“I will be careful to live a blameless life— when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.” – Psalm 101:2.
How do you define integrity? Basically, integrity is a principled dedication to values and beliefs. People with integrity always seek to reflect ethical standards and do the right thing regardless of the circumstances.
Integrity is a shortcut to the heart. It gets past all the pretending, the rule-following and the head knowledge, and examines the heart and its values. These values should be reflected in our behavior in how we treat others and what we believe about ourselves, too. As Christians, we should be changed by what we know about Jesus and how He loves us. Many of us are quick to claim that we believe God’s word and agree with His commandments, but if that were the case, wouldn’t it be more evident in our lives?
An example can be found in the life of Joseph. Joseph, Jacob’s son, went from pit to prison and then to become a prime minister. The one thread throughout his story is integrity. We find him living for his convictions, whether someone was watching or wasn’t watching. One part of the Joseph’s journey can be found in Genesis 39: Joseph was sold as a slave to a man named Potiphar. Potiphar worked for Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt. Potiphar clearly enjoyed Joseph’s work: “When [Joseph’s] master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate” (Genesis 39:3–6). However, the account of Joseph and Potiphar changes when Potiphar’s wife asked Joseph to sleep with her. When he refused, she falsely accused him of attempted rape. Upon hearing the charges, Potiphar sent Joseph to prison.
Living a life of integrity is never easy. We wrestle and struggle with understanding ourselves and our desires. We don’t always do what we say we do or want to do, and we don’t live our lives reflecting our heart’s true values. We see this same internal battle in Paul when he writes in Romans 7:15, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Even Paul struggled with committing to what he knows is right. Life gets messy and it doesn’t seem so black and white. Doing the right thing isn’t as clear and committing to the right thing seems even further away and impossible to do.
Many times we don’t realize that people are watching us. They are paying attention to what we do. They may not tell us they are watching us, but they want to see if we are the real deal, if we are men and women of integrity.
- How would you define integrity?
- 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?