If you bake a cake and don’t like the way it tastes, you don’t blame the oven, do you? No! You fault the recipe and, the next time, you change the ingredients.
The same is true in life. We need to stop blaming everything and everyone else for our failures and lack of success. Instead, let’s take a good look in the mirror and see what needs to change in us.
The one ingredient missing most in today’s culture is the character trait of integrity. Its absence is especially glaring in religious circles where people claim to live a changed life. That’s why you often hear secular people say, “I wouldn’t go to that church. It’s full of hypocrites!”
What is integrity? It’s being consistently truthful and honest. It is keeping your word even when it’s inconvenient to do so. Those of us with integrity state our values and actually live out our beliefs in every circumstance.
They say, If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. This missing ingredient of integrity not only hinders our success, but also our ability to live a life of significance and positively influence our culture. Success comes and goes, but significance is lasting! Proverbs 28:6 puts it this way: “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”
Yet we see this lack of integrity in church, government, families and in us as individuals (because we make up those entities).
Here are some ways a lack of integrity may manifest itself in action:
1. We tell people what they want to hear to avoid conflict or confrontation.
2. We are people-pleasers. We agree with people in their presence, then complain about them to others.
3. We look for opportunities that benefit us with little or no regard for those around us.
4. We don’t keep our promises… and feel no need to even explain why. It reveals a lack of honor and respect for others.
5. We don’t take God seriously enough to live differently than the world and accept our role as Christ’s ambassadors. Many of us have gotten so used to living without integrity that we don’t even miss it until we meet someone who has it.
Integrity pleases God. He expresses it every time His word does not fail, no matter the circumstances. People of integrity face persecution, but I encourage you to keep on keeping on! You make a difference! Know that there are abundant blessings available to people who walk in integrity (Christ’s character).
The Bible promises to those who live with integrity: Guidance for every day; Divine favor and prosperity; Victory over our enemies; Vindication from false accusations and much more!
This missing ingredient is the one reason we don’t see more of our family or co-workers saved or our churches grow! Integrity is a character issue, not a mental exercise we apply to be successful. We either have it or we don’t.
If you realize you lack this missing ingredient, stop what you’re doing right now and ask God to help change your character. Allow integrity to start flowing in and through your life. As I said, there are great, great benefits in living God’s way. Integrity: Don’t leave home without it!
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