by Bob Young
[may be used with appropriate credit noted]


Look at dictionary, curious word, different, use it, know it, may not know definition. "Quality of being complete, in balance, undivided, unbroken, moral soundness, honesty,; uprightness, without duplicity, without deceit or corruption." The person with integrity is pure gold. From "integer," whole number. A person who has it together. Unity, wholeness, completeness, soundness, health. Integration means to put the whole together.
Real heroes have integrity. Those who have sense of right and wrong, integrity. Those who stand tall, upright, do what is right--regardless. This involves character, not reputation. We worry about reputation, should worry about character. Time to quit pretending, quit wearing mask. We are not as interested as we should be in character. Integrity is not what we say or do, but is who we are, what we are. Integrity goes to the bottom of heart, character, and soul, there is our identity, and for Christ-followers, there is our integrity. What we say and do comes from that heart, and defines who we are.
Our word is in Bible 20 times, all in OT. In NT appears in principle only. In OT, primarily in poetic literature. Job--issue is that Job did not lose integrity. Cf. Ps. 25:21; Prov. 20.
In athletics--practice is key. The way you practice is the way you play the game. You cannot play better than you practice. If you cheat in practice, you will cheat in the game. Integrity is essential to winning.
Cannot get integrity after formal education is completed, when you get out in life. Integrity starts early, even a child is known by actions. If you cheat young, you will cheat old. Integrity. Start now. This matters. This is important. Consistency, effort, come early, work harder, stay later. Do not think we can cut corners just because it is not a major issue.
An elder and his wife where I used to preach told of visiting a small church. They met a preacher with integrity. A preacher goes to a small church, the tendency may be to wing it. Go to large church, carefully prepare sermons. Integrity defines one who cannot be bought because he is not for sale.
In Mt. 23, Jesus speaks seven woes to the Pharisees. The problem of the Pharisees was integrity, hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is the opposite of integrity. When one says one thing and does another.

Here is application. the phone rings, "tell them I'm not here." Legalistically, I will go outside in the hall and it will be true, but this is still not integrity. Or, tell them I'm studying. When we talk of integrity, this is to be honest and sincere. Integrity, people know it when see it, recognize it, appreciate it. Has to do with cutting corners, shadows, doubts, barely toeing the line. There is the difference.
Have a life, develop a stature, exercise leadership, live by principles. Look at the church leaders described in 1 Tim. 3 and Tit. 1. Blameless, integrity. Be one with integrity--Phil. 4:8, this also has to do with integrity. Agape/arete, excellence, virtue. Practice Phil. 4 and I will give you a mirror to show you a person of integrity. If you keep integrity in your thinking, will have it in your life.
A person of integrity is one who has established a set of values by which life is lived. Great defn.

Do they say of you, she has a good reputation or do they say she is a person of character. This is really the test, what people think we are vs. what we know we are.
No one can take your integrity from you. Otherse can ruin your reputation, can demean or degrade. Can punish, but only you can lose your integrity. In losing it, you can get it back. It is not easy, but it can be done. Abraham Lincoln--no man has a good enough memory to lie. Boy on witness stand: Mother said, if I tell the truth, I will not have to remember what I said.
Adversity is a test of your stability, prosperity is a test of your integrity.
Integrity is living up the best in yourself. Not just getting by. Excellence, potential. A person of integrity is not satisfied with less than the best. Not just getting by, not just doing good enough. Means internal standard, quality. In everything we do. Highly tuned sense of honor. Conviction, sensitive conscience.

"Today I will be a friend, no conditions, no reservations, no expectations. I will simply be a friend. Nothing my friend does can change that. My friend doesn't have to follow my script to be my friend. Friendship does not grow out of demands on others but grows out of who I am. Today, I will be a friend. Today, I will change my life and my family's life with just sixty seconds. I will look deep into their eyes in a way that they will know that nothing and no one else in all world is in my mind but them, in a way that makes the world stand still, in a way that says more powerfully than all words or gifts every could, I love you. Today I'll change my life. Marriage means a man and woman looking deep into each other's eyes, and saying, I will never leave you. Others may come and go in life, but I never will. For no reason, never, if you wrinkle, I'll love you. If you fail, I'll stay with you. If you get sick, I'll feed you, bathe you, sit up with you, do anything for you, except leave you. I will never leave you. Today I'll do something important rather than just responding to all the urgent demands, I'll take time for my family, I'll write that letter to my friend, I'll make that important phone call, I will do some things that will make today count, and I'll feel better, no guilt, no more procrastination. I'll have the energy for the things I have to do. I did not make this day, but I'm not going to let today make me. Today I'll do something important. Today I will not compromise my life. I will not compromise my integrity, I will not compromise my commitment to the people I love, I will not compromise the value of any human being, today I will affirm life, I'll reach for the stars. I may not get one, but I won't come up with a handful of mud, today I will not compromise my life.

Do you have the integrity to renounce sin, pronounce faith; renounce compromise, announce a promise to God. Let integrity motivate you--I will do right, regardless, because I belong to Him.


*developed in part from notes from Charles Hodge

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Last updated August 28, 2013