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DEFINING MY INTEGRITY
Why is Defining My Integrity significant?
It is significant because it means you know that your character (vision for your life), your honesty, and your integrity are all defined by your word. And if your words have “power,” then it’s a matter of whether you choose, by free-will, to use this God given power for “positive” or “negative” influence as you live your life’s vision.
· It means that you are honest with yourself, others, and God.
· It means you value integrity as your moral compass, creating a lifestyle (credibility) that engraves into the very fibers of your DNA such things as honesty, genuineness, thoughtfulness, considerate, respect, trustworthiness, and moral uprightness as your guiding principles.
· It means you are a man or woman of honorable character.
It is with your integrity that you establish a solid foundation of moral uprightness that continues to build upon a resolute character (Above the Line Thinking) through trust, accountability, honesty, credibility, and respect for yourself. Your integrity constitutes your character or reputation (vision for your life) to your word. There is no Gray area. You are either in alignment (Above the Line Thinking), or out of alignment (Below the Line Thinking) with your word. Although, you will not be perfect; however, striving for progress over perfection is your ultimate goal.
What does Defining My Integrity look like?
Integrity is your “character” code, like a North Star. A North Star is a landmark that helps those who follow it to determine direction as it glows brightly. It’s not grey, it’s bright, visible and without argument its characteristics make it the North Star. Your beingness is directly tied to your values, beliefs and character. Who do you want to Become when it comes to you and your word? Would you want to say, "I AM a man or woman of integrity!"
Throughout your life, you can expect your integrity to be challenged and tempted. There are many parallel stories in the Bible where men of God, as well as Jesus were tempted against their integrity. Here's a story about Joseph.
“The story of Joseph and the coat of many colors, comes to mind”
Genesis 37-50. Joseph appeared to be his father (Jacob’s) favorite child and his brothers were jealous. In the story, Joseph shared with his brothers about a dream (vision for his life) where he saw his brothers bowing down to him. This dream, along with the coat given to Joseph by his father, infuriated his brother into hatred towards him. They then devised a plan to throw him into an abandoned well and sell him to traveling merchants. Joseph ended up as a house slave to Potiphar, the captain of the guard in Pharaoh’s palace in Egypt. During this time, Potiphar’s wife took to admiring Joseph, who later “tempted” Joseph to sleep with her. HE REFUSED, and because he refused and ran away from her, she was furious and decided to falsely accuse him of attempting to rape her. She then had him thrown into prison. Yet, Joseph never lost faith or bent in his integrity. Whereas God eventually rewarded Joseph by releasing him from prison where Pharaoh appointed him second in command over his entire kingdom because God used Joseph’s integrity and gifts for his purpose. Ultimately, because of a famine in the land, Joseph’s brothers traveled to Egypt to obtain food for their family. They found themselves, without knowing, fulfilling Joseph’s dream, by bowing down before him to request much needed food for their family. Joseph once again had a moment of integrity to invoke ‘revenge’ or ‘forgiveness.’ But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? [Vengeance is His, not mine.] As for you, you meant evil against me (Below the Line Thinking), but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome, that many people would be kept alive [as they are this day]. So now, do not be afraid (Above the Line Thinking); I will provide for you and support you and your little ones.” So, he comforted them [giving them encouragement and hope] and spoke [with kindness] to their hearts (Above the Line Thinking). The moral of the story is “you can never do wrong by doing right!” Determine what your word and integrity mean to you and determine to walk in integrity with moral uprightness. Remember progress over perfection.
What “if” you identified where you struggle keeping your word or promises, and got support, how would your life be different? How would you feel walking in integrity?
It is not always easy to stick to your morals and values, especially when the world tries to shape you into someone you’re not, just to fit in. Sometimes it seems impossible to be true to who you really are. Therefore, without integrity, you’d be constantly adjusting to the standards of the world, compromising the essence of your very soul.
This is why it is one of the most important core values a person can possess. By this one virtue, it shows you are congruent with who you are and are NOT afraid to show who you really are.
When you have integrity:
It means you actually live your life according to “your” morals and values
It means you’re honest to everyone you meet and everything you stand for and even if their values are different from yours, you DON’T COMPROMISE. You don’t compromise to “fit in.”
It means you’re frankly who you believe you are, you say what you mean and mean what you say. People come to you for advice and your opinion because they trust what you say.
It means people can trust and rely on you.
It makes you a better person in terms of potential, trust, and respected
It generates a good reputation of how people see and talk about you.
It means you have more peace.
It means you feel more confident.
It leads to better relationships.
It leads to better sleep.
It inspires others.
When you DON’T have integrity:
You don’t know who you are
You are unreliable
You are untrustworthy
You compromise your values, ethics and morals
You have a negative reputation
You often feel exhausted, tired and incongruent when you compromise your morals
Your relationships suffer both personal and professional.
Your health suffers
Your sleep suffers
Bonus example: Medal of Honor Recipients view on Integrity:
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. It reminds me of when I read the core values of the Medal of Honor recipients.
One of the three ways they demonstrate this is by “making honesty a habit.”
It is not only a character trait, it is a “lifestyle.” It is regularly holding yourself accountable, accepting responsibility, and facing the consequences of your actions.
The second way is “show respect always.” There is but only one lens when someone walks with integrity. It is the lens of respect through race, age, social status, political beliefs, and even to those who wrong you. It is demonstrating integrity by treating all members of our society as equals regardless of differences.
And lastly, they demonstrated integrity by “volunteering to help.” A person with integrity often puts others before themselves with a servant mindset. Therefore, the act of selflessness through volunteering is the embodiment of a strong moral footing.
•Leadership is impossible without integrity, and integrity is inconceivable without trust.
•Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking
•Integrity is moral virtue
•Integrity is the bedrock upon which good character is built
Going Deeper in the Word
How are you living with integrity in a world where the corrupt seem favored, not to mention our battle with our own sin nature, is challenging? Listen to the apostle Paul in this book of 1 Peter.
“Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” - 1 Peter 3:13-18 (NLT).
As believers we are called to be like Jesus. Therefore, as new creations in Christ we are without blemish (tainted or at fault) and righteous before God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 & 21
Therefore, in Christ, we also have the indwelling Holy Spirit at work in us, sanctifying us and making us more like Jesus.
When you accept the free gift of Jesus by calling on Him to be your Lord and Savior, confessing your sins before him and asking him to forgive you, an everlasting miracle of the grandest scale takes place in your heart. It is the process of “adoption” into his family. Off with the old and on with the new. You no longer belong to this world. We become sons and daughters of the Most High God. It is at that very moment you surrender to Christ, you are redeemed and the greatest “renovation” project of a person’s life takes place. The Holy of Holy’s, God’s Temple is constructed in your body. You now possess the temple of God within you. You are blameless and righteous before God because Jesus intercedes on your behalf.
2 Corinthians 3:18
We are also to strive to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
It is by God’s power that we become increasingly people of integrity.
We are called to obey God and, in so doing, to be people of uncompromised morality and integrity.
Believers should be those who adhere to the truth and who do good works.
As Believers we are to walk in “Integrity.” We need to live to a higher standard of morality and incorruptibility. Believers should be those who cannot be bribed or compromised because we serve God rather than men.
Colossians 3:17 & 23
We are to be people who keep our word. Say what we mean and mean what we say.
We are to love those around us in both word and deed.
1 John 3:17
We are called upon to believe in God and therefore to follow Him in all our ways with integrity.
John 6:19, 15:1-17
Our lives should line up with our belief in God by demonstrating evidence that we trust that His ways are best. Our (fruit) results will align with our integrity.
Additional verses for walking in integrity:
2 Corinthians 8:21
1 Peter 3:16
1 John 4:7-10
What is integrity. Simply put it is doing what is right with strong morale principles according to one’s beliefs and values.
I am reminded of one the most popular children’s Bible stories of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and the fiery furnace.
The story unfolds while the Israelites were in exile (captivity) in Babylon. The Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar was in charge and demanded that all people in Babylon, including the Israelites, bow down and worship his ninety foot tall and ninety foot wide golden statue once they hear the musical instruments play. And If anyone disobeyed his decree they would be punished for disobedience, saying, “Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace” - Daniel 3:11.
As the story continues, the musical instruments sounded and everyone bowed down and worship the golden statue, except three Israelite men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Even at the risk of being burned alive, these three men of integrity refused to commit idolatry.
When confronted by King Nebuchadnezzar, the three men were unshakable in their convictions. Again, the King commanded them to bow and worship him. They responded with the following, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” - Daniel 3:16-18.
It was this type of steadfastness and boldness and resolute in their faith that resounded the upmost “integrity.” They refused to give into his pressure, and they were unafraid to willingly enter into the fiery furnace. They were so clear in their faith, obedience and integrity that they would rather die than worship anyone other than God (Yahweh).
Hence, they enter into the furnace, and an angel appears in the flames with them. They walk out of the furnace completely unscathed, and in unequivocal awe Nebuchadnezzar answers and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted him, and set aside the King’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.” - Daniel 3:28-29. The King decreed protection over the three men and their God from that day forward and promoted them over Babylon.
The reason this story is so powerful, is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego not only displayed integrity in private but also in public. They knew who they were and whose they were. They refused to renounce their faith in God, and they willingly gave their own lives to show faithfulness to God. It is only by the grace and provision of God that they were spared in the furnace.
Beware of the three consequences when integrity is lacking
Credibility - When there is inconsistency with a person’s words, promises and or commitments they become less credible. And when credibility suffers, people are less likely to believe in them. They will often find less and less people coming to them or respecting them. In the case of the three Israelite men they earned incredible credibility with the King by trusting in God wavering any consequences man could offer and giving reverence through obedience to God instead.
Relationships - Relationships always suffer when integrity waffles. Trust erodes, and distance widens. Ultimately it is a lack of personal leadership which is the ability to influence others. In addition, these three Israelite men chose to honor God’s relationship with their integrity.
Confidence - When integrity waffles so does one’s confidence, as well as others towards you. If you are lacking in integrity, you inwardly lose a sense of moral authority with your words or actions. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood with valiant confidence, not in and of themselves but rather confidence in God.
Being a person of integrity isn’t about perfection, but it is about the direction of one’s heart. Someone who is faithful repents, displays the fruit of the Spirit, and lives a life directionally in submission to the Lord, not directionally in opposition to the Lord.
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