Summary: A short series from Psalms helping us to grow in integrity

The Path to Integrity

Psalm 119:1-8

August 12, 2018

In many respects, your reputation is the only thing you can take with you throughout your life, and maintaining integrity allows you to cultivate and build that reputation. Far too many people are willing to sacrifice their integrity for a quick shot of success. Cheating your integrity will usually come back to bite you in the end.

Think of people like ~ Barry Bonds. Mark McGuire. Sammy Sosa. Lance Armstrong. Ben Johnson. Bernie Madoff and Milli Vanilli

When you read those names, what comes to mind? I'm guessing it's not that they were the greatest of all time at their professions. Instead, it's probably that they all sacrificed their reputation and integrity for success. We might even call them frauds and cheaters.

As a result, their legacy won't be that they were one of the best ever in their profession. We may even question that they were genuinely good human beings and leaders who deserve our admiration. Their legacies are associated with shame and distrust. And that's largely because they chose to sacrifice their integrity and reputation for short-term success.

What about you? What are you willing to sacrifice for success? Would you be willing to give up something in order to be successful in school? Would you cheat or lie? Would you be willing to sacrifice your career so you could get ahead, maybe get a better job by lying?

Do you remember when Notre Dame hired George O’Leary as head football coach in 2001?

Five days after he was hired he was forced to resign because he lied on his resume. He said he earned 3 varsity letters in football at the University of New Hampshire. But he never played football there. He also said he earned a Masters Degree at "NYU - Stony Brook University," which is a non-existent college and obviously he didn’t earn. He claimed the inaccuracies were due to “resume padding.”

As we continue our short series looking at integrity, today we’re looking at Psalm 119:1-8. Let’s see what the psalmist wants us to understand about integrity ~

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!

2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart,

3 who also do no wrong, but walk in His ways!

4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.

5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!

6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.

7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.

8 I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me! – Psalm 119

If you really want to learn more about integrity and what it means to follow God, then Psalm 119 is the one to read. It’s also the longest of all the Psalms, at 176 verses. It’s an acrostic Psalm, meaning, every 9th verse starts with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

Integrity doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not like salvation, where you proclaim Jesus and you have eternal life, integrity is a lot like the Christian faith . . . it’s a process that hopefully grows, and multiplies and others see it in you.

If you are wanting to become a person of integrity, or you want to grow in who Christ has called you to be, then Psalm 119 is perfect.

Last week we started with Psalm 112. The first verse was crucial as we read ~

1 Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments! – Psalm 112:1

That’s a great starting point, because we are blessed if we fear, or better yet, revere the Lord, if we worship Him and if we delight in His commands. We don’t always like rules. We don’t like to listen to anyone. But if we could actually delight in God’s commands, by being obedient to Him, we will grow in our integrity.

Now let’s take a closer look at psalm 119.

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!

In some ways this verse is similar to the opening verse of Psalm 112. The person is blessed when they choose the blameless way of life, of walking with the Lord. At this point in history, most of the world would say this is not the right approach to life.

The picture most people have of Christians is that life is pretty gloomy and depressing. We live by a bunch of “CANT’S.” You can’t gamble, you can’t drink, you can’t smoke, you can’t dance, you have no fun. The only thing you can do is judge others, go to church to listen to boring sermons, dull music, and give your money away!

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