Summary: God has called us to be constantly fanning the spiritual flames inside us, and it is up to us to train ourselves to make the Spiritual Disciplines part of our routine, or lifestyle. This sermon is a variation on my "Pursuing Purity" teaching.
Maintaining Integrity of Heart
So fearful were the ancient Chinese of their enemies on the north that they built the Great Wall of China, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. It was so high they knew no one could climb over it, & so thick that nothing could break it down. Then they settled back to enjoy their security.
But during the first 100 years of the wall’s existence, China was invaded 3 times. Not once did the enemy break down the wall or climb over its top. Each time they bribed a gatekeeper & marched right through the gates. According to the historians, the Chinese were so busy relying upon the walls of stone that they forgot to teach integrity to their children.
Contributed by Melvin Newland
Let’s look at the key points of the last two weeks:
- Yielding to the Power of the Holy Spirit
- Submitting All to God’s Authority in my life
This week we conclude our series on Spiritually Disciplining Ourselves by recognizing the importance of Maintaining Integrity of Heart. Look at the definition of integrity:
1 the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness
2 the state of being whole and undivided (That sounds familiar doesn’t it?)
• the condition of being unified, unimpaired, or sound in construction (So does that!)
Proverbs 4:25-27 (NIV)
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
When we see the story of the Wall of China we see that no matter how well we “know” God’s Word, we will fail catastrophically if we are not taking heed to practice it in our hearts.
One of the easiest definitions of integrity I learned as a child is: “Integrity is what you do when nobody is around or watching.”
God is calling us to live lives that reflect our transformation, on the inside and out. The definition of integrity refers to being whole and undivided. As we discussed last week, God wants ALL of us. So to live a life of integrity means to dedicate yourself 100% to God’s commands, wisdom and guidance!
A few years ago Lindsay and I bought our first condo. However, before we could move in, it needed, as one of my friends called it, some TLC [Tender Loving Care]. To be honest, it needed a lot of TLC! We had one week to get the place into a livable condition, and we got right to work. But as we did that, I felt like God was revealing a strategy for pursuing a pure heart; a heart that desires to maintain integrity.
1. Identify the Problems
Our new place had several issues that could only be attributed to neglect of the previous owner. The carpet was stained and loose. The paint was old and cracking in some places. And there were parts of the house that just needed to be plain cleaned!
2 Timothy 2:22 (NIV)
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Some Areas the bible points out as impure:
1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
This is one everyone struggles with! This is where I believe most of our troubles begin. With a thought…then it snowballs into an avalanche that we can no longer stop or control!
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,7 (NLT)
God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.
It’s important that we define sexual immorality: sex outside of marriage
Do you know why the bible tells us to stay away from sex outside of marriage? – Protection! The damaging affects this can bring, will hurt you more than you know!
Our culture today seems to celebrate sexual immorality, but what you never see are the consequences. We are called to a higher standard; to be people of integrity in all aspects of our life.