16 Aug Integrity – The Cornerstone of Character
This word integrity is from the root word Integer, which means whole number.
The word has to do with wholeness, being true to God, to one’s self from one’s heart. There must be guiding principles for integrity to be real. Wholesome principles that are true and act as a grid through which events and circumstances in our lives are judged. It has to do with being just, right and truthful.
A key example is found in Genesis 20:5-6 where a king who was told that Sarah was Abraham’s sister was planning to take her as his wife. God intervened in the matter and confronted the king for attempting to take another man’s wife. His reply was that he did what he did out of integrity of his heart and God said He kept him from sinning because he was doing it out of a heart of integrity. It is interesting to note that the man was kept from sinning by God even though he was wrongly informed. No wonder the psalmist said “let integrity and uprightness preserve me for I wait on thee” (Ps. 25:21.) This verse of scripture captures integrity like no other one I have seen: “How I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart and have done what was good in your sight” 2 Kings 20:3. The standard of reference is God Himself. Walking before God in truth implies doing according to His Word; a loyal heart is one that is faithful beyond convenience. When you are committed beyond convenience, you are faithful; when you are faithful beyond your convenience, you are considered loyal. Finally, according to this verse, the psalmist does what is pleasing in God’s sight: God is all-seeing, He sees the hearts and knows our motives (whether they are selfish or self-seeking), so seeking to do what is pleasing in His sight is to be true to Him with all our hearts.
What makes it hard for people to walk in integrity is that a lot of things are built on falsehood. Many have believed many lies and built their lives on lies and falsehood. Deceptions and underhanded practices have characterized many lives to the extent that they do not seem to know that life can be lived in simple truth. They have lied about everything in their lives including who they really are!
The slant in our humanity that tends to prefer rebellion to submission to God or selfishness to selflessness is called Iniquity. The bible says God has laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all. When we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, we need to allow ‘the Cross’ to separate us from that slant in us. He identified with us in our sinfulness so we can identify with Him in His righteousness. You can start a new life in Christ if you repent of your sins and surrender to His lordship.
One practical expression of integrity is the ability to say what you mean and mean what you say – when your heart and mouth are in harmony. Keep your word. Be a person of your word. When you say something, let others be able to reckon with the words of your mouth. The benefits are much: your faith will work better; you can learn the right lessons and heaven can reckon with you. Integrity is the cornerstone for faithfulness and faithfulness is the hallmark for character.
This quality is worth aiming at for its full development in our lives. Integrity as a quality will keep us from doing wickedly against the covenant of God. Those who do so will be corrupted by flattery according to Daniel 11:32. Integrity will act as a guiding instrument in your life as you navigate through the complexities of life’s circumstances.
It’s a quality that can be built into your life through your relationship with God and His Word. When we allow God’s Word to have final authority in our lives we are on the path of developing integrity of heart. Making the decision to do what is right in God’s sight may cost us something, but if we approach it with a heart of integrity, God will share His wisdom and ways with us. Also learn to look to God and not to yourself, as He is your builder and lifter. His Word is the tool He will use to build this quality into your life. Be quick to repent and have a change of mind if you find you are not faithful. Learn to stay faithful to your heart, to God and to truth in spite of your mistakes or faults. Be quick to receive corrections.
See the following verses of scripture for further meditations: 1 Kings 9:4 | Psalms 25:21; 41:12; 78:72; | Proverbs 11:3; 19:1;
The Lord grant grace for us to walk in integrity of heart! Amen!