HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
The character of integrity exhibits the obedience and practice of the moral code of ethics, morals, values, and precepts from God’s Word. In practice, integrity will produce honour, truth, and reliability. It will allow one to keep his or her word and do the best even when no one else is aware. This is essential for deeper relationships, and of course for developing other people’s confidence in you and Christianity (Psalm 15; 78:72; Proverbs 2:1-11; Micah 6:8; Luke 3:13-14; 6:31; 11:42; Romans 13:5; 14:5, 14, 22; Ephesians 6:6; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:22-23; 1 Timothy 1:5; 3:9; Titus 1:7-8; James 1:9-11; 1 Peter 2:12; 3:16; 2 Peter 1:5-11)!
Hypocrisy, Dishonesty, Duplicity, and Corruption are the opposites of God’s call! When we carry out these evil traits or do not keep our word, we are misrepresenting Christ’s good Name and are defiling Him with our feeble words and/or excuses.
- Hypocrisy gives people a false impression of God and His Church!
- Insincerity gives people a false impression of who we are called to be; it nullifies integrity and character!
Integrity is considered the quintessence and application of Character. It is the demonstration of who we are in Christ and that our faith is real and backed up with our attitude and word. The absence of integrity is an indication that we as Christians are perhaps fakes and frauds at worst, and ineffective and useless at best. It is essential that we pursue integrity and His transforming work to make His Name real and shown (Romans 12).
Jesus calls us to integrity, which means we are to be true to our word as a testimony to our faith in Him. We are not to be worldly with our words or the veracity of our virtue and character. Everything we do as a child of God must be in integrity, truthfulness, and honesty, as we are representing Him who is living in us! Consistent integrity is essential for the person who claims Christ as Lord of his or her life!
So, the question is, are you a person of integrity? When we say we follow Christ and His Word, do our actions show that we do? If not, we are being a Pharisee (they are not fair, you see), which is being a hypocrite. This is reprehensible before our Lord and others around us because we are misrepresenting Christ and His character! Thus, it is imperative that when we say we are followers of Christ, our character and behaviour reflect Him and His call to the best of our abilities. If we are in leadership, this is even more imperative. We demonstrate integrity when we do what we say and act out what we believe; if not, we are a fraud, and woe to us for being one!
The Bible calls us to a higher level of excellence than that of others around us-one of truth, love, honesty, and functionality. This is integrity in action; it is the implementation of His Ways in the practice of our daily Christian lives. We are adhering to His rules, morals, and principles (Zecharius 8:16-17). This means we, as people of the faith, will place character, without excuse, ahead of our ambition. Most of all, we will have the focus to glorify God and not ourselves. In so doing, we will be doing the right thing all the time with no guilt or fear and nothing to hide. So, we do what we say we will do from the practice of God’s Truth and Character that He has for us. We must be willing to do this regardless of our comfort, convenience, challenge, or controversy-without excuses. (In addition, to do what is contrary to His Word and say we must do it because we said we would for integrity’s sake is also evil). His ways give us meaning, and leading a righteous life gives us satisfaction.
We become a Christian by the work of the Spirit. But, our maturity in Christ and how we practice our faith is determined by the choices we make from the conviction and confidence of our beliefs. We choose to take the faith He gives and make it more real and effective. We choose to make the right choices or not, so we have no excuse when our life is messed up by neglect or poor choices. Yes, we have forgiveness and grace, but we are still left with a life that could have been so much more. So, we have to make the determination and be willing to align our lives to His Word and precepts so our behaviours represent who we are in Christ. After that, we need to be more conscious of the decisions we make, both large and small, without the compromise of solid ethics.
We must also be on guard with people who will do all they can to try to convince us to give up our integrity and character. There will be appealing arguments, passionate pleas, peer pressure, rationalizations, and ridicule on a personal level for why we do not need integrity (Job 2:3, 2:9, Proverbs 29:10; 1 Corinthians 15:33). Do not fret or despair when others come against you (and they will), when you stand up for truth, or when you keep your word; because of your integrity, you will be doing the right thing and you will be rewarded (1 Kings 9:4-5, Nehemiah 7:2, Psalm 41:11-12).
So, let us, without regret, lead lives that are worthy. Our call is to do as we teach, to do as we say, and to act as we teach others to act. Integrity is of the utmost importance for the Christian (Exodus 8:28-32; 1 Thessalonians 2: 10-12)! Why? Because God is righteous and just and wants us to be our best in this area, too. The reason the Pharisees are equated with hypocrisy is that they were worshipping not the God of the Jews and the Law, but a made-up god that suited their own thoughts, schemas, and pride. They also covered truth and integrity with their hidden agendas and deceit (Psalm 103:1-14; Matthew 23; 1 Tim. 3:2-7; 1 Peter 5:10)!
The fuel that will enable us to maintain our integrity is our understanding of “fullness.” This is knowing who we are in Christ, and what He did for us on the Cross-that we are complete in Him! Then, we can be better able to comprehend that the Word of God is our authority. All you do, as a Christian, is a response to what He has first done in you. Couple that with the application of His Word, and it will instigate the right mark and practice of our behaviours. This is our integrity.
I pray that as we conclude this mini-series on the character of a spiritual person that we have learnt some areas of our lives that need improvements.