*The third in a series of posts covering the book Checkpoints.*
Integrity has many synoymns, and phrases that fit its definition. Having integrity means “your yes is your yes, and your no is your no.” It means maintaining honesty, and being truthful.
As it is in everyday life, so it is in Christianity as well. Jesus is our greatest example of a man maintaining His integrity. We are to follow His lead and look at the example He set when striving to keep ours as well. There are a number of things that factor into integrity, but they’re all predicated by one main one: LYING.
Lying, along with pride, are probably the foundations for all other sin. Satan is even called “The Father of Lies”. We all do it, whether we admit to it, or even realize it. When we lie, we set in motion issues and situations that eventually can cause us problems later. If the lie is proven false, our word becomes tainted, and people begin to mistrust us. When this happens, our standing with people suffers, and our position does as well. It’s of vital spiritual and natural importance to have truth as much as possible on our lips, and in our hearts.
Because lying can affect our integrity as much as our identity, guarding against its feeders is just as important. CHEATING is a form of lying. Taking shorcuts and skipping steps are all part of cheating. If we’re called to do something, doing it the “right way” is best. Not only is it best, but it can keep us from having to do it over again. Whereas doing it the right (honest) way in the beginning is easier, having to go back later to correct it wastes time and energy. Life is easier when we don’t cheat.
When we commit to something, many times it’s a knee-jerk reaction. We almost instantaneously say yes, and only later consider what we’ve acquiesced to. This later consideration leads to BROKEN PROMISES. The Bible explicitly tells us we are to be careful with our words, and our commitments. If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves stretched too thin, and not honoring our commitments. People will begin to look at us sideways when we commit to something; halfway expecting us not to follow through. It’s not a direct lie, but our integrity will be questioned. Make it a point to not commit to anything before thinking it through, or praying about it.
If we lie, if we cheat, if we have a track record of breaking promises, but expect others not to do it, what are we? Full or HYPOCRISY.
“Do what I say, not as I do” could be called the hypocrites’ oath. If we espouse what God’s word says do, yet don’t do it, we’re living a lie. How can anyone take us and our desire to live for God seriously when our life doesn’t line up with His Word? We’re called to be Christ’s ambassadors, meaning we should represent Him in all we do. He’s our model, and we’re to align ourselves with His example. People should see Him when they see us, and we shouldn’t do anything that will give people a false view of Him.
If we try to engage in MANIPULATION, then that’s exactly what we’re doing. In a sense anyway. If we offer a false example, then we’re (again) living a contradiction of the Word. Getting folks to see what we want them to see, and not who/what we really are. This is the mark of a manipulator. Much like with hypocrites, manipulators attempt to “set the scene”, and it’s not based in truth. Take a stand to not only let the truth show, but call out what isn’t the truth.
The tests of Integrity are tough. The only way we can overcome them is to hold tight to the truths of God’s Word. The Word is the only thing that can help us, as we strive to be men of integrity. It’s the purifying fire that separates the absolute truth from lies. The absolute truth is the Jesus Christ. We must let Him be the light that shines in our lives for those around us to see that His yes is His yes.