Integrity. It's something we all should desire. Integrity means you can be trusted. It means that you will have the benefit-of-the-doubt. It means that you can be counted on to do what you're asked to do, or not to do. It means when you are behind closed doors, you won't succumb to temptation, but rather continue to live a holy life.
The word integrity instantly reminds me of Tony Dungy. I'm sure he needs no introduction. Throughout his career, Tony Dungy was known for his faith, honesty, integrity, and righteousness. Even non-Christians and people from other religions were able to respect him. No matter who interviewed him or who he talked to, people were able to see that he was a man of God and meant serious business. The American people were able to see how he reacted when his son Jamie committed suicide. They were able to watch as he began to work with male prisoners and begin mentorship and discipleship of prisonmates, of which included Michael Vick. They could see the humble love and respect he had for his family when he retired from coaching the Indianapolis Colts to simply be a father and husband. The people could trust him and respect him because of his integrity. That is the type of integrity that I want for myself.
In Psalms 7, King David cried out, "Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High." I want to be at a place in my life where I can challange God like that. I want to be able to have such confidence in my blamelessness that I want people to look into my life, anywhere they wish, and see that I have been trustworthy and pure in my conversations, thoughts, and actions.
Proverbs 10:9 says that "whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out." Another verse in Proverbs declares that righteousness is side-by-side with integrity by saying, "Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner."
So why choose integrity? Why choose a very hard life of self-sacrifice, devotion to purity, and "boredom"? Why not sneak around online, kiss a few girls, smoke a little here and there, take a few dollars out of the offering plate, or get high while at a friend's house? King David explains it very simply. In one simple verse, he's able to capture the blatant honesty and everlasting promise that God gives us if we choose integrity. He wrote, "Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever." This verse is so powerful, so fulfilling, so hopeful, I have to repeat it! "Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever." Can it get any better than that? God will be close to us, lift us up, and ensure our salvation and place in the Book of Life! But only if we choose integrity. So what sounds better to you? Sneaking around, secret fun, getting drunk and getting high? Or intimacy with the Creator, righteousness and purity, and an eternal place in the presence of God?