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Friday, July 13, 2018

Integrity Means I’m the Same Person in Private and in Public

In review of Matthew 5:8 it says, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God” (NLT).

Today’s verse comes from part of the beatitudes given by Jesus. In verse 8 he says, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God

Within the context of the verses around this. Jesus began his sermon with words that seem to contract each other. But what I’m learning is that God's way of living usually contradicts the world's. I must be ready to say and what seems strange to the world. I must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up my own rights in order to serve others, I will one day receive everything God has in store for me.

What Jesus tells me in the beatitudes can be best understood in four ways: (1) They are a code of ethics and a standard of conduct for all believers. (2) They contrast Kingdom values with worldly ones. (3) They contrast the superficial "faith" of the Pharisees with the real faith that Christ demands. (4) They show how the OT expectations will be fulfilled in the new Kingdom.

What Jesus teaches are not multiple choice where I can pick what I like and leave the rest. What he tells me is how to be blessed by God. Being blessed is more than happiness. It implies the fortunate or enviable state of those who are in God's Kingdom. Being blessed by God means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness, I need to follow Jesus not matter what the cost. The question for me to consider today is, “Are my attitudes a carbon copy of the world's selfishness, pride, and lust for power, or do they reflect the humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus, my king?”

As I work to build a life based on values that last, it’s important to establish and maintain integrity. The Bible says in Matthew 5:8, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God” (NLT). To “see God” means to experience the presence of God. As a believer with a pure heart, I can get the opportunity to feel the power of God. And I’ll get to know the purpose of God for my life. I’ll get to live in the peace of God. I can experience the pardon of God.

There is not a lot of talk today about being pure in heart, but we do use the word integrity. To have integrity does not mean I’m perfect, because if it did, none of us would have it! So, what does it mean to have integrity? Integrity is wholeness. A lot of people think of their life like a pie, and the different parts of their life are the pieces of the pie. This slice of the pie is my career. This is my work life. This is my spiritual life. Then this is my family life. That one is my social life. Then over here is my secret lifemy compulsions, addictions, and the things nobody else knows about. If I segment my life like this, I’ll lack integrity, because my life is not a whole. Integrity means I’m the same person with everybody, in my speech, actions, and motives, no matter which part of life I’m dealing with.

Integrity is authenticity. In ancient Greek culture, actors were referred to as hypocrites because they pretended to be someone else. It’s where we get the word hypocrite. When I wear masks so that I appear one way in front of some people and another way for others, it shows a lack of authenticity. God wants me to be exactly who he made me to be, no matter who is watching. Integrity is uncorrupted motivation. It means I do the right thing, and I do it for the right reason. I have unmixed motivation and pure motives. I’m sincere and straightforward in every area of my life and with all people. I pray to talk to God and not to impress others.

Typically in this world we’re interested in image, but God is interested in integrity. We’re interested in reputation, but God is interested in character. Reputation is what everybody thinks you are. Integrity is what you really are. Reputation is what I am in public. Integrity is what I am when I’m all alone with God. “The Lord detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity” (Proverbs 11:20 NLT).

Bottom Line:
God blesses those who have pure hearts.

What this means to me:
God will bless me and allow me to really see and experience him when my heart is pure.

In summary, God will bless me and allow me to really see and experience him when my heart is pure.God's ways are usually contradictory to the world's. God wants me to be concerned for serve others. I do this by giving up my rights in order to serve others. As such it's important for me to establish and maintain integrity. I don't need to be perfect, however I do need to be whole. I need to be the same person with everyone, in my speech, actions, and motives. I need to be authentic with incorruptible motives. While the world is interested in reputation, God is more interested in my character.

Father, this morning I pray for your continued guidance in what I do, how I serve and interact with others. I adopted a mission statement for my life a long time ago, to “live with integrity and make a difference in the lives of others.” I thank you for this reminder this morning of what living with integrity means. It’s more than my reputation, it about who I wholly am. I pray for your continued reminders and guidance in this area. I ask for all of this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, amen!.

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