What Price Integrity?

We have been asking the question what price. This is important, because if we really want something we must be prepared to pay the price, whatever that may be. What price holiness; what price revival; what price wealth or unity or forgiveness, but today I want to wrap up this series by asking, what price integrity?

Integrity is something talked about in politics or business, but rarely found. It’s rarely found because most people, though they say they have integrity, willingly compromise it to get whatever it is they want.

In the book, The Day America Told the Truth, of those surveyed,

  • 91% said that they lie on a regular basis.
  • 86% said they lie to their parents regularly,
  • 75% said they lie to their friends,
  • 69% said they lie to their spouses.
  • 65% said they regularly called in to work sick when they weren’t

Proverbs 20:6-7 (ESV)
Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?
The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

PROSTITUTE survey. How much money would it take for you to sleep with someone you are not married to?

WHY BOTHER TO HAVE INTEGRITY?

Integrity is defined by the dictionary as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” So given that the rest of the world is cheating and lying and bending the truth, why should we have integrity. Won’t that disadvantage us?

In the natural you could argue this, however the Bible says

Proverbs 11:3 (ESV)
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

The Hebrew word for integrity is TUMA, which means innocence. Another word is TOM, which means completeness, fullness, simplicity.  In the NT the word is APHTHORIA, which means incorruptibleness, purity, soundness of character. You get this impression that integrity is like a pure spring of water, untainted by the ground around it.

Here’s some reasons why you should have integrity.

1. SAFETY

Proverbs 10:9 (ESV)
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

Integrity means safety, and never having to look over your shoulder. Remember Basil from Fawlty Towers? He would lie, then have to lie bigger to cover the first lie, and so on. When you walk in integrity you have no fear, because you have no skeletons in your closet.

2. REPUTATION

1 Peter 3:16 (ESV)
having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame.

Integrity means that your reputation is one that is sound. You will not easily be put to shame, and if they try, the mud doesn’t stick. Integrity means sticking to your principles, which should be God’s principles, no matter what the loss.

Philippians 3:8 (ESV)
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Titus 2:7-8 (ESV)
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

3. CLEAR CONSCIENCE

Acts 24:16 (ESV)
So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

A clear conscience means you can stand up tall with confidence. Last week we talked about being unjustly attacked. If your conscience is clear, no matter what they say or accuse you of, you can stand in integrity. This is how I have faced and triumphed over false accusations. Whatever they say about me, I know in my heart of hearts what is true and can stand upon this truth.

4. CONNECTION TO GOD

Proverbs 12:22 (ESV)
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

I want to delight God and to bless the Lord, oh my soul! I want to be connected to God and please Him. Compromising your integrity is sin because it severs your relationship to God.

Psalms 66:18 (ESV)
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

I am not prepared to lose my relationship with God for anything, because that is what is most important to me in the world!

WHAT IS INTEGRITY FROM GOD’S VIEW?

Psalms 15 (ESV)
O LORD, who shall sojourn (abide) in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbour,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honours those who fear the LORD;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

Let’s look at the ways we can delight the Lord and abide or dwell with Him because we walk in integrity.

1. INTEGRITY IN HEART

Who shall abide or dwell with you on your holy hill?

Psalms 15:2 (ESV)
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;

Ever been around people who twist every comment into a sexual innuendo? I know some Christians who do this, and I really think it reveals something about their heart. Jesus said…

Matthew 15:18 (ESV)
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

Luke 6:45 (ESV)
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Integrity in your heart means you see through pure eyes. You see the best in others, you see the goodness of God even in the pain of life. It’s a wonderful and freeing way to live.

Hebrews 13:18 (ESV)
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honourably in all things.

2. INTEGRITY IN WORDS

Psalms 15:2-3 (ESV)
who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbour, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

A person of integrity is very careful with their words and tries to be very positive and encouraging. Integrity means not gossiping, not criticising, not putting others down.  Remember, out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

A person of integrity doesn’t tell smutty jokes, doesn’t try to bring down another, even if they deserve it. They love, and the leave the rest to God.

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

3. INTEGRITY IN ACTIONS

Psalms 15:4 (ESV)
in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honours those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

The Hebrew for vile person is MA’AS, meaning despise, refuse, reject. The person of integrity does not entertain the member of God’s people who rejects covenant life. They don’t hang with back sliders and compromisers, but they honour those who fear and serve God. Because the name of the Lord matters to the person of integrity.

Then there is this, “who swears to his own hurt and does not change;” Integrity means you honour your word, that your word is your bond.

So often in business, people say things then go back in it if it doesn’t suit them. Negotiating for this building here at Ignite, they tried at the last minute to add $75,000 to the asking price. Fiona negotiated and said, we are people of our word, and asked them to be the same. They agreed. Praise God! Jesus said

Matthew 5:34 (ESV)
But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,

Matthew 5:37 (ESV)
Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

God puts the highest priority on personal integrity (i.e. character, honesty, honour, faithfulness) as it relates to keeping our promises and commitments–to God and to others (cf. Dt 23:21-23). He keeps his promises and does not seek to get out of them, even if that ends up being costly to him–because when he swears, he has taken God as his witness.

It is better not to make promises than to make and then break them. God is a person of his word, and He expects his followers to be people of their word.

Integrity not only means keeping your word, and speaking God’s Word but also speaking out against wrongs. Our words have power, especially if we align them with God’s will.

4. INTEGRITY IN FINANCES

Psalms 15:5 (ESV)
who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Recently I bought some optical equipment from China. The lady serving me online asked if I wanted them to make the invoice for less so that I would pay less duty. Tempting, but I said, no, please make it for the full amount. She was surprised, but I won’t compromise my honesty, integrity and conscience, and relationship with God for a few bucks.

Integrity means absolute honesty in matters of finance. What this verse talks about is taking advantage of those in need. We have to be careful to honour God and be generous to those in need, not exploit them.

Luke 12:34 (ESV)
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Integrity means paying your taxes, not bribing officials, giving generously and being honest with your money.

WHAT PRICE INTEGRITY?

Few things give Christianity a bad reputation faster than those who claim to follow Christ but who have no integrity. Who goes to church and praise the Lord, but are known to lie and break their commitments?

What does this mean in a practical sense?  Some examples of how we break commitments include not paying our bills on time; not giving our best efforts at home, school or work, or church; or not being honest in our relationships with others. We must follow through on our promises and commitments, even when they turn out to be more difficult than we expected.

A life of integrity might cost you something, but obedience delights the Lord and allows you to be closer to Him. The price of integrity is obedience, and yes obedience costs, but in the long run the benefits are eternal!

Doug Sherman and William Hendricks compared the ethics of Christian and non-Christian adults.

  • They found that almost as many Christians steal from work as non-Christians,
  • Almost as many Christians use company phones for personal long distance. As non-Christians
  • And they found that Christians are just as likely to falsify our income taxes, and commit plagiarism, and give bribes to obtain a building permit, and ignore construction specs, and illegally copy computer programs, and steal time from work, and exaggerate our products, and selectively obey the law.
  • It seems that when it comes to integrity, Christians aren’t much different from the lost.

But God calls us to be different, a peculiar people, called out and set aside. Different from the world. In our personal and business lives, Christians are to be different from other people.

We must have integrity…

Philippians 2:15 (ESV)
that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

This week we have seen the incredible example of the Manly 7, where at great cost to themselves and under intense fire. Seven players stood for what they believe. If anything typifies our woke society this did, where in the name of inclusion they were excluded from the team and mercilessly attacked by media and social media.

These seven men showed real strength and maintained their integrity where everyone around them compromised. The club and the NRL, like every institution in this country, are full of spineless, weak-minded individuals who give in to this political bullying because they are self-serving and scared of the LGBT lobby.

As Jordan Peterson said, “If you think strong men are dangerous, wait until you get a load of weak men.” Weak men who compromise and sacrifice their integrity on the LGBQ Alphabet soup altar of tolerance, are destroying our society!

This is our moment to shine in our generation, but to do this we must have integrity, in speech, in action, in finances and in life. On every issue of life. We need strong men and women like Daniel, like Shadrach, Meschach and Abednigo, like Joseph, like Steven, like Paul and especially like Jesus!

What price integrity? The price is obedience and conviction. The price is knowing God’s Word, obeying it and not wavering.

Hebrews 10:23 (ESV)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

I am asking you to make a life changing pledge today, that you will be men and women on integrity. In every aspect of our lives, we will do the right thing no matter the cost. Not just Facebook opinions, but in real life, when it really costs something to honour God. I am asking you to stand firm, even if you are attacked, ridiculed, disadvantaged, or despised, because obedience to and honouring Christ is above all.

TO OBEY IS BETTER

King Saul made the mistake of being all religious without acting like a servant of God. He disobeyed God’s clear command and thought he could fool God by being religious. You can go to church every day of the week, but without obedience, you are fooling yourself.

1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV)
Samuel said,
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

What price integrity? Obedience and conviction, standing firm no matter what. When we stand for what is righteous, despite the attacks, God will never forsake us.

In the Bible Joseph had integrity and God prospered him. Daniel had integrity and God saved him. If we have integrity in every area of life and we stand for righteousness, we can trust God.

1 John 5:4 (ESV)
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

QUESTIONS

WHAT DOES INTEGRITY MEAN TO YOU?

HOW CAN YOU SHOW OTHERS YOUR INTEGRITY?

WHAT IS GOD ASKING YOU TO HAVE INTEGRITY WITH?

 

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