Blessed: a study of the beatitudes: God blesses a heart of integrity
In a world that is absolutely obsessed with appearance and image, how in the world do you keep it real when everybody else is faking it? In this sermon, we talk about the one thing you need to care about if you want to be a person of integrity.
Something to talk about:
Learn what it means to be a person of integrity and how you can be blessed by living a life that is pleasing to God by developing six practical ways to develop it:
- By keeping my promises: Do you know anyone who makes a promise that they’re going to do something, but then they never get around to doing it? The writer of Proverbs must have known a few promise breakers because he wrote, “A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.” (Proverbs 25:14). Most of us have broken a few promises in our day. We need to be careful about making promises because when we don’t keep our promises we demonstrate that we lack integrity in our lives. Broken promises lead to resentment in our relationships. Jesus taught in Matthew 5:8 that those who are pure in heart will see God. Being pure in heart means living a life of integrity. We can’t live a life of integrity unless we keep our promises.
- By paying my bills: This is a big deal to God. This is financial integrity. And the Bible says over and over and over again that the way you use your money is a test of your integrity. Do you spend more money than you make? That is a lack of integrity. Do you get yourself in debt to things that you can’t pay off? That is a lack of integrity. The Bible says people of integrity pay their bills. It’s like keeping your promises financially. I am accountable to God to pay my taxes and not cheat on them. Because if I do, I lack integrity.
- By refusing to gossip: This is relational integrity. That is you don’t talk one way with one group of people and then go talk about them behind their backs. If you flatter somebody and you butter them up and you act like you’re their best friend, and then behind them, you cut them off at the knees. You say one thing here and one thing there. And you gossip. The Bible says you lack integrity. You don’t have it, and you’re not going to have God’s blessing on your life if you keep on gossiping like that. The Bible says this in Proverbs 10:18, “Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool.” Gossiping is a foolish, destructive thing to do.
- By faithfully tithing: One of the ways God tests my integrity is through tithing. Do I trust Him with my finances? Do I put Him first? Wherever you put your money first is what’s most important to you. Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure is that’s where your heart is going to be.” So you will always know what’s important to people by looking at where they spend their money. Here’s what God says about this, Malachi 3. “…Bring to me the full amount of your tithe to my House . . . Put me to the test and you’ll see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out so much blessing on you that you won’t have enough room to receive it all!” This is a test and this is a promise. God says do you have the integrity to put me first in your finances?
- By doing my best at work: This is business integrity or vocational. Do you do your best at work or do you just slough off when the boss isn’t watching? Some people only work hard when the boss is around. The rest of the time they’re goofing off, playing around, standing by the water cooler gossiping, they’re playing solitaire on the computer, or reading some online magazine. You may have never realized what a serious sin God considers it for you not to give a full day’s work when you’re paid a full day’s wage. You don’t have the right to goof off. You say everybody else is slacking off. Nobody else works hard in my office. So what? Maybe they’re not a follower of Christ. Maybe they don’t care about integrity and maybe they don’t care about leaving a legacy, rewards for eternity, and personal stability. But you do. Proverbs 18:9 says this: “A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.”
- By being real with others: You become a person of integrity by being real with others. You don’t fake it. You are yourself. You don’t pretend. It’s what we were talking about earlier. You’re authentic. You’re genuine. You’re not a hypocrite. You don’t wear a mask and talk a certain way with this group and then go over here and you wear another mask and act a certain way with this group. You don’t act one way in church and one way at work and another way on the golf course or when you’re shooting some hoops or whatever. No. You’re always the same. You’re not perfect. You’re not sinless. It’s not that you don’t make mistakes. You do make mistakes. But your heart is in the right direction. And you are real with other people. You’re not a phony. You’re not a fake. You’re not trying to be something that you’re not really.
- How would you define integrity?
- Integrity is giving your word and keeping it. Agree or disagree?
- Titus 2:7 says, “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” Can your integrity serve as an example and contribute to your legacy? If so, how?
- What steps can you take this week to work towards godly integrity?
- What promise to God do you need to fulfill today?
- If you more deeply trusted God to take care of every need you have, how would it change the specific ways you manage your finances?
- Spend some time confessing the ways you have sought to control your money and pursued your own purposes with your money. Ask God for forgiveness and for help in growing as a faithful, obedient disciple.
- When are you most tempted to gossip? How can you avoid giving in to that temptation in the future? When was a time when you chose to be a blessing instead of gossiping? What were the results?
- In practical terms, what does it mean to you to give God the first part of your income? How do you need to plan today so that you can be faithful in tithing?
- Why would God want us to work hard at a job that we don’t even like, or care what we do when nobody is watching?
- When was the last time someone revealed their weaknesses to you? How did it make you feel toward them? What has been the result when you were honest with someone about your own weaknesses?
- What part of the message resonated with you? What would you do differently this week as a result of this week’s sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
So here is the question: Do others view you as a person of integrity? Take these characteristics one by one and ask God to reveal where you are falling short. Take aim at those areas of weakness. Make them a matter of prayer, and then work on them with the help of the Holy Spirit.
God calls us to be as diligent about developing godly integrity regardless of the season of life we are currently in. Godly integrity will not come to us naturally. We must pursue it and if we do, then it will be the foundation of our legacy.