I learned a new definition of “integrity” today. Or, should I say, I added another definition to the word.
36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:36-37
My definition of “integrity” has always been: Who a person is when no other human is around (the implication is that Jesus is always with us). The definition I learned today is: When the person we are on the inside matches the person we are on the outside.* If there is a gap between the two, then there’s a problem with integrity.
“The health of your soul determines your capacity for duplicity.”
This statement identifies the inner person (the soul) as the determiner of who we are and what we do. Our motives tell the tale of why we do what we do, which reveals who we are on the inside. Here is a passage that has helped me to close the gap between who I am on the outside and who I am on the inside,
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
When I turn away from who I was and focus on me being clothed with Jesus Christ–His righteousness–I begin to see myself as God sees me: A righteous child of God, dearly loved by Him, and being made holy day by day as I learn and grow in the Spirit. It’s this daily walk that is so difficult, but so important. Here are some good habits to safeguard our souls:
- Surrender your will to Jesus daily–the sooner, the better! I suggest between the time the alarm goes off and your feet hit the floor!
- Monitor your heart as you walk through your day. Make sure that you are thinking about the right things and not dwelling on the wrong things. Here’s a list of good things: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
- Open your hands and leave them open to whatever comes from the Father. John the Baptist is the one credited with this one: To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven” (John 3:27). We can trust the Father to give us what we need and what is good for us. Jesus said as much, ““Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!“ (Matthew 7:9-11).
May we be known as people of integrity as we follow Jesus our Lord.
Abba, sometimes I just don’t care what people think about me, but then I hear Your voice saying that YOU care what people think about me. I am Your child, and representing You well is important, but You care because You love me and want the best for me. May I reconsider when I feel this way and understand that You and I both profit from having my integrity intact. Thank You, Abba, for being patient with me. Amen.
*”Living With Yourself”