Integrity's What and Why
August 1, 2022
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8 NIV
Integrity comes with many definitions. Andy Stanley says, “Integrity is doing what you ought to even if it costs you.” That’s an excellent and practical definition. True integrity comes with the willingness to pay a price to do right.
I remember in my college days a speaker at chapel challenged us on sexual purity. He said that some of us might feel proud of our sexual purity, and he was glad for us. But he said that taking pride in a personal accomplishment or comparing ourselves with another person who might not be quite so “pure” was unrealistic and lacked integrity if we had no opportunities to fail. He said that if we didn’t date, if we had never been in love with someone who loved us and we had a strong physical attraction, considering “sexual purity” as an accomplishment was inaccurate and overstating our case. Our commitment to sexual purity would not be truly known until we had opportunity to not keep it—sexual purity would eventually cost us something.
Integrity is more than simply “keeping your nose clean.” It is more than not telling a lie. It’s more than keeping rules. It is doing the right thing, even at a personal cost. Paul tells Titus that integrity is setting an example, not just by staying away from evil, but by proactively doing good. The dictionary definition of integrity says it means to be whole and undivided, structurally sound. Paul instructs his young pastor to show the consistency of his life in his teaching, and to refuse to compartmentalize his life. His speech must be sound, trustworthy, and sincere.
Why is it vital for Christians to have integrity? Because followers of Jesus have the same reality as He did. It’s worth it, but it’s not easy. When we faithfully follow Him, it will cost us. There will be those who oppose us and want to condemn us. We will always have enemies who will sling accusations. But we are never told to prepare a great defense, learn debating skills, and hire the best attorneys. All through the accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry and the New Testament letters we are shown that living with integrity is the way to eventually silence our accusers. The truth will eventually come out, and there will be nothing bad to say about us.
Integrity shines with great clarity when doing the right thing costs me. It shows watchers who I am and Whose I am. Eventually it silences the critics.
- Lord, I need an undivided life, and I want to live in integrity no matter what it costs me. Help me see what is right and do it no matter the cost. Amen.