (Colossians 3:23).
David was called a man after God’s own heart, yet He still sinned. He slept with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. Then he strategically planned Uriah’s murder to get what he desired. He succeeded in doing so and proceeded to live his life undeterred until God spoke through the prophet, Nathan to bring his dark deeds into the light and usher in repentance (2 Samuel chapter 12:1-14). David confessed His sin to the Lord.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5
God does not hold us to a standard of perfection. It is unattainable for us. He is a perfect God who loves us in all our frailty and weaknesses. Yet, there are consequences that ensue as a result of our sin. He created us in His image and desires for us to be devoted to representing Him with integrity and grace.
It is often quoted that integrity is “doing the right thing when no one is looking.” We are to be the same person in private as we are in public. Integrity is not perfection. It is being honest and authentic about our weaknesses, yet displaying the character of Christ in our interactions with others. It means that we keep our word, we are dependable, trustworthy, loyal, and practice good judgment. It means we make wise decisions that are not based on our emotions. We speak and stand up for the truth even when it is not popular. Walking in integrity says to the world that we are children of the Most High and it is our greatest desire to be a reflection of Him at all times!
Too many of us are not willing to emulate the same behavior that we expect from others. We want to be forgiven for the wrongs we have done but are unwilling to forgive those who have wronged us. We want people to speak kindly to us, yet we do not filter our own speech, taking a moment to respond gently and not hastily with harsh words. We desire others to be patient with us while we expect everything done immediately without issue. And oh how we love generosity! Yet, how generous are we with our time, talent and treasure?
As a follower of Christ, our goal should be walking in faithful obedience to the will of our Father. When we mess up and we will, we hold ourselves accountable. We take responsibility for our actions. We choose to reflect on the things we need to change and ask the Holy Spirit to help us cultivate the fruit that is needed to represent Christ well in all circumstances.
We always have a choice in responding to others. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead because sometimes He will direct us not to respond at all. We should not do as the world tells us. It is not necessary to have the last word. That is simply pride rearing its ugly head. Integrity says do what is right, and for us, that is in the eyes of the Lord, not the world.
It is often the people closest to us that hurt us the most and the same is also true for us. We may cause harm to the ones we love through careless speech or hurtful actions. When we choose the way of integrity, we take full responsibility for our behavior. This means recognizing and validating the other person’s feelings and apologizing. With an apology, there should always be a commitment to changed behavior, as well. This takes the help of the Holy Spirit. He convicts us lovingly and guides us in the path of righteousness.
Heavenly Father, you are good and so worthy to be praised! Thank you for lovingly correcting us. Thank you for your patience as your Spirit guides and directs us. We love you and we desire to please you, to honor you in all that we say and do. Please help us to walk in integrity, to always choose to do what is right even when no one else is looking. Help us not to expect more from others than we are willing to give of ourselves. Father, we know that we can do none of this apart from you and your Holy Spirit dwelling within us. You are our Strength, our Hope, our Rock and our Shield. You are the All-Sufficient One and we need you to reign in every aspect of our lives. Your word says draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Help us to draw close to you so that we will be fully surrendered to your will. Help us to take up our cross daily and follow you with humility, love and joy. May we look more and more like you every day! We worship you and give you all the honor, all the glory and all the praise, in Jesus’ Mighty, Matchless Name, Amen and Amen!!!