Integrity. What does it mean? How would you define it? More importantly, do you have it? Would those around you say that you are full of it?
Integrity is not an easy word to define. It’s one of those words that people define in different ways. But I define integrity as this: HONESTY. Integrity is living a life of honesty – a life where I am who I say I am, and my deeds are visibly in line with my words.
Integrity comes from the same root word as “integer” – meaning one, or not divided. A life of integrity is a life where you are one person, not many people. You’re the same person on Sunday mornings as you are on Monday mornings. You’re the same person in front of the spotlight as you are when no one’s looking. Integrity. One. Honesty.
As much as we demand honesty from others, there’s one person that we are willing to put up with some dishonesty from. There’s one person that deals with us dishonestly on a regular basis and we accept it and don’t say a word. Who? OURSELVES!
From the very beginning of time, human beings have been masters at hiding from the truth. We hide the truth from others and also from ourselves. Remember back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and disobeyed God? What was their instantaneous response?
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:7-8
They hid themselves? From who? From God? Did they really think God wouldn’t see them?
I don’t think they were just hiding from God; I think they were hiding from themselves. They were trying to cover up the truth and deny the reality of the situation. They knew they blew it, but instead of facing up to it, admitting it and asking for forgiveness, instead they tried to hide the truth and cover it up.
That’s what we do too isn’t it? When faced with our shortcomings, we do whatever we can to cover it up and make ourselves look and feel good. We make excuses. We blame others. We deny reality. We do anything and everything we can to avoid admitting the truth.
AND THE ONLY PERSON WE'RE FOOLING IS OURSELVES!
We become like the person who doesn’t want to weigh himself because he is scared that the scale will tell him he’s overweight. So he just avoids the scale and convinces himself he’s fine. Who’s he hiding the truth from? HIMSELF!
This past Sunday, I spoke about the 5th core value at STSA which is:
CHRIST-LIKE INTEGRITY. We believe that our personal integrity is the greatest reflection of our relationship with Christ. We know that true spiritual maturity is measured by obedience, not knowledge.
If we are going to become people of integrity, we need to set aside time regularly examine ourselves regularly and make sure what we say matches what we are. King David says it so beautifully in Psalm 15:1-2:
“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart.”
What is integrity? It is speaking the truth from your heart. It is admitting the truth about where you are and what state you’re in. It isn’t reaching perfection, but it is striving for it and being honest about your shortcomings. If we want to be blessed by God, we must become people of honesty and people of integrity.
Discussion: How can we get better at living lives of integrity and not deceiving ourselves?