Integrity is a biblical principle, but why is that? What does integrity mean? And why is walking in integrity something Believers should do?
Join us as we explore the answers to these questions and learn what it truly means to live with integrity!
What Does Integrity Mean?
We know that doing things with and walking in integrity is essential, particularly for righteous Believers, but what does integrity mean?
There are three main definitions of integrity according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
- firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values [INCORRUPTIBILITY]
- an unimpaired condition [SOUNDNESS]
- the quality or state of being complete or undivided [COMPLETENESS]
Though each of these remain important for Believers, it is the first definition of integrity that is generally meant when someone speaks of integrity. And it is from this first definition that the majority of the synonyms for integrity come from.
A few synonyms for integrity include:
These synonyms appear as if they were taken straight from a verse in God’s Word or from a teaching given by a rabbi or pastor. Yet in this instance, they all are connected to one word: integrity. A word that is not simply affixed to the way we think or feel, but also to how we act. To doing the right thing, even when it is not always easy—even if it means our own wants and desires have to take a backseat.
Ultimately, integrity is a choice. One that takes place in the heart and mind, and then outwardly in how we choose to act. It is something that is meant to happen consistently rather than randomly; becoming a part of our character.
Why Should Believers Walk in Integrity?
Integrity is tied to three words according to the three definitions found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary…
These three words are:
And all three are connected to who we are meant to be as Believers, both individually and as the Body. A group following after the ways of God and walking in integrity.
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”—Matthew 5:33-37
Jesus tells us to let our yes be yes and our no be no; this is a part of integrity. Yet, all of us struggle at times with saying a thing and then doing it… not always because of circumstances that change, though that certainly does happen, but because we do not recognize the importance of our words.
We often say yes or no without recognizing the follow-up that has to happen to let our yes be yes and our no be no. For most of us, it is typically on the little things that we do not keep our word. The little promises or decisions where we change our minds; and not always at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
However, every time we say we will do something and then do not do it, we are essentially saying that we consider it to be okay to break our word. This is not to say that there is never a time where things happen that make it impossible to keep our word, or where we and those involved collectively agree to change it… but remember whose image we are made in. We are made in the image of God who does not change. Who keeps His promises and walks in integrity. It is He who we are representing on Earth.
We are not God. All of us will make mistakes. Yet equally, we are God’s children. Called to be a light to others. To demonstrate the love, compassion, and character of God. And while it is impossible to do this in our own strength, with God, all things are possible!
In Christ, we can walk in true integrity…
The integrity that God demonstrates and that we are meant to follow after is not limited to words. It is shown in actions too. In doing what is right and just no matter the inconvenience or personal cost… no matter if someone else is there to witness it or not. It is a choice built on love and honor and other Godly characteristics; it is a part of who God is and who we are created to be in Him, a people who love justice and mercy and walk humbly with the Lord (see Micah 6:8).
In the world, integrity is not always viewed as important. And when it is, it is often only a form of integrity that is not pure, but used for gain. In such cases, it is maintained just long enough to achieve the desired result and then is tossed away. But that is not real integrity. It is not the type of integrity that Believers are meant to walk in.
No, the integrity that Believers need to walk in is firm. It is not based on gain, but on doing what is right, no matter the cost to us. It is saying yes and doing it. Or no and not doing it. Not simply in regard to what we say to others, but also in what we say to God… even to ourselves. Equally, it is not legalistic. There are forms of integrity that are healthy and forms that are not. The integrity we use HAS TO COME FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT. Even what is read here has to be sifted through with the Holy Spirit, and it is He who has to tell you what you are meant to take away from this.
Only God understands what true integrity is, because He lives it. Keeping His promises. Doing what is right.
How to Check That We’re Walking in Integrity
Interestingly, one of the first synonyms for integrity is honesty, and that is exactly what we need.
Each of us has to be honest with ourselves. To do a check of our habits and patterns to see if we are walking in integrity. Not simply in words, but in actions as well. Regularly, in our day-to-day life, even when no one else sees or knows but ourselves and God.
The things we need to check for may vary, and we need to ask Holy Spirit to lead us and give us the courage to follow through. But what might this self-examination look like? What are a few questions Holy Spirit may lead us to ask ourselves?
A sample quick check might look something like this:
- Do I guard my mouth?
- Do I choose honesty over a convenient lie?
- Do I walk in Godly principles?
- Do I honor God, others, and myself?
- Do I obey God or myself?
It is doubtful that any of us can honestly answer questions such as these to full satisfaction, after all, we are all a work in progress. Yet, it is not perfection we ought to be looking for when answering questions like these. It is honesty. So that we and God can work together to better our responses. To become more like our great God!
No matter if we answer well or not, we do not need to be ashamed. What we need to do is humbly accept our mistakes, repent, and ask God to help us to change… working in tandem with our wonderful, merciful God as we do all that He asks of us. Building relationship with Him as we grow with Him! Remember, God wants to help. He loved all of us even before we were born. Even before we actively chose to follow after Him.
And this love remains. It is this sweet love that makes all things new. All things possible!