Integrity: A Way of Life
The definition of integrity at Dictionary.com is “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
When distress and heartache come do you keep your faith in God or do you turn your back on Him? What about your integrity? That is what got to me in my Sunday school class. I keep my faith, but what do others see? Do they see my integrity in God or do they see a selfish brat having a temper tantrum? The other day I lost my focus on God and my flesh won in the battle over my feelings of hurt, loneliness, and abandonment. I have an ongoing struggle with these feelings, they try to surface everyday of my life. These feelings are starting to be weaker and weaker, but I don’t think they will ever go away as long as things stay the same. I have learned that God is all I need and His grace is sufficient for me. (2 Corin. 12:9)
We can see in the book of Job the bigger picture, we see not only what Job is going through, but we can see the dialog between God and satan. Job didn’t see the dialog between God and satan and he had no idea why he was going through what he was going through. We see that satan was wrong. God knew Job’s heart. God knew how Job would react. God was proud of Job! Satan tried everything he could to discourage Job and get him to turn his back on God. Job not only kept his faith in God, but he kept his integrity!
God knew how much Job could endure with his faith and integrity in check. Job lost everything, he lost his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, his servants, and [most of all] his children! Job shaved his head and tore his robe then Job WORSHIPED God! Job didn’t sin, he kept his faith and his integrity. (Job:1: 13-22) Wow! I certainly don’t think that would have been my first response. I know that wouldn’t have been my first response. As I was saying earlier the weight of this world came down on me and I broke. I disrespected people, I stomped off and I isolated myself from everyone else. Why? because I didn’t want to take my frustration out on anyone else. I didn’t stay out long, but I did take my frustration out on people, in my mind I was angry at those who have walked away when I need them the most. I was unwilling to forgive them [again] and I became bitter [again]. I came back and was short with my kids (who did nothing wrong). I was mad at my husband because he didn’t come running after me and he fell asleep and looked peaceful. Worst of all I didn’t pray with my youngest because ” I was to angry” I told him. What kind of example was I being? Teaching my son that you only pray when you feel like it? I had lost my integrity! If what happened to Job had happened to me I would have reacted just like his wife did or worse.
Why didn’t Job lose his integrity? Because Job didn’t lose his focus on God and he had his eyes on the promise God has given to all of us. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27) That is probably a good memory verse. Even if we just remember these few word “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth”. We cannot ever forget that this life is temporary! There is a bigger picture and God is sovereign always and in every circumstance!
“I will behave myself wisely and give heed to the blameless way—O when will You come to me? I will walk within my house in integrity and with a blameless heart.” (Psalm 101: 2 AMP)
Even after Job had lost all of his worldly things God made sure that satan saw that Job still had his integrity! “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.'” (Job 2:3 ESV) God was proud of Job. I can’t always say the same in my distress. I need to learn from Job that no matter what happens I need to keep my focus on Jesus and keep my integrity. I truly do want God to be proud of me.
“Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.’And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” (Job 2: 4-7 ESV) Satan kept trying, he thought that Job let go of his worldly pleasure easily, but Job wouldn’t do the same with his flesh. It is one thing to lose things and people in our lives, but when you are being tortured it is a whole new kind of pain.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” (Proverbs 2:6-8 ESV)
Job lost all he had and was in horrible pain. Even his wife, in her grief, seeing the pain Job was in, saw that Job kept his integrity. Telling Job “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” Job then tells her “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:9 ESV) Maybe Job’s wife kept her faith, but she didn’t keep her integrity. In all the pain that Job was in he still saw that his wife was being foolish. So when I lose my integrity I am a foolish woman just like Job’s wife.
God is sovereign, in the good He is sovereign, and in the bad He is sovereign ! We need to remember that and no matter what is going on we need to keep our integrity because we never know who is watching us. In my case my husband, who isn’t a believer (yet) and my children are watching me. I am the only believer in a lot of people’s lives and I need to represent Christ well! Also in keeping my integrity I am pleasing God!!! Job could easily be one of the people who has suffered the most in life and he never lost his integrity. His integrity was a way of life for him, not just a thought. Integrity is a way of life and I need to keep my integrity in all things good and bad.
“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”(Job 42:10 ESV)