November 24, 2015


Integrity isn’t a word we use a lot but, no question about it, it’s a good thing.  The word means to be complete; not lacking in any part.  It especially applies to moral values that we want to find in people.

In life there is often a fine line between doing something willingly and doing it out of a sense of obligation.  We say that it is our duty to do that which is right and honorable.  That is right, but if we don’t do it willingly, it may be boring and burdensome.  The one who has integrity doesn’t find this impediment in doing what is right.  He does it from his heart.

There is often a lack of doing what should be done when there is a lack of volition.  We are most inclined to do what we want to do.  When I am faced with a choice between writing an article or washing dishes, I’m most inclined to write.  That doesn’t mean it is what is most pressing at the moment.  What motivates a student to get good grades in school?  It might be that he will be under discipline if he doesn’t.  He might have a  noble motive, like being successful in life.  In either case, he may do what is required of him.  It will be an indication that he has integrity if he does it with the right motive.

Proverbs 11:3 says the integrity of the upright will guide them. The Bible talks about walking in integrity.  Psalm 26:1 says, “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.”  When we “walk in” something, we do it without thinking.  We don’t make a deliberate decision every time before we put one foot ahead of the other one.  When it comes to doing what is right, those who have integrity don’t need to stop and deliberate about it.  They just do it.

The Christian, whose heart is right with God, doesn’t find it grievous to live the Christian life.  I John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”  That is why Solomon, in Proverbs 4:23, tells us that we should “Keep our heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

Just because something is the desire of your heart doesn’t make it right.  Matthew 15:19 says “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” We can put forth great effort to do what is right, but if we have these evil thoughts in our heart, we will find it difficult.    I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Too much attention is often given to our emotions.  Some let their hearts make decisions for them.  They are most inclined to do that which gives them the most satisfaction.  When it comes to serving God, some say, I’ll do it:

  • If it is exciting
  • If it gives me a pleasant feeling in my heart
  • If it makes me feel good about myself
  • If I think I’ll get recognition for it.

Such people aren’t going to have much integrity.  They will be lacking something of great importance.  If what needs to be done doesn’t give these end products, they may not do it.

Real integrity comes when we have the proper relationship with God.  The Apostle Paul expressed his desire for the believers in Thessalonica with these words. “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (I Thessalonians 4:1).  We seek to please the ones we love.  What we do out of love isn’t burdensome.  That is why Jesus said, in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

In John 8:36 Jesus said “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  What God asks us to do is for our own good and that of those around us.  His laws are just and righteous.  If our sincere and overwhelming desire is to please God, we will find ourselves free.  In most societies there is no law against doing what is just and right.  Where some wicked religions predominate, there may be laws against living the Christian life.  Aside from that, being surrendered to Christ will set us free.

Integrity, therefore, is to have everything in place.  That is to have all the moral qualities that God wants us to have.  No one is perfect, but our goal should be to increase in integrity.  The more time we spend with God, the easier it will be to reach that goal.  II Peter 1:4-8 exhorts us to move in that direction.  “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.   And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;    and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;   and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.    For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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