Integrity...Walking it Out
Integrity. The dictionary defines integrity as possession of firm principles, steadfastly adhering to high moral principles, the state of being complete or undivided, whole, and honest.
In Christianity, integrity is one of the most important virtues that should influence our decisions, our actions, and steer our everyday lives.
In Philippians 1: 27-30, the apostle Paul urges the church to walk in integrity,
"Whatsoever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ...being steadfast and firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the Gospel without being frightened of those who oppose you...For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and that I still have."
This dictionary definition is a good starting point, but the Biblical picture Paul paints tells me two things. First, it says "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ." The phrase "whatever happens" lets me know that we can be sure, something is going to happen. We are going to be faced with numerous opportunities throughout our Christianity to make choices to walk in integrity. We may even be faced with these decisions daily.
The second, is the fact that the scripture says that we will suffer for Him, and go through the same struggle as Paul. How can we possibly live up to such rigid standards and make the right choices every single day? Good news, we can't. We can do nothing without God working through us. It's only when we surrender to Him that we have the ability to walk in integrity.
Will we always get it right? Probably not. But the main thing is, when we blow it, whether in word, action, or thoughts, we need to quickly return to right path.
Walking in Integrity is Walking in Constant Contact
This is going to take constant contact on our part and a willingness to obey the voice of God when He speaks to us. Constant contact. That's what our heavenly Father wants from us. He wants us to rely on Him for our decisions, our choices, and to fellowship with Him throughout the day.
Have you ever heard the phrase, "You become who you hang out with?" Well, imagine hanging out every day with God. You're going to begin to sound like Him, make decisions like Him, and treat others as He would. Now that's power! The more you hang around with God, the more your thoughts are turned towards Him, the more "undivided in your thinking" you become.
Failure is Not an Option
The only time we fail with God is when we stop putting Him first. We start talking ABOUT Him instead of talking TO Him, we stop listening for His still small voice, and we start relying on our own abilities. Go back and re-read the dictionary definition at the beginning of this article. Do you really think you could do that every day in every decision for the rest of your life? Only if you are a superhero...and when you are plugged in with God, you pretty much are.
If you do walk away for a little while, if you lose your connection, if you become wishy-washy or double minded, don't beat yourself up. Just get back on board. A favorite pastor of mine always said, "I'm either UP...or I'm GETTING UP." With that as your motto, failure is never an option...because you don't have to rely on yourself. Fully rely on God's abilities and what He will do through you and you'll be able to walk it out, like a superhero!