The first thing i looked at before i wrote this post was google the meaning of the word ‘integrity’. I came across the meaning of integrity according to wikipedia. I thought it was good so i’ll share it on here:
‘Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrity#Christian_integrity)
That explanation is pretty long but i think it is very complete. Integrity is very important in our lives. In relationships with people it is important. There’s nothing as shameful as saying you are something and not showing any qualities that exhibit that you are what you say yoi are. It just gives people the impression that you are not a real person. There’s nothing also as bad as being lukewarm in life. Being neither here nor there. Just being a mixture of many things altogether. You don’t have a definite identity when you’re not fixed and you just want to act how you feel you should act, instead of realising that to be real you have to stay in the boundaries that you have created in your life.
Some people don’t have any boundaries in their life which is obviously a life of confusion. But some people do have boundaries but want to go outside their boundaries and do what they want; they want to have the best of both worlds. For me, i’d rather be a friend to someone who hasn’t got boundaries at all, than be a friend to someone who has got boundaries but never conforms themselves to staying in those boundaries. Not having any integrity is living in hypocrisy.
I’ve been speaking quite abstractly so far and u may not be able to relate this to personal experiences if i don’t make it practical so i’ll give an example. For example, these days its common for people to have their religious beliefs on their facebook accounts. If they’re christians,muslims,buddhists,agnostics or atheists, their statement of faith defines who they are. What they say they believe in should define who they are. But i don’t want to have to ask you your religion to know it because its all part of who you are. Now, if you profess to be a christian, and your life is totally a contradiction to what you profess then it doesn’t make people respect you at all. Integrity is making your actions consistent and conform to what you say you are. Not saying you are christian, but having a half atheist, half christian life. If you are christian, then be a good one. Don’t be neither here nor there.
I sincerely believe this is one of the major reasons why the church hasn’t got the power it ought to have today. We have a combination of half atheists, half christians professing to be christians, and in the process bringing the name of Jesus to shame. I’m going to be blunt and say if people are comfortable swearing or doing anything that does not agree with the christian faith around you, then you need to re-examine yourself. You’ve probably been doing it along with them for sometime. I think its so painful when you find christians doing totally opposite things to what they believe in, especially in the presence of people who do not believe in God. What you do, represents what Christ would have done, when you put yourself in the ‘Christian’ category. People that need to know God may never meet him till they meet you. So if you know you’re going to represent the christian faith badly, then i think its better for you to just profess to be ‘Half atheist and half christian’. I believe if christians start to take responsibility for their actions then the church would penetrate the hearts of people worldwide. Right now, christians are more on the ‘talking’, but if you don’t walk the talk then everyone’s going to say you’re a fake and a hypocrite.
I believe we are saved by grace by faith(not by doing good works) but like what James said, ‘where is your faith without your works’. James 2:14 says:
What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?
And then he goes on to say in verse 17:
So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).
We are saved by grace through faith, but by all means, if you there are not actions or obedience to come under our profession of faith, then we need to go back and check if our faith is alright. And actions of obedience, might not necessarily mean giving all ur money to the poor or something like that. It just means being obedient when we’re prompted by God- which is also not as complicated as christians may interprete that. Every christian is always continually prompted to do something good for themselves or someone else. It may be something as little as saying Hi to someone, or giving someone a hug, or sending a text just to encourage someone or even forgiving someone when they annoy you. It is those little things that change the world, not necessarily feeding all the poor people in your area.
I like the way joyce meyer speaks about grace in one of her sermons. She says: ‘Grace is not an excuse to sin, but the power of the Holy Spirit to help you not to sin’. That is exactly what it is. If you’re looking for an excuse to sin then you need to check your faith because the goal for every true christian is always to overcome sin, and to do good works.
I think that is something we can learn from muslims. I don’t know about the muslims you know but for me i’ve never had to ask any muslim i’ve met what their religion is, because they are true to what they say they are. They don’t just say something and do something completely in opposite.
Its nice to evangelise and tell people about God, because we have been commanded to do that as christians by Jesus, and many atheists might get offended and call that ‘Bible bashing’ (but yeah when you decided to come into christianity you decided to inherit both the blessings, and the persecutions that come from being in christ). But i think our life is a louder voice for evangelism than just talking about it or preaching. Talking about it is good, but letting your life agree with what you claim to be, is better.
Proverbs 2:7 says: 7He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it for the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him); He is a shield to those who walk uprightly and in integrity.
Proverbs 25:26 also says: Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring is a righteous man who yields, falls down, and compromises his integrity before the wicked.
Finally, Ephesians 6:14 says- 14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God.
Your integrity is your breastplate against the Devil. Remember, changing the world doesn’t have to be something big, it starts with very little things you can do in your home or community, school or workplace.