Summary: Integrity is a reputation of trustworthiness that is built up over a period of time and is proven by our behavior, our conduct both in and out of the limelight, both in the public view as well as when no other human is looking.
• The legalists of His day - the Pharisees - would add additional statements and clauses to their testimony – swearing by heaven, swearing by Jerusalem, swearing by their head – as a way of assuring others of the veracity of their promises.
• But Jesus says that His followers are to be such people of integrity that there is no need to back up their words or embellish them with an appeal to any higher authority, holy name, holy place, or on pain of losing a part of their body.
• He says, “Simply let your YES be yes and your NO be no. Anything more than this comes from the evil one”.
5. Are you and I known as men and women of integrity? Can people take it for granted that our word is our bond - that if we say we will do something or be somewhere at a certain time that our word can be counted on?
• Integrity is a reputation of trustworthiness that is built up over a period of time and is proven by our behavior, our conduct both in and out of the limelight, both in the public view as well as when no other human is looking.
• A man or woman of integrity lives their life in the conscious presence of God and so speaks and behaves no differently when people are looking and listening than when they are alone.
• A man or woman of integrity is not perfect – they make mistakes like anybody else. But they are quick to acknowledge them and will never try to cover them up or make excuses for them.
• Sometimes in their desire to serve and be of assistance a man or woman of integrity may take on more than they can handle and tasks they had committed themselves to doing just cannot get done. People of integrity don’t just walk away. They humbly acknowledge their lack of judgment and immediately try to renegotiate the contract or find a faithful substitute who will work with them and for whom they accept responsibility till the job is done. They remember that the buck stops with them.
6. So let’s each just do a little integrity check here for a moment.
• How’s our integrity with God? Are we keeping the vows and commitments we have made to Him? When we chose to call Him Lord and Master, we decided that He would be the owner of our life, our time, our resources and all that we have. How are we doing on that commitment? What portion of His resources are we spending on those things that will advance and expand His Kingdom and what on ourselves? Are we constantly seeking to bring our lives into alignment with God’s agenda or are we too busy promoting our own?
• How’s our integrity with the church? When we joined we vowed to participate by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service. How are we doing in those departments? How is your prayer life? How much time of each day is spent in heart-to-heart conversation with God about the things that are on His agenda? How often do you lift up your brothers and sisters in prayer? How regularly do you show up and actively participate in the worship life of the church? Just when it is convenient or doesn’t clash with other priorities? How are we doing in terms of offering and using the gifts and talents God has given us in His service? When we joined the church, we accepted the fact that we became a member of a body, not a member of a religious club. Members of a club can frequently do their own thing, attend when they want to as long as they pay their dues. Members of a body are integrally joined to and responsible for and dependent on one another. Which members in this body are you dependent on and who are you responsible for?