Monday, August 24, 2009

One Part Integrity and Godliness and Two Parts Humility...

This morning, when I realized how long it has been since I last wrote about my daily scripture reading, I was amazed. The old saying, "Time flies when you're having fun," couldn't be more fitting. We enjoyed a wonderful break as a result of our family vacation, then returned to a very challenging bunch of deadlines at work that required long days and mentally tiring concentration. Having said that, I hope now to resume my daily posts and get back on track with the chronological journey through God's Word--which by the way never fails to fascinate me! So...let's dive in!

1 Kings 9, 2 Chronicles 8 and Proverbs 25 through 29 is where we pick up this morning and the opening text jumped off the page as I read what God told Solomon after he met with him a second time to discuss the temple.

Take a look at what The Lord said beginning in verse 3:

“I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. 4 “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 5 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever.

God didn't say, "Way to go, Solomon! You've done good, son! You can rest on these laurels for the remainder of your days on earth and all will be well with you and your family."

Instead, He qualified his continued blessing by saying "IF" you follow me "WITH INTEGRITY and GODLINESS," and "OBEY me," then I will establish your throne.

I had to pause right there. I need to think about my own life and the lives of leaders I've served with and under. What does it look like to demonstrate integrity and godliness? Are there really people today who don't cave in to the temptation to bend a little--to seek a little easier, faster route to the perceived place of blessing by doing a little cheating, a little short-cut taking, a little sin-minimizing and/or dismissing? I've heard it said that integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody is watching, and if that's the case, do I always demonstrate integrity? These are questions worthy of pause and consideration.

I've had close relationships with a few individuals who have modeled what I consider genuine integrity. Did you note the word "few" in that last sentence? This world almost makes it seem reasonable to do the easy thing instead of the right thing. I'm afraid that it is so common place nowadays that it's actually often accepted as necessary--even within the church and specifically God's family.

Well before this gets depressing, let me say that while it may be the exception rather than the rule to witness genuine integrity today, it is not something that is less meaningful, less of a goal to strive toward, or less of a wonderful attribute to possess. And I would also suggest that it's not something that is elusive. It is achievable and attainable--not by our own strength but in and through Christ who gives us our strength. (Phil. 4:13)

Proverbs 27:2 and 21 are verses worth noting because possibly one of the fastest derailments we might encounter on the track toward integrity is the pride and praise that may be awarded to us if we actually demonstrate this admirable character trait. Here's what Solomon had to say:

2 Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—
a stranger, not your own lips.
21 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold,
but a person is tested by being praised.

When no one is looking, do what is right anyway. When no one praises you, know that God is watching--that He sees--and He takes note. And when someone does notice and praises you, be on guard against the pride that might make you feel the slightest bit superior, because that is the perfect opportunity for our enemy (the devil) to knock us off of our "character" high horse and throw us into the crater of compromise.

Father, make us men and women of integrity and godliness. Teach us your ways and order our steps so that we do not stray from the path that leads to your blessing for our lives. We love and thank you for forgiving our sins and we ask that you help us as we attempt to walk in purity and integrity when no one but you is watching. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! I was listening to a radio talk show yesterday morning and they were talking about how one of them went into a store bought a lot of items and then left and realized once they got home that they hadn't been charged for a very expensive item. They were having people call in and say whether or not they would have gone back to pay for it or not. I immediately thought about your post and how it would be so tempting to not do anything, but much more rewarding to do the right thing!