Summary: One thing the church lacks is more people of character and integrity. Character and integrity are used synonymously, but there is a difference between the two. Character develops through individual situations, integrity finalizes codified virtues learned.
WHOM HAVE I CHEATED? THE SIGNIFICANCE OF INTEGRITY
1 SAMUEL 12:1-5 1 Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. 2 Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. 3 Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.” 4 “You have not cheated or oppressed us,” they replied. “You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.” 5 Samuel said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” “He is witness,” they said.
One thing the world and church lack is more people of character and integrity. Character: The pattern of behavior displayed in individual situations. How you deal with those situations will cement your character. Crisis doesn’t necessarily make character, but it does reveal it. Integrity: When you commit yourself to make the right choice not out of expediency but because that is what has already been developed in you. The Hebrew for integrity means "completeness, whole, sound, without spot, blemish, unimpaired, upright, without deceit, guile or duplicity."
4 Things You Must Know About Character
1. Character Is More Than Talk. Anyone can say they have integrity but action is the true indicator. Your character determines who you are. Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.
2. Talent Is A Gift, But Character Is A Choice. A lot of things in our life that we have no control over – We don’t pick our parents, our upbringing, our talents, our IQ. But we do choose and create our character. Proverbs 3:31 Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
3. Character Brings Lasting Success With People. People do not trust those who have flawed characters. Good character will open up doors for lasting relationships with those around you. 2 Corinthians 6:3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.
SOME THINGS TO NOTE ABOUT INTEGRITY AND CHARACTER
1. Integrity Makes Us Walk Before Or Lives For The Lord, Not Men. Proverbs 16:7-8: When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. 8 Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.
2. Integrity Keeps Us On The Straight Path. Proverbs 11:5 The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
3. Integrity Makes God To Delight In His People. Proverbs 11:20 The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, but the blameless in their walk are His delight.
4. Integrity Challenges Our Idea Of Success. Proverbs 28:6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked [perverse] though he be rich.
5. Integrity Brings Blessings To Our Offsprings. Proverbs 20:7 A righteous man who walks in his integrity - how blessed are his sons after him.
6. Integrity Will Make Violent Men To Hate You. Proverbs 29:10 Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, but the upright are concerned for his life.
OTHER MEN OF INTEGRITY IN THE BIBLE
Samuel’s Life Is Summarized In This Passage. He puts himself on trial and is found innocent. He put the nation of Israel on trial and they were found guilty. Everyday children of God are put on trial by the choices we make. Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Every child of god is on trial. The claim that Samuel makes, even Saul, David and Solomon would not be able to make such claims. He is saying: “My hands are clean.” The kinds of choices governments make and the church is powerless to fight against is because the church has lost integrity. Once we were the moral conscience of the world. Not anymore. In the church you find crooks, thieves, scandals, perverts, etc. Where are the Daniels?