Living with Integrity
by Laura Masoner
Webster’s defines integrity as the state of being complete or whole, and the Oxford dictionary adds the word “undivided” to the definition. The Hebrew word is tom which means complete or solid. Many of us understand integrity as being morally sound and honest, which exemplifies being undivided, solid and complete. The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy and duplicity, the very sins that Christ brought to the forefront when he confronted the religious leaders of the day.
To live with integrity, your heart must be undivided and focused on your Kingdom purpose and not your own desires. If you are divided, meaning that you straddle the fence between God’s kingdom and your own, you lose integrity because you allow your flesh to drive you. If you seek your own pleasures and not God’s will, then you are in conflict with who you say you are in Christ and how you behave. There is not complete unity with Him, your heart is divided, and you will remain incomplete instead of becoming a fully devoted follower. Having integrity is what will determine which desires prevail, your own or God’s. A subtle lie that sometimes leaves us in a state of moral decay is that our motives are not inwardly focused 100% of the time. Often times we may have a kingdom perspective, but only when it is appealing or easy and not when it costs something or takes us out of our comfort zone.
Being solid means being the same whether or not anyone is looking. A solid whole person is not duplicitous but is honest, reliable, and honorable even when it’s hard or when others are not. Circumstances do not define when a person with integrity displays their integrity. Even when mistreated they are unwavering and strive to behave with God honoring morality. The inability to remain solid and be the same in public as in private has been a growing trend. The lack of integrity is the reason kids cheat on tests, find remorse only when caught, and applaud themselves or each other when successful. It is the reason for scandals such as Enron, WorldCom, Bernie Madoff and the like. A compromised integrity is itself moral failure, and results in any or all of the following: marital infidelity, lying, cheating, manipulation, corruption, stealing, and even gossip. A person without integrity misrepresents Christ’s character.
Many people think that as long as no one knows what they are doing, they can feign the Christian walk and talk. This is most definitely not true. There are always subtle hints that do not go unnoticed by others, and you only fool yourself into believing that it is hidden from view. Most of all, God knows. He is the one about whose opinion we should be most concerned. He knows every lie by omission, every minute we surf the net when we’re supposed to be working, every time we say something behind someone’s back, and every time we commit to something and don’t follow through. Integrity is the demonstration of who we are in Christ in public and in private. It is the very definition of James 1:22– “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”.
When I think about being whole, complete, and solid, I think about the Rock, Jesus Christ, on whom our foundation must be built. He is unmoving. He doesn’t crumble, abandon, lie or change. He must be the basis for our integrity, because morality based on societal definitions and are ever changing, are always subjective and degrade as society degenerates. God remains the same, yesterday, today, and forever-Heb 13:8. Who else in this world can make that claim?
This week, pray that God will reveal areas in your life that are not in line with His will, may lead you into sin, or differ with who you are supposed to be in Him. Pray for His strength, guidance, and wisdom to recognize and avoid a compromise to your integrity.