want to welcome you to this new month, the month our month of integrity. I pray that the spirit of integrity will envelope you in Jesus name. What is integrity? It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. The psalmist has been known for many things, but not much as being a man of integrity. But a close look at Psalm 26 helps us to know what makes David tick. What drew God as a magnet to this young man that will not let him go? The Psalmist himself gave ten fold testimonies which I want to call his 'walking principles' that guided his life that after 3000 years on earth his descendants still remember him with their flag -The Star of David.
"I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; I shall not slide; Your loving-kindness is before mine eyes: I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons; neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated evil doers; I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. My foot standeth in an even place"
Integrity is one of the fundamental values that employers seek in the employees that they hire. It is the hallmark of a person who demonstrates sound moral and ethical principles at work. While we are not sure of when Job lived, we are sure he imbibed this great quality that was noticeable to God and God did not only admire it but was 'bragging' about it to Satan "Then the LORD asked Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless-a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause." Job2:3;1:1
In a world when people have every reason to jettison integrity. In a world when people, ministers, leaders, students, presidents, senators, governors, house assembly members lecturers, business gurus (Job was a business man Job1:3) are hustling for money and power at the expense of integrity, men like Job were operating on high level integrity.
What is the purpose of this article? To ensure you reap the benefits of a life of integrity. Your lack of integrity is hurting our world. We cannot continue to cheat and defraud one another, embezzle the nation's money just because we have access to it and think it will not have a dangerous effect on this generation and the next. The opposite (antonym) of integrity is deceit, dishonour, disgrace, dishonesty, corruption, incompleteness. Those are not words that should be used to describe you or myself!
Amy Rees Anderson said "If I could teach only one value to live by, it would be this: Success will come and go, but integrity is forever. Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be. Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second to lose, so never allow yourself to ever do anything that would damage your integrity.
A person who has integrity lives his or her values in relationships with coworkers, customers, family and stakeholders. Honesty and trust are central to integrity. Acting with honor and truthfulness are also basic tenets in a person with integrity. People who demonstrate integrity draw others to them because they are trustworthy and dependable. They are principled and can be counted on to behave in honourable ways even when no one is watching."
Let me ask you as an usher, pastor, leader, lecturer, president, senator, governor, market woman, student, voter, vulcaniser, pharmacist, medical doctor, televangelist, housewife, trader, civil servant, bank manager, business owner, realtor, manufacturer, father, mother, wife and husband, do you perform your role with integrity in your heart? Or do you have mole in your eye accusing others of peck in theirs?
Amy Rees Anderson continues in Forbe Magazine "We live in a world where integrity isn't talked about nearly enough. We live in a world where "the end justifies the means" has become an acceptable school of thought for far too many. Sales people over promise and under deliver, all in the name of making their quota for the month. Applicants exaggerate in job interviews because they desperately need a job. CEOs overstate their projected earnings because they don't want the board of directors to replace them. Entrepreneurs overstate their proformas because they want the highest valuation possible from an investor. Investors understate a company's value in order to negotiate a lower valuation in a deal. Customer service representatives cover up mistakes they made because they are afraid the client will leave them. Employees call in "sick" because they don't have any more paid time off when they actually just need to get their Christmas shopping done. The list could go on and on, and in each case the person committing the act of dishonesty told themselves they had a perfectly valid reason why the end result justified their lack of integrity."
I guess the question agitating your mind is how I can become a person of integrity. I can say start now. Determine to live it now. Let us go back to David; he made ten vows in Psalm 26 that I believed help him, it has helped me in my personal life 'not that I have achieved but I am pressing on:'
"I do not spend time with liars, or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked. I wash mine hands in innocence. I come to your altar (serve God in truth). I sing a song of thanksgiving (meaning I am contended with what I have) I tell of all thy wondrous works. I do not go with murderers, bribers and mischief makers. I live with integrity. I stand on solid ground, and I (will) publicly praise the LORD"
The summary of what David was saying is that there are many factors that determine your personality but one of them is your association, so he says I watch the company I am associated with. I guide jealously the kind of people that speak to my destiny. Do you? When you lie down with dogs you get fleas. Inevitably we become more and more like the people we surround ourselves with day to day. If we surround ourselves with people who are dishonest and willing to cut corners to get ahead, make fast money at the expense of others then we'll surely find ourselves following a pattern of first enduring their behaviour, then accepting their behaviour, and finally adopting their behaviour. If you want to build a reputation as a person of integrity then surround yourself with people of integrity. Jeremiah gives us the danger of such life: Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools .Jer 17;11
Warren Buffet, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said it best: "In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first one, the other two will kill you." A person's dishonesty will eventually catch up to them. It may not be today, and it may not be for many years, but you can rest assured that at some point there will always be a reckoning. Maybe the reason you are constantly fired is because you lack integrity. May be the reason your marriage is not working is because you lack integrity. Maybe the reason your business empire has collapsed is because you built it on fraudulent practices and the staff also is making you to reap what you sow? Can you remember how you secured admission to college/university? Maybe you cut corners now the course is too tough for you. Can a person live in integrity in one area such as family, but be out of integrity in others? Yes this occurs all the time. A crooked businessman might be a wonderful father and wonderful husband buying all the best video games for the children and latest cars for the wife, or a cheating wife might love and care well for her children but cheat on her husband. In these cases, neither person is living in integrity unless they correct their behaviour in all areas of their lives.
How do you live a life of integrity? I think a good idea is to make a list of consequences and read it to yourself often. From Leadership magazine, a guy named Randy Alcorn lists consequences of a moral tumble. He says, "Whenever I feel particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation, I find it helpful to review what effects my action could have: grieving the Lord who redeemed me; dragging his sacred name through the mud; one day having to look at Jesus, the righteous judge in the face, and give an account of my actions; following the footsteps of people whose immorality forfeited their ministries and caused me to shudder; losing my wife's respect and trust; hurting my daughters; destroying my example and credibility with my children; causing shame to my family; losing self respect; forming memories and flashbacks that could plague future intimacy with my wife; wasting years of ministry training; undermining the faithful example and hard work of other Christians in our community; and on and on."
As we conclude, resolve from this month to move your life to integrity pavilion. This requires a rather constant re-examination of all aspects of one's life. Look for ways that incongruent or unwholesome ideas, associations, desires, ambitions, beliefs or behaviours have snuck into your life, and then purge them. Job said "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid" Make a covenant with your eyes, with your ears, your mind with your thoughts with your legs, your body that they are for the Lord!
Job tells us the benefit of a life of integrity: But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, he will surely rise up and restore your happy home. And though you started with little, you will end with much." Job 8:5-7. May your life end in prosperity. May your life be a blessing and not a curse to your generation? May generations after you bless you. May you champion the course of integrity for this generation and the next? As the angles of glory carry you to the paradise of Christ may you hear these words from the Master, The Lord Jesus Christ: "Well done good servant enter to your place of rest?