Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Integrity Or Perversion...What's Your Choice?

As a child I remember election day in our little town of Bay Springs. It was a big thing, especially if it was a Gubernatorial or Presidential election. On election night the streets of downtown would be filled with people. At the top of the hill extra lights were strung up, and there was a really, really big black board on which elections results would be posted. Someone would climb the ladder periodically to change the figures as the returns came in. There would be music, and even food! Great memories!

Another thing I remember about political races growing up was that folks ran on their own merits and accomplishments. It was not necessary to tear down your opponent in order to exalt yourself. It was truly "May the best person win." Sadly now it is, "May the worst, filthiest, dirtiest, scurviest, low-down dog lose! And I'll make sure you're the worst, filthiest, dirtiest, scurviest, low-down dog by slinging mud all over you!" These days I actually dread (with a passion) election season.

It amazes me! It also sickens me to see adults conspiring and dirt digging to take down their opponents. I will venture to say that in the latest Senatorial race here in Mississippi about 95% of all political advertising was about dirt on the other guy. This means that maybe (just maybe) we got only 5% of legitimate stuff on the candidates running. Just curious...are you tired of all the mudslinging?

One thing is missing today that was prevalent years ago in our land. It is integrity. Integrity is a missing virtue. The lack of integrity among our leaders is the result of the erosion of morality in politics, as well as all throughout our land. What is integrity? Integrity is adherence to moral and ethical standards. It is soundness of moral character. Integrity is just plain ole honesty. My, my, how we need integrity in our world today. Integrity is a Godly virtue. Integrity is founded on the goodness and righteousness of God. One who truly walks in the righteousness of God walks in integrity.

The Bible contains a wealth Scripture about integrity. "He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out." (Psalm 10:9) The Bible is clear about something: the lack of integrity means an abundance of perversion. Perversion is manifested in forms like dishonesty, irresponsibility, greed, deception, lies, blame-shifting, and more. Think about this politicians and leaders of all levels in our land; if you are not walking in integrity, you are walking in perversion. (See above verse.)

One of the greatest examples of integrity from the Scripture is Job. Job was a contemporary of Abraham. Job loved and served God. Job lost everything. He lost his children, cattle, land, and just about everything rather abruptly. His friends came to him believing he had sinned against God somehow for all of this to happen to him. But job insisted time and time again, that he was righteous before God. He emphatically claimed integrity before God, and perceived God was testing him. Listen to the council of his lovely wife (whom he did not lose), "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9) Instead of listening to his "comforters", Job stood firm on the integrity that was rooted within his heart. He knew he hadn't sinned against God in a way that would cause him to lose it all.

Job said a bit later, ""As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth." (Job 19:25) He was convinced that in the end (or in God's timing) He would vindicate him as he stood firmly on integrity. He did! "The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold." (Job 42:10) The Bible says God blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. He blessed all of his family as well. Integrity always wins out in the end if we hold to it!

I challenge you right now to walk in integrity. Walk in God's righteousness, even when no one (but God) is watching. Walk in integrity because your love for God is so strong you simply want to please Him. Resist the pressure to promote self, and trust God. Help me bring back the virtue of integrity to a world steeped in perversion. What do you think?

79424: The Power of Integrity The Power of Integrity
By John MacArthur

Total integrity---in your character and in your conduct---is crucial if you want to truly live for Christ. But how do you cultivate it? In this powerful book, MacArthur draws from the examples of biblical men to show how both men and women can build lives of godly integrity, inside and out. 192 pages, softcover from Crossway Books.

280339: Great Lives: Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness Great Lives: Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness
By Charles Swindoll

He was raised in a dysfunctional family, resisted tremendous temptation, and had his tenacious faith severely tested in prison. And God blessed Joseph with great achievements and honor. Take a fresh look at this triumphant story of forgiveness---you'll learn practical lessons on integrity and how you can stand firm in the face of betrayal. 240 pages, softcover from Nelson.

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