Integrity: The quality of being strong and having strong moral principles; having soundness and wholeness in faith, word and deed.
As we observe the landscape of leaders in our country, sometimes it is difficult to find a very many who stand out as wise, strong, morally true, sound—those who have true integrity. Yet, our hearts long for stories of those who are brave and good; those who sacrifice their lives for the good of others, who are trustworthy and true.
Integrity is something that is embraced and developed over time. It must be taught, practiced, lived to grow strong and vibrant. When Clay and I dreamed up the 24 Family Ways when our children were young, we wanted them to have strong foundations of godly character and an understanding of what it meant to please God so that they could develop integrity. Integrity must be taught, practiced, modeled.
The next Mondays of my podcast will be mostly devoted to reviewing a 24 Family Way for you as adults and for you to ponder as you teach them to your children. I would encourage you to get your own copy and teach them to your children. We went through the Ways 3 times with our children before they left our home. I hope it will be of great encouragement to you to practice and develop integrity in your own life.
I have learned the most about integrity by pondering my walk with God, searching my heart for attitudes that are not worthy of His love for me, seeking direction from His word, is a yearly foundational search of my heart.
We live in a world that, from the beginning, cares what people think. Seeking to keep up with the "Joneses" is age old. But scripture is so very clear that God wants our focus, our love, our heart to be on Him first and then our obedience to the very values of his heart.
Surrounded by a world that gives us permission to be self-centered, we glance at ourselves and all of our pictures on facebook, cell phones, listening for that little bing that says someone has thought of us---Hey, everybody, want to look at me and notice what I am doing and comment on my blog and give me higher numbers if I give things away and, and, and..........
We become our own idols and strive for recognition and affirmation. It is not wrong to desire to be loved and to belong. But Jesus meant for us to find our meaning in our family, our community of believers, those we serve in our own day to day lives. We were meant tie our lives to flesh and blood people who we spend our lives to help, so that we can better understand Him, who spent all for our sakes.
In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells of the lives of those who could pontificate and argue the law and wear the robes of righteousness, and yet, he exposes their worthlessness to God by their heart of neglecting those who really needed redemption--the man caught by robbers, left for dead, beside the road.
But really, who has time to give to such a person--we have our appointments, our priorities, articles for blogs, our day-timers and schedules to keep.
"Just a minute, can't you see I am doing something important!" I ,I, I, .... the endless I and me, me, me..........
"Let not a wise man boast of His wisdom, let not a rich man boast of his riches, let not a mighty man boast of his might, but let him who boasts, boast of this, that He understands and knows me, for I delight in these things." Jeremiah
"He who keeps his life will lose it, but he who gives his life will find it."
And yet, as I read His words over and over again, I understand anew, it matters little what others think of me, if God is not at the center of my desire to live for His glory and the focus of my actions in serving others, as He did.
And so this week and really this summer, I am searching again to find, how I need to reorder my life to please Him, what is the work He has given me to do, how may I invest in real people with real needs, so that His loving touch will reach those in my culture.
What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?
And then, when I live in true integrity of following hard after Him, my children find the real him living in my home--not philosophy or curriculum or denomination or rules--the the real Christ who lays down His life, shepherds the sheep of his fold, the servant king who cares about real people.
True personal integrity comes from following hard after Him and obeying and loving obeying what He has called me to do.
What does integrity look like to you?