I once saw a video on You Tube called “Do What You Say You Will Do” which was posted by openthemeeting.com. The video told the story about a man who was traveling on the road by stagecoach with a military man who was a colonel. As they traveled for several miles the colonel pulled out a bottle of whiskey and asked the man would he like to have a drink with him. The man declined the offer of the colonel and let him know that he did not drink. As they continued on their journey, the colonel then said since I could not interest you in having a drink with me could I then interest you having a smoke with me? The colonel pulled out some cigars and offered one of the cigars to the man, but before the man gave his reply, he paused and then shared a story with the colonel.
The story that the man shared with the colonel was a story which was about him when he was nine years old as a little boy. His mother had called him to her bedside letting him know that she was very sick and that she did not know how much longer she had to live. The man’s mother made him to promise when he was a little that he would never drink whiskey or smoke tobacco. The man let the colonel know that though he appreciated his kind offers to drink and smoke with him, he could never break his promise that he had made to his mother when he was a child. Who was this man who made that promise to his mother, that man was our sixteen President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln? The colonel then understood why Abraham Lincoln had declined his offers to drink and smoke, the story ended with the statement “Do What You Say You Will Do”.
Now there are three important points that I would like to share from this story that can help to encourage us to men of integrity with God and others. The first important point that we as men must understand is that having integrity is about being the same person in the dark when no one else sees us. The second important point that we as men must understand is that being a man of integrity is about keeping your word when it hurts. A final point that we as men must understand that being a man of integrity helps to keep us from stumbling into sin or into the snare of the enemy.
Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide (Psalms 26:1).
Who are you in the dark?
What does the word Integrity mean? According to the oxforddictionaries.com the word integrity means “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. The word integrity can also mean “for a person to have a state of being which is whole and undivided”. Integrity is about staying true to oneself and the path that the Lord has you own while others men have chosen the valley of shortcuts. Integrity also speaks about a person character and not the lack of wealth or the abundance of wealth that a person has in the bank. In Proverbs 19:1, the word of God says “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool”. A man can have all the money in the world today, but tomorrow he can lose everything through the storms of life. When the just winds blow, a man materials, his investments and so called friends can all be gone, but when all the smoke has cleared will he still have his integrity.
The first important point that we as men must understand is that having integrity is about being the same person in the dark when no one else sees us. Who are you in the dark when no one else is around? Are you the same person that people see when you are at work, in the community and at your church? If there are inconsistencies in who you are privately versus who people see in public, your inconsistencies could be major clues to a lack of integrity in your life. Now am I saying that a man has to be perfect with no flaws to be a man of integrity, the answer to that question would be no. Being a man of integrity does not mean that a person is perfect and never make mistakes. The word of God says in Proverbs 10:9, “He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known”. A man of God when he falls short of the glory of God, is willing to repent and then move forward in the things God has called him to do. He is willing to accept responsibility for his actions and not waste the gift of time playing the blame game by blaming others.
Keeping your Integrity when it hurts
The second important point that we as men must understand is that being a man of integrity is about keeping your word when it hurts. In Job 1:6-22 and Job 2:1-10, the word lets us know that “the sons of God presented themselves before the Lord and Satan was among them”. The Lord told the enemy the type of person that Job and how he was “perfect, upright, who hated evil and who feared the Lord”. The enemy accused Job of being a man who only feared God because there was a hedge of protection around him and his possessions. However, if the Lord removed that grace covering from his life, that “Job would curse God to His face”. The Lord knowing the integrity that Job had, would allow Satan to cause destruction to Job’s livestock and his camels being taken from him. There were several of Job’s servants who were killed by the sword of men and those that survived shared with Job the calamities that had happen to them. In a violent wind storm all of Job’s children were killed and his own physical health was under attack as well. The reaction of Job’s wife regarding what had all happen to them was to question Job was it really worth still serving Jehovah God and hold onto his integrity. The rebuttal that Job gave to his wife statement was that she was a foolish woman and though he had lost everything, he had not lost his integrity before his God.
So many times we say to the Lord that I will serve you and I am willing to let everything else go because all I want is you. We say to the Lord that I will trust in your word over my circumstances because I know you will bless me. We may even say like Peter that I will not deny you Lord but I will follow you as long as I have breath (Matthew 26:33-35). However, I believe there is a place in our Christian growth that the Lord wants our words to line up with our actions. He wants the enemy, our circumstances and even ourselves to know that our integrity must be tested even if it means we will suffer loss, pain and hurt. The word of God says in Psalms 15:4, “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not”. Our actions as men should always speak louder than our words, our actions should speak louder than our intentions. Our service, our devotion and our love for the Lord should not be founded upon the blessings that He has blessed us with in our lives. Our service, our devotion and love for the Father should be based upon our love for Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Integrity keep you from stumbling
In Genesis 20:1-6, the word of God lets us know that “the King of Gerar, Abimelech had taken Sarah from Abraham so that she could become one of his wives”. In the beginning of the chapter, Abraham had told his wife Sarah to lie that he was her brother and he would also lie that Sarah was his sister. The reason Abraham did this was because he was afraid being in a heathen nation that he would be killed and his was being so beautiful would be taken from him. However, it is interesting that you would think that Abraham would have learned from his past transgression when he pulled this previous stunt before in the land of Egypt and had his wife taken (Genesis 12:11-20). Just as before, the Lord would intervened by appearing to king Abimelech in a dream by night and letting him know that the woman he had taken was actually another man’s wife. The king cried out for mercy to the Lord stating that he had being lied to by both Abraham and Sarah and he had only done this out of “the integrity of his heart and the innocence of hands”. The Lord replied to the king that because of the integrity of his heart, the Lord had kept him from stumbling into sin.
A final point that we as men must understand is that being a man of integrity helps to keep us from stumbling into sin or into the snare of the enemy. In the record of Abraham, Sarah and King Abimelech, the Lord kept the King from falling into sin by taking another man’s wife. He did not know that Sarah was the wife of Abraham due to them both lying to him for the purpose of Abraham trying to protect his own backside. If you my brother walk with the Lord with your whole heart and put Him first in your life, the Lord will help to keep you from falling into the snares of the enemy. The word of God says in Proverbs 11:3, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them”. Our obedience to God provides us His grace, His protection and His direction. When we have to deal with other people through the affairs of life, He is able to expose those who are not dealing with us from a place of integrity. Be encouraged my brother, the enemy may be going about as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), but our God is greater and He too is looking to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).