“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.” – Chuck Swindoll
There are a lot of ways to look at integrity, but perhaps the simplest for the Christian is this: Integrity is deciding to integrate my heart’s values into my daily actions. The key word is deciding. You don’t happen onto, or slip into integrity. Nobody every said, ”Oop’s, I stumbled onto some integrity.” It’s a decision, a choice. God places a very high value on integrity. (Proverbs 28:6 (NASB) says, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked though he be rich.” Proverbs 11:3 (ESV) adds “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.”
In many ways, integrity and character go together. Every person has character, which is the aggregate of moral qualities by which a person is judged. Daniel made the choice to be a man of integrity, a man of principle, and as a result, he was also a man of character. That character influenced his life situation, rather than letting his life situations influence him. He was never known to compromise his beliefs, even when it may have seemed easier to go with the flow.
We see what kind of a man Daniel is in Chapter 6. Daniel had distinguished himself and in verse 4 we can see the obvious hostility from his colleagues; in fact, the whole chapter is predicated on their hatred of him. They were incensed that a Jew would be placed over the whole kingdom. so they sought to bring charges against him. But they couldn’t. As they searched through his life, they found neither corruption nor negligence. He was above reproach. They realized that the only way to trap him would be to pit his obedience to God against his obedience to the government. (Daniel 6:4-5)
Would this be said of you? Of me? Abraham Lincoln once said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” My reputation is what others think of me, which may or may not be true, but my character is who I really am. Your character is the real you in the sense that you cannot separate what you do from who you are. God absolutely cares about character, so much so that it could be said that the Bible is a character textbook. It is filled with instructions on what it means to live righteously, that is, in a “godly” and upright manner.
The question is what kind of character do you have? None of us have the level of character and integrity we wish to have. Even if we have compromised that character on occasion, God has some very good news for you. God can help you have the kind of uncompromising, godly character that we see in the life of Daniel.
- Why is it so easy to conform to whatever is required of us rather than internal principle.
- If you asked a coworker to describe your work style or reputation, what do you believe they would share with you? What about those in authority over you?