How to Become a man of Integrity
The great thing about the Bible is it does not hide the flaws of the people in it. Abraham is credited for having great faith and yet told people that his wife was his sister because he was afraid of what they would do to him. David is another great example. God called him “a man after his own heart” yet he committed adultery and murder. Both of these men fell because in these instances they took their eyes off God. The best way that we can avoid pitfalls like these is to become men of integrity. I write this specifically toward men because the Bible calls the man to leadership in the home. We are called to lay our lives down for our wives as Christ did for the church.
Charles Dyer on why Character Counts
Why Integrity is Important
Before we can discuss why it is important to develop integrity, I think it is helpful to define what integrity means. Integrity means that you adhere to a set of commonly accepted moral standards. It has nothing to do with who we are in public because it is easy to put on a show of how good you are. Integrity is shown by your actions when no one else is looking. It means doing the right thing all of the time. It is important because businesses, relationships, and society in general rely on people to have integrity. Society does not function well when people lie, cheat, steal, and are selfish. We have seen the results of what has happened to our culture as a whole when we lose our integrity. Our jails are filled to capacity, many of our cities have become war zones, and we murder babies in their mother’s wombs and call it a choice, lead the world in the rate of divorce, and on and on. What happened to get us here? Primarily, we have told God that we do not need him or want him in our culture. We have gone so far that we do not teach right and wrong to kids in schools because we do not want to offend anyone. Is it any wonder why we are where we are? Here is a sampling of devastating statistics from the 1960s forward:
- 54 million babies have been slaughtered in their mother’s wombs under the guise of legalized abortion.
- Violent crime has increased 544%.
- Pregnancies of girls ages 10-14 are up 553%.
- STDs for high school students are up 225%.
- Divorce rates jumped 117% and now we are the number one in the rate of divorces.
The sad thing is that we could stamp out sexually transmitted diseases if we practiced what the Bible teaches about relationships. Then it would be gone forever. Our only hope as a society is a spiritual awaking like we have never seen before to reverse these damaging trends.
How to Develop Personal Integrity
Tom Harmon, an iterant minister, says in his sermons to men that “being a man is easy, being a good man is harder and requires work, but being a godly man requires God.” If you stop and think for a moment that statement is very true. Become a “man” is as easy as growing older and hanging around. Being a good man requires some work, but being a godly man is impossible without God. Integrity is not something that can be developed overnight. It takes years and years of making the right decisions. Let us look at ways to develop integrity.
Know Christ as Your Savior and Lord
I want to be clear that you do not need to know Christ as your savior to be a person of integrity. Plenty of people are considered moral or good in the eyes of the world; however, none of us is good enough to come anywhere near God’s standard of perfection. We have all broken God’s law and are under his judgment unless we turn from our sins and place our faith in Christ to save us.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and Only Son.” John 3:18
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Christians still have the old sin nature that everyone else has and can stumble and fall as quickly as anyone else, however, they also have a new nature that is being perfected by the work of Christ in their lives. The Holy Spirit helps Christians to become more like Christ by convicting them of their wrong actions and sins. Finally, if you do not know Christ as your Savior, I urge you to turn your life over to him. It is by far the best decision that I have ever made.
Do What is Right no Matter the Cost
The Biblical account of the life of Daniel in the Old Testament is a great example of a person who was known for his integrity.
“They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally, these men said, ‘We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of God.’” Daniel 6:4b-5
He also did what was right no matter the cost. He was taken captive to Babylon as a teenager. King Darius wrote a decree that everyone must worship him the next 30 days or be thrown in the lion’s Den. Daniel refused to worship King Darius and was thrown into the den of lions. He was willing to die to do what was right in the eyes of God. Remember that one of the Ten Commandments says that we are not to worship any other god(s). God honored Daniel’s stand by shutting the mouths of the lions. Many times it is not easy to take a stand or tell the truth, especially when it is not popular. It may cost you your job, relationships, friendships, etc to do what is right, but in the end you will be the better for it. If we had more people of integrity in Washington D.C., our country would be in a lot better shape financially. Unfortunately, all that both parties, with a few exceptions, want to do is kick the can down the road. We are on a road that will take us over a fiscal cliff that will forever change this great country. Think Greece and factor it by at least a hundred. The right thing to do is not spend money that you do not have and not pass on debt to your children and grandchildren.
Francis Chan Preaching about being a Person of Integrity
Another thing that is essential if you are to become a man of integrity is tell the truth. This goes along with doing the right thing, but lying is an epidemic in this culture. It is something that everyone does at some point, but that does not make it right. Lying is a sin and is one of the Ten Commandments. Yes, even so-called “white lies” are sins. Telling the truth is important because it builds credibility and trust. Lying builds distrust and contempt. Do you remember the saying “what a tangled web we weave when we first deceive”? There could not be a more true statement. Every time that you lie about a certain subject, you weave another line across your web and eventually you trap yourself and are caught. Most of the time if you tell the truth in the first place the consequences will be much less severe. I work as an accountant. It is vital that I am honest about the true state of the company so that the management team can make the right decisions. If I make a mistake, I need to own up to it and not try to hide it.
Be Morally Pure
Moral purity is by far the toughest thing to develop when becoming a man of integrity because this deals with the heart. It deals not only with our outward actions, but with our very thoughts. Remember that Jesus said that if we look at a woman with lust in our hearts, we are guilty of committing adultery with her. That is a pretty high and hard standard to live by. Especially in our culture that is soaked with sex. Do not get me wrong, sex is a wonderful thing in the confines of marriage, but only in those confines. We get into trouble when we step out of God’s plan for humanity. Internet pornography has become an epidemic. 56% of the marriages that end in divorce have one thing in common, pornography. It is not just secular men that have this issue, it is men in the church and even pastors that are addicted to it. It is a harder addiction to break than a heroin addiction. Men, we need to get this junk out of our lives. I can speak from experience; I got hooked on this stuff in high school and carried it with me into my marriage. I could very easily be divorced because of it, thanks to the grace of God and my wife. It devastated her when she found out. If you are addicted, I encourage you to talk to your pastor or a counselor about it. Also, it is important to install an Internet filter/accountability software, such as Covenant Eyes, on your computer to limit your access to pornography and also to help keep you accountable.
We need to stand up and be men of integrity like Joseph in the Old Testament. Remember that his brothers had sold him to some Ishmaelites on their way down to Egypt. He was sold as a slave to one of Pharaoh’s officials. He was about 17 at the time and a stud according to Genesis 39:6b. The official’s wife wanted to have sex with Joseph and repeatedly made advances at him. Joseph kept rejecting them. One day, she sent all of the other servants out of the house and tried to seduce him again. Once again, Joseph rejected her, however, she managed to catch him by the cloak, but he ran out of the house naked. This is a great example of integrity. Joseph was obedient to God and showed his integrity by running away from her. We need to learn how to be morally pure.
Be Accountable to Others
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
If you want to be a man of integrity it is critical that you are accountable to others. The more people that you can have look into your life and identify potential problem areas the better. Men should hold men accountable and women should hold women accountable because they each know their own issues better. A great example is lust, a man knows far more what happens when another man sees a good looking woman. I do want to caution you to pick good accountability partners and avoid people that will not keep what you tell them a secret. Secrecy is a must in accountability, unless of course, someone is going to do harm to themselves or others. It is important to keep in touch with them a few times a week and any time that you are having an issue.
Great Resource on Growing in Grace
Practice the Spiritual Disciplines
The most surefire way to grow in integrity is to practice the spiritual disciplines. Remember that when a wolf attacks a flock of sheep, it takes the ones that are furthest from the shepherd. Conversely, if you want to develop integrity, stay as close to the Shepherd as possible. Remember that Satan prowls around like a lion seeing whom he can destroy. Here is a list of the spiritual disciplines:
- Bible Reading
- Fellowship with other believers
- Serving others
- Meditating on God’s Word and Precepts
It is important that you do not do this list as something that you check off so that it becomes a religious act. Rather, you should spend time in doing these things with the sole purpose of drawing closer to God. Another great tip is to download a Bible app onto your phone so that you can read the Bible wherever you may be.
Integrity is important. It is who you are when you are alone and no one sees what you are doing. Remember that integrity takes a long time of consistently doing the right thing to develop. It is not something that we can do once and say we have it.