As we look at the world around us, we see some signs that values once held close and honored are slipping away. No longer is your word something to be trusted. We may have good intentions but if we do not follow through then our integrity is in question. How good is our word? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Integrity is a simple concept, let your yes be yes and your no be no. But as we know, things are not so simple these days. The gray areas of not really saying what we mean or doing what we commit to have led to distrust. That in turn leads to a cynical view of the world around us. We tend to see the negative and not the positive. That distorts reality and destroys hope. We have to pull ourselves out of this spiral; it only leads to death and destruction.
Think for a moment how encouraging and refreshing it is when someone keeps their word. Think about how you feel when you can count on someone. When we ask a question and get a straight answer. It is possible to have integrity, even in the world we live in. The key is to reflect the character of God, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We tend though to be tainted by the environment we live in and we reflect the ways of the world; sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. God’s word tells us we will not see things through His eyes if we pursue the ways of the world.
We need to learn that this is a life and death decision, one way leads to life, a full life. The other leads to death.
John 10:10;NLT; The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Integrity plays such an important part in living a rich and satisfying life. I am sure we don’t realize it but simply saying yes or no and following through is the beginning of satisfaction. We don’t need to dress things up to convince people we mean it. We need to fight the temptation to package things so they look attractive, when in fact they are self-serving. We tend to think we need to manipulate the situation for our benefit. At times we want to appear more important than we are.
The term down to earth come to mind when I think of someone who simply says yes or no and means it. I think of a person that is real, a person that is trustworthy. I don’t have to figure out what they are trying to say or if they are really saying anything at all.
Sometimes we want to appear more important or more significant in the eyes of others so we embellish and manipulate. That type of person gets exposed eventually and develops a reputation of being unable to be trusted. Oh, we may seek their advice but then the process of having to find the truth in their comments begins.
Acts 5:1-5a; NLT; But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died…
Ananias wanted to look good in front of everyone. He wanted people to think he was doing a great thing. He wasn’t being truthful and it cost him his life. We, in a similar way, lose our life when we live without integrity; when we do not live in a way that honors God.
We are used to looking the other way, bending the truth, and telling a little white lie. Do we have the courage and strength to stand up for what is right in God’s eyes no matter what the personal cost is? In that process we demonstrate our faith or lack of it, in Him to provide for us.
God wants our very best, our first fruits. Is that what we bring or do we bring Him the remnant and want the best from Him in return? I would encourage us to bring our best to God and place it as His disposal. Give him our best hours of the day, our best abilities and our first fruits.
Let us make every effort to live a life with integrity that honors God. Then we will know what a rich and satisfying life is.