Not sure about you but I have this annoying habit of shooting off my mouth and in so doing putting a lot of people off-side.
I really don’t mean to, it just sort of slips out and once you have said it you can’t take it back – I feel I should have a DELETE button inserted into my tongue which makes me backtrack and either say something nice and comforting or say nothing at all.
When I was thinking along these lines just after my latest outburst I thought of the word INTEGRITY and so I looked it up – so here it is:-
My dictionary tells me it is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles – it means honesty and uprightness – ethics and morals. Virtue and decency are in there somewhere as well.
Oh dear so that leaves me standing out in the field somewhere completely isolated.
God gave us the miraculous and incredible gift of speech – my heart aches for those who have no speech or who have lost their hearing and/or born without either speech or hearing.
Speech is miraculous in itself – James tells us that our speech can upset or encourage – it can drive others away from God or it can bring others into the marvelous saving grace and mercy of God.
Sitting in a group discussion I can so easily offend and yet coming to know Christ as I have, God can also use my wayward tongue to help and encourage others,
I have been astounded lately apart from a few mess-ups just how God is changing my speech and bringing the “I” word into my very personality.
Integrity was something I never thought of and in the rare occasions my mind may have wondered to the likeness of that word – I never stopped for even a second to consider the impact of what I was saying was having on the people around me.
Amazingly God is working a miracle in my life hence I want to share my miracle with you my readers.
I had never really developed a listening manner – have you?
On the negative side I never considered asking people how they were or even offering encouragement in any way so when I finally brought my problem to God he opened miraculously a brand new ME whom I still having difficulty in believing I am the same person who has upset others.
God has changed me – I certainly couldn’t have done it on my own – there is no way I could have changed so dramatically.
Gone (well almost) are the days when my conversation were centred on me – gone are those days when I was using my gift of speech in any way other than glorifying God.
So how are you shaping up on the INTEGRITY scale?
Are you withholding words that could encourage someone like I was?
Do you speak so often, so fast and so loudly that others do not have the opportunity to express themselves?
Have you perfected the art of verbal barbs or sarcasm that people could be injured by your words? (I’m a tiger for that one)
Maybe like me you should ask God to reveal to you your verbal strengths and weaknesses – believe me I have changed and as mentioned I couldn’t do that on my own – not in a million years.
Our speech is very important to God – read James 3: 1-12 and you will see what I mean.
Anyway speech and guarding our tongues isn’t the only personal reflection we have to take into consideration when we look at INTEGRITY
Integrity also means caring for your body! in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Paul sets out very explicitly just how important it is to look after the body God gave you. I go jogging each morning and yes I have fallen over and realised just how much I have misused my body.
God has given us instructions that your body is actually His temple – so we should care for our bodies not misuse or neglect it.
Jogging and exercise is good and needful and keeps us in shape – Our bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Even so these ‘shells’ that house our inner being are a gift from God. We are to respect our bodies and use them for His glory.
Paul has a lot to say about sexual immorality as well. Immorality on that side of things can wreck your body and even your mind – Verse 19 says “that we are not our own” that simply means that Jesus’ death on the cross bought us with a price unfathomable – His very life. We belong to Him and in that case we should honour Him with our bodies – not tear it apart – for eg. overeating, lack of exercise and sexual immorality!
Integrity also means keeping our commitments – maybe commitments we have pledged to each other say in our wedding vows or commitments we made even before we came to Christ (as long as they didn’t include immoral or illegal doings) and of course commitments to our work places etc. All of these commitments add up to INTEGRITY – a real gift from God. Believe me God can change you in ALL aspects of your life and that includes integrity.
Another aspect of INTEGRITY is self-control – let’s not be like Samson in Judges 16 who let his self control fly out of Delilah’s window. Self control is mentioned in the gifts of the spirit in Colossians as a real gift from God.
Self-control and Integrity go hand in hand as far as I can see – Self control is one of the main pointers to INTEGRITY and one we should all aim for.
A great idea is keep a journal just for a short time to record just how many times your self-control has flown out of your window as it did for Samson out of Delilah’s window. Note any lapses and any patterns that triggered them and also the victories, then prayerfully consider how you might reduce temptation and strengthen your inner resolve through the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Truth telling is another off-shoot of INTEGRITY – so often lying is far easier than telling the truth.
This is something that I have had to consider and where I don’t like to admit that fact unfortunately it is true.
When situations tempt us to say what is less than true, before you open your mouth, grab hold of Jesus – speak to Him even if it has to be very quickly – ask HIm for courage and boldness to say the truth no matter what it may cost. Jesus is our rock and fortress even if your world may turn upside down because of truth.
I could go on but I will finish with just one more important aspect of INTEGRITY and that is forgiveness.
Probably forgiveness is one the hardest parts of INTEGRITY. Especially in situations that are beyond your control. When you have been accused wrongly or abused either physically or sexually or both. Forgiveness in situations like that does not come easily.
BUT forgiveness can set you free. It’s amazing that when you hold grudges, which is quite normal if you have been through extraordinary experiences, the longer we hold grudges the tighter the chains that bind us.
Forgiveness from the heart is often the key to loosen those chains that bind us and we end up being the very one set free and not so much the actual aggressor of the situation.
Not sure about you but forgiveness didn’t come at all easily to me but when I finally gave it all over to God things in my life changed dramatically and He will definitely do the same for you. Forgiveness can take an age and it can be a long hard road until you finally are free but please persevere. I know I did and the release is amazing. It’s like you become a different person.
Thinking of forgiveness I have included this song from Melissa Green called LONG ROAD TO FORGIVENESS. It sort of sums up what I was saying about forgiveness and how often it takes courage and willingness on our part. It also may take a long and harrowing road to travel before you can honestly say in your heart of hearts I FORGIVE. The thing is God knows where we are and your willingness to forgive. Please keep working at it – don’t give up because God is with you in this – He has been all along and He always will be.
Here is the link:-
As I said there are so many facets to true INTEGRITY and this blog only just scratches the surface. Please take the time to look into your own INTEGRITY and see where you may be failing. It won’t be easy, but often the Christian walk isn’t – it wasn’t easy for Jesus and it won’t be for you but the rewards are gargantuan not only at the promise of heaven but as you walk through the life God has gifted you here on earth.
God bless you this week as you walk in His footsteps, taking up you own personal cross whatever it may be and courageously take the steps to INTEGRITY and huge blessings as you do.
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