There is one word in Proverbs 19:1 that should catch the attention of all of us who want to please the Lord. The Bible says, “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.” “Integrity” is a powerful word. Let us consider the emphasis our Lord places in His Word on this matter.
Integrity is something that should characterize every one of God’s children. When we speak of someone’s character, we are speaking about what he is in his heart. When we speak of someone’s reputation, we are speaking of what others think of him. People may have some bearing upon our reputation, but all of us determine our character by how we respond personally to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Character is what we are; reputation is what others think we are. When Abraham Lincoln was president, he said, “Character is a tree; reputation is the shadow.” The shadow is determined by the tree. If we guard our character, we can trust God to guard our reputation. Our character, what we are, the makeup of our lives, should be characterized by integrity. No amount of ability or personality can serve as a fitting substitute for integrity.
The word integrity means “to be complete; together in honesty; nothing to hide or fear; transparent; together.” It is the work of God to put things together. It is the work of the Devil to tear things apart, to separate, and to divide. A person with integrity is not divided. People with integrity have nothing to hide.
Does the Lord reveal anywhere in His Word how we can get integrity? The Lord gives us the keys to integrity in the book of Job.
Integrity Comes From Knowing God
The Devil said, “I’m going to get Job,” but God said, “He is a man of integrity.” As the Lord spoke of Job, He revealed the key to integrity when He asked Satan in Job 2:3, “Hast thou considered my servant Job?” When speaking of Job, the Lord used the personal possessive pronoun, my. Integrity comes from knowing God. It does not come from knowing about Him, but knowing Him. We can fake it, but there is no substitute for knowing Him.
God said of Job, “He is my servant. He lives for Me. He belongs to Me. He knows Me.” I want God to say of me, “That man knows Me.” There is no integrity for life, no wholeness, no completeness unless we first know the Lord. He makes us whole.
Integrity Comes From Fearing God
The Lord asked Satan in Job 2:3, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God?” Integrity comes from fearing God.
Why should a person do what is right? Because he fears God. Someone may say, “I’m going to tell the truth because I’m afraid I will get caught in a lie,” but he should tell the truth because he fears God and he knows that God keeps an account of every word we speak and every thought we have.
We try to weaken this idea of fearing God into less than it is. We talk about fear being reverential respect until we have God pacified like some bearded old man who is not able to cope with the problems of our day. We respect Him like we would one of our elders. How ridiculous! We are talking about the God of heaven and earth, who created the world and made us from dust. Our Creator is not some weak being who is unable to deal with the crisis in our world. Our God still sits on the throne of the universe and has everything under His control. Integrity comes from fearing God. Do you fear Him?
Integrity Comes From Living for God
The Bible says in Job 2:3, “…and escheweth evil?” The word escheweth means to remove one’s foot from the path of evil.
Every day we must make decisions. God said, “My servant hears me and escheweth evil. He removes his foot from what is wrong.” The first step on a path in the wrong direction may look tremendously inviting, but think of where it leads. Biblical separation is separation to the Lord and from the world. This is holy living – living not to be seen of men but living for God.
When God referred to Job, He said in Job 2:3, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity.” If you desire to be a person of integrity, you must know the Lord, fear Him, and live for Him. This will produce integrity.
Integrity cannot be taken from us. The only way we lose it is by giving it up. As a nation we are laughing our way to hell in a parade of people without integrity. In this day of integrity crisis, remember that character counts!
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