Tag Archives: integrity

Your Responsibility

The world tries to tell you that you are only responsible for yourself, and sometimes that even isn’t something that is taught. But the Bible speaks about an integrity the world does not understand. We have a great responsibility, as well as many responsibilities along the way. If we want to live for Jesus, we must be intentional. If we desire to walk in faithful obedience, we cannot ignore our responsibilities.

In Deuteronomy 22, we read about someone coming upon their neighbor’s wandering sheep or goat. The verse tells us that the person should take it and return it to its owner. This speaks of an expectation that consists of going above and beyond. It might require you to go out of your way. It might require you to spend some extra time to get it done. Part of you may justify just keeping the sheep, clinging to the phrase, “Finders keepers.”

Going the extra mile glorifies God. Not ignoring the opportunity to help bless someone glorifies God. Don’t ignore these opportunities that come your way. Consider this opportunity to be a gift. Go the extra mile and watch what happens.

“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.” – Deuteronomy 22:1 [NLT]

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Reliability

I have always tried to be a reliable person, but I’ve failed like everyone does from time to time. We cannot always do what we desire to do in life. The Bible says for our yes to be yes, for our no to be no. This makes things very black and white. This is something that helps us to be a person of integrity. People see our consistency. People trust our reliability. We are a better witness to Christ Jesus when we let our yes be yes, and our no be no. Our word is trusted.

The Bible tells us that when we are given much, much is then required. We have a responsibility. It is not always an easy responsibility, but we can rest in these black and white boundaries. If we are a people who do our best to have our yes mean yes and our no mean no, we are not setting ourselves up for failure. We will be seen as someone with reliability. Our words and deeds will be more likely be trusted. We will glorify the Father more by the consistency in our lives.

Don’t grieve over your past failures. I have said “yes” many times and something came up that shook things up. Take time to respond with wisdom and truth when asked to serve in a new ministry. Will you have the time? Is this where God is leading you? With the responsibility you have been given, understand you will have to say yes to some things, and no to others. There is no allowance for a yes man in ministry. When you zero in and say yes to the things God is leading you to do, you will find that serving is a joy, and there will be fruit from the reliability of your word. Remember it is not the yes or the no that matters. It all comes down to giving God the glory He alone deserves. It all comes down to pointing to Him.

“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48 [NLT]

 

Pole Smashing

On the way home from my daughter’s track meet, we got to see a town square pole get uprooted and smashed by a big freight truck. It was something I’ve never seen before, but it was also a teachable moment that I took advantage of when it was available. The reason the truck driver could not navigate the turn is because someone else disobeyed the traffic signs and pulled over a car length ahead of the line to stop. The truck driver had no room. Even when the lady in the car reversed as far as the car behind her permitted, it was not enough for the truck driver. Then it was a chain reaction. Truck 1. Pole 0.

My daughter was upset. She was concerned that someone would have to pay for the pole, and that someone would have to put the new pole in place. She didn’t understand why the lady did what she did, and she thought that she should be punished for putting the truck in an impossible situation to navigate. At the same time, she wondered if the truck driver would be punished because he did drive up on the curb and tear down the pole. This is where my teachable moment came into play.

We can easily agree that the lady should have stopped where the law says she should stop. We can easily agree that no one should be driving on curbs, though as a truck driver daughter, I understand why it had to go down that way. If the lady would not have pulled up so far, then the truck driver likely would not have driven on the curb. Nonetheless, this is a situation where we can argue that both parties did something wrong. Just because the one party caused the other person to do something wrong, doesn’t make the other person’s wrong any better.

Consider now, the topic of sin. Sometimes we do something that is bad, and then we place that blame on someone else “making” us do it. No one makes you do it, but somehow it seems like they do when we do something wrong. Why is that? We don’t like to be wrong. We don’t like to be found guilty. We don’t want to look like the bad guy. The other person made us do it. When we say this, it makes us feel better. It takes away our responsibility. It makes us feel like our dirty hands are not-so-dirty. But it is a façade. The truth is, wrong is wrong and right is right. If you lose your temper and act in anger because someone sinned against you, then your hands are dirty. You are guilty. There is no, “she made me do it,” that will change your guilt.

What can we do knowing that we cannot push off blame? Accept responsibility for your actions. Confess. Repent. When you do this, you accept the forgiveness our merciful God offers. This will result in something much better than blaming another could ever achieve. Forgiveness. Spiritual Growth. Integrity.

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13 [NLT]

“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’  Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” – Genesis 3:12-13 [ESV]

Lights Out

Signing your name to something is often known as an endorsement. When you sign a check, you are endorsing it. By signing your name on the check, you are giving your word that there is money in your bank account to cover whatever amount is on the check. In life we endorse more than just checks. We can endorse people by giving them a written or verbal reference, or by slapping a bumper sticker on our car. We can endorse products by writing a review. When an accountant prepares your tax returns, he endorses the returns by signing them. When a person inspects your vehicle, that inspection sticker is an endorsement, stating that the car passed inspection per the state codes.

But what happens when one endorses something but it turns out to not be good? Often when a person’s word was trusted but found to be unworthy of trust, there is a loss of moral authority. This past week, I was on the bad end of a faulty endorsement. My family was blessed with a new van; however, the fellow that sold the vehicle promised to inspect it so it could have a fresh inspection sticker good for another year. I was happy and appreciative of the gesture. I was not happy a few days later; however, when I found myself being pulled over by a police officer for malfunctioning lights. They would have been checked with the inspection. What do you mean a few are out? How could that be? Today a different mechanic looked at the van and said he never saw anything like it. So many bulbs that weren’t working, among other items that would have failed with a state inspection. It was clear that I would never do business with the man that sold the van again. He lost my trust.

Integrity and moral authority are important; however, the world does not pay much attention to these items anymore. It is so often that one can lie and cheat their way to the top. We have accepted some sins as not-so-bad and traded the truth for a lie. We will endorse anything, not caring what it will do to our moral authority. Doing our best for God’s glory is put on the back-burner. Power, pleasure and possessions trump grace and truth. Today, remember God’s word reminds us we are not part of this world. We have a higher calling. Walk with integrity friends. You may be the only gospel a person reads. Point to Jesus.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3 [NIV]

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2 [NIV]

Integrity

Honesty. Moral uprightness. Integrity. It is something you are not just given. It is something you earn. It is something you can lose in the blink of an eye. It is something of great importance. Often in our society today we don’t see its importance. We see people in the limelight fall from great heights, months go by and they are back on top. But understand this isn’t integrity—this is fame. In the real world, what you don’t see on television or read in the paper or online, when a person loses his or her moral authority, it is not so easy to reclaim.

Integrity is something to value—it is something that will help you to be of great use to God’s Kingdom. Recently I was told about a person who was walking around sharing the Good News with everyone she met. She understood the importance of the Great Commission. Yet her technique was forceful and judgmental, absent of love. Even more so, integrity was not a word one used to describe her. She spoke of God’s Word, but she lived something very different. The end result was people turning away.

Today I implore you to understand the importance of your integrity. Yes each of us will fall short, each of us will sin. But let us seek strength and encouragement from the Spirit so that we can be men and women of integrity, godly examples that reflect Christ. This is something we cannot do alone; we can only do this through Christ. But living a life of moral uprightness will share Christ with more people than your words. That is a true testimony.

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.” – Psalm 15 [NIV]

The Blame Game

It is very clear that many people today have a problem with accepting blame for their actions. When they make a mistake, they try to cover it up. When they get caught in a lie, they lie some more. When someone is found out, the person tries to pin the blame on someone else. There is a lot of pointing fingers and a lack of integrity in this world.

This was an issue with my kids when they were younger and I’m sure that my sister and I did the same thing when we were young. Rather than accept the consequences, the blame is passed to someone else. I am not sure if it is a fear of punishment or something altogether different, but it happens. It actually has been happening since the very beginning. In Genesis 3, during the Fall, when God speaks with Adam regarding the apple, he points to Eve. When Eve responds to God, she points to the serpent.

If you don’t accept the blame when you are at fault, you become disillusioned. You begin to point to everyone else as the problem when you face consequences for your actions. You never can learn and grow from your mistakes and missteps when you do this, but instead, you will grow bitterness and anger because you think the world is out to get you. To be one of integrity, own up to your mistakes and learn from them. You will make mistakes. You will mess up. Accept this along with the consequences. God has so much more for you. Yes you will be corrected. Yes you will be rebuked. Yes you may pay a price for what you have done. But owning up to something and taking responsibility is important. Don’t play the blame game.

“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’  Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” – Genesis 3:12-13 [ESV]

Good Company

It is very difficult to deeply immerse yourself in the world and expect to live a godly life. It is important to spend time in good company because these people will help you to “keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.” Hang around those with integrity, those who are honest, those who will help build you up and equip you, those who know and love God and who are devoted to studying God’s Word and who regularly worship the Lord.

When you spend a lot of time in bad company, it wears off on you to the point no one can tell the difference between you and the worldly. Imagine a cup of water. The cup of water represents the godly life. The water is clear. However, if you take a tea bag (bad company) and dip it in the water, slowly the water changes color and taste. Little by little, you can add more tea bags or simply allow the tea to soak through the bag in time. The water changes. It’s no longer water. It’s tea. It is the same way with bad company.

We are to interact with sinners, to spend time with sinners. Each of us is in fact a sinner. Plus, if we were to isolate ourselves after being saved, then how would the Gospel be shared? Still, we all need a great community of godly friends to walk with us through life. I thank God for my mentors, my friends, my good company. They have helped to strengthen me, to pray for me, to point me in the right direction, to share Scripture, to comfort, to encourage. Join the company of good men and women.

“So—join the company of good men and women,
keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.
It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land,
the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives;
the dishonest will be gone for good.”

-Proverbs 2:20-22 [MSG]

 

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Heard All About You

Word of mouth is powerful. Many times you will hear things about people, sometimes good things and sometimes not so good things. Reputation is something that may take years to build and seconds to break. When you are searching for a job or a college, personal recommendations and letters of reference are beneficial. You want people who will speak well of you to provide these items. The question to ask yourself is if you poll people who know you, would they say about you? What do they “know” about you? What would others discuss?

When Ruth and Naomi returned back to Naomi’s hometown, word spread quickly of the grand return. Not only did those who knew Naomi speaking of her return, but people were speaking about Ruth the Moabite as well. People were discussing her loyalty and kindness to Naomi her mother-in-law. Word had spread. People noticed her commitment.

Boaz said he “heard all about” what Ruth did. This reputation undoubtedly encouraged people to welcome Ruth, and Boaz to quickly agree to act as family redeemer. May people speak just as kind words about you today. How is that possible? It requires living with integrity, acting in love, generously opening your hands and being bold in your faith.

“Boaz answered her, ‘I’ve heard all about you—heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. God reward you well for what you’ve done—and with a generous bonus besides from God, to whom you’ve come seeking protection under his wings.'”

– Ruth 2:11-12 [MSG]

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The Cost of Integrity

When Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man and the people began to call the duo gods. Paul and Barnabas tore their clothing as a sign of mourning and shouted at the crowd that they were only human. They could have accepted the glory for themselves. They could have allowed the people to sacrifice to them as they had wished. Instead they spoke of the living God, and things changed.

Even as they spoke the words, the people still attempted to sacrifice to them. But then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium. The Jews influenced the crowd and the men that were once considered gods were now looked at differently. Paul was stoned. He was stoned so badly that they thought he was dead (see Acts 14).

Integrity is rare today. Here we see Paul and Barnabas standing firm. Paul might not have been stoned if he had accepted being called Hermes. But then the message he was sharing all over would not have meant much. The message never changes. The Bible never changes. To be taken serious, we must walk with integrity. We must stand firm even if the stones will come flying. If we present anything but the Truth, we won’t be taken seriously. Integrity costs.

“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” – Titus 2:7 [NLT]

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