Spiritual Integrity

Spiritual Integrity

Marc Smith

What is integrity? Webster says it is "honesty and soundness." Integrity is a principle, or a quality that is taught throughout the Bible.

If God Has Integrity, Must We?

One of God's traits is that He does not change. Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I do not change." He has integrity in that His will and word are changeless. He does not "double-deal" with Mankind. How does this trait affect us? He has given us law to live by and when we are obedient we will receive blessings that are wonderful and great. BUT when we are disobedient to this law, we will suffer the consequences every time without fail. Examples:

  1. When God gave a simple law to Adam & Eve, they were to obey it or die. When they disobeyed God's law for them, this signaled the beginning of death for all of Mankind.

  2. When God became disgusted with the sinfulness of Man because Man had rejected God and turned to wickedness He resolved to destroy Man. But He saved Noah because Noah had godly traits. Genesis 6:8-9, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God." Genesis 6:22, "Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did." Hebrews 11:7, "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."

  3. From the Beginning, God has been honest and sound in His words to Man. This proves His integrity. How serious is God about His word? Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."

Think about the consequences of this statement! So that God's words might be done he created everything that is, the universe, all the galaxies and the wonders of tremendous distance in outer space, all the planets and moons of our solar system and He even created this marvelous "blue marble" and put us upon it, so that His will would be done by us!

He is prepared to destroy every bit of it so that His words will be done! God has already cursed Man to die in his sins if he does not repent and live godly. Death, illness, the pain of childbirth were brought down upon Man because Man disobeyed God and served evil in the Garden of Eden. Then because this was not enough of a lesson, Man in time became so evil that every thought of his heart was given over to evil and God "destroyed all flesh" by the Great Flood except for those delivered by the Ark Noah built. He has now promised again, that He will destroy the entirety of Creation: the Universe, the galaxies, worm holes, quarks, black holes, our solar system, and all the great works of Man - - and Man, so that God's words will be done!

Are we amazed yet? We ought to be humbled at the realization of God's will. God's integrity is perfect. He does what He says He will do. Unlike us, He keeps his promises. He never fails to keep promises that bless us or curse us. And, He also loves to see integrity in us, His children.

Logically, though, doesn't this become plain to us that if so much rests upon His words we ought to know what His words mean? There is actually nothing more important!

Integrity Saves!

In regard to this, our Lord is merciful and gives us all the chances that we can possibly have to gain this quality ourselves. He wants us to be like Him. So, with knowledge of Him and His all important word, we can be. 2 Peter 1:4, "by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

Just as we have been informed of His nature, He knows ours and expects for us to willingly do whatever it takes to be acceptable to Him. 2 Corinthians 7:1,"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

The following are Bible Characters with integrity, and span several subjects of morality:

  1. Genesis 31:39, Jacob, in the care of Laban's property.

  2. Genesis 39:9-13, Joseph in Potiphar's house, resisting the seduction of Potiphar's wife, "There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside."

  3. Exodus 1:17-21, The Egyptian midwives, ordered by Pharoah to kill the Israelites baby boys, did not.

  4. 1 Samuel 24:5-6, David, in self-reproach for cutting off part of the robe of King Saul. "Now it happened afterward that David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe. And he said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD."

  5. 2 Kings 12:15, The workmen who repaired the Temple, "Moreover they did not require an account from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to be paid to workmen, for they dealt faithfully."

  6. Jeremiah 35:12-17, Rechabites kept their vow not to drink wine.

  7. Daniel 1:8-20, Daniel in maintaining his abstemiousness.

  8. Daniel 6:4, Daniel in maintaining an upright character & consistent devoutness.

  9. Matthew 1:19, Joseph, husband of Mary, for not accusing her of adultery out of jealousy.

  10. Luke 19:8, Zacchaeus, for the quality of his repentance.

  11. John 1:47, Nathaniel, in whom Jesus found no guile.

  12. Luke 23:50-51, Joseph of Arimathaea who did not oppose the teaching of Jesus.

  13. Acts 8:18-23, Peter, when offered money by Simon the Sorcerer.

  14. Acts 14:12-15, Paul & Barnabas, when the people of Lystra tried to deify them.

Do We Lack Spiritual Integrity?

I think that honest and sincere hearers of these examples realize that in our own lives we often lack spiritual integrity.

Often, all that is needed to correct even deep-seated wrong in our lives is to start trying to be godly in outward things. Human will sometimes follows emotion and physical behavior. As an example of this have you ever been down and someone told you that you ought to smile? You may not feel like smiling but when you do finally physically put a smile on your face, it is amazing how soon you begin to actually be happy!

Appearances, can be deceiving, however. Jesus has told us that "as a man is in his heart, so is he." Our goal is changing the inner man. But the truth also is that outward appearances often indicate something of what the attitude of the heart is. Outward physical appearances clearly are important. A couple of well known examples are given below:

  1. Murderers could be recognized. Isaiah 1:15 is just one verse that shows that in the Bible there was an expression of "blood upon the hands." When this was seen by anyone it meant that they had shed the life's blood of an animal or a man. It defiled a man and it was required that the hands be washed clean.

  2. Immodest clothing was forbidden and expressly provided for in the case of priests in Exodus 28:42-43, "And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs. They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die." Rather than specific requirements being made for what was appropriate, what the Apostle Paul states is that the motivation which dwells in the heart is the more important thing and not vulgar outward displays of fashion and for all the wrong reasons (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Of course, this righteousness will take on an outward appearance in the way men and women dress and this outward display shows what the state of the heart is in its dedication to God.

  3. The apparel of the Pharisees was prominently well-known. Matthew 23:5, "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments." In this case, the "separateness" of the Pharisees was a badge of pride and was evil.

Are we moral? Is our word our bond? Do we do what we promise we will do? Do we steal even small and insignificant things from our place of work or from stores or even from our friends? Do we lie and gossip? Are we guilty of using profane language and obscene language yet still claim to be Christians?

Let us remember that spiritual integrity is something that God requires of us. I like to think He is patient with us because of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 7:1, "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Are you working to perfect your holiness (or integrity)?

e-mail this author at mssquare@swbell.net

Return to Watchman Front Page