Summary: The Wisdom of walking in integrity.
19, October 2003
Dakota Community Church
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Week Two: Integrity
1 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.
2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city.
4 "Let all who are simple come in here!" she says to those who lack judgment.
5 "Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.
- We are not told what the seven pillars are.
- I believe they are themes of truth that will lead to life.
- The difference between knowledge and wisdom can be seen in the marriage councilor with the failed marriage or the financial advisor who goes broke.
- Wisdom is about how to apply the knowledge more than the knowledge itself.
It is not what men eat but what they digest that makes them strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; not what we preach but what we practice that makes us Christians. - Francis Bacon.
The second “pillar” upon which I believe wisdom is built is INTEGRITY.
1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.
3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness
1. Integrity means being beyond corruption.
You have the power to pre-decide what you will do when temptation comes. A person of integrity will not find himself on Temptation Island.
Proverbs 11: 3
3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
Proverbs 10: 9
9 The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.
The pressure is off when your standard is not for sale!
In the book “The Day America Told the Truth” (1991), the authors (James Patterson & Peter Kim) relate the stunning results of a question, which was asked of Americans. The question was simply this: What are you willing to do for $10 million? 2/3 of those polled said they would do at least one of the following ... some said they would do several of the following:
- Would abandon their entire family (25%)
- Would abandon their church (25%)
- Would become prostitutes for a week or more (23%)
- Would give up their American citizenships (16%)
- Would leave their spouses (16%)
- Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free (10%)
- Would kill a stranger (7%)
- Would put their children up for adoption (3%)
Many people use the circumstance as an excuse for wrong behavior but I agree with Dr. Laura who says, “Under pressure is where your integrity really shows.”
- What do you do when you find a wallet with 1000 dollars?
- When you hit and damage an unattended car?
- When you are in a city alone and far from home?
We do wrong when morality loses to self-interest in the inner battle of integrity.
In Chicago, 1929, a 26 year-old government agent named Eliot Ness formed an elite team of 9 incorruptible men to bring down Al Capone’s $120 million mob empire. At the time, Ness was making $2,800 a year working for the government. One day a young man walked into his office and handed Ness an envelope with 2 one thousand dollar bills and promised this weekly if he would lay off Capone.
Ness sent the money and the messenger back. Desiring to make a point, Ness called a press conference. Newspapers and newsreels from various agencies were in attendance. Ness told the story of Capone’s attempted bribe and his response to it. The next day, headlines read “Ness and his men are UNTOUCHABLE.”
2. Integrity means being beyond secure.
Proverbs 13: 6
6 Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
Proverbs 2: 1-11
1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.