Thoughts on Integrity
My new daily reading program this morning took me to Romans 2. This initial chapters are quite familiar and I skimmed over the verses but several verses seemed to jump out at me:
Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. (Rom. 2.17-24)
I admit, when I was reading this I didn’t immediately feel it was talking to me, I certainly don’t call myself a Jew! So I kind of skimmed over the verses, but something pulled me back. It doesn’t matter whether you or I are a Jew or not, this passage speaks to us!
Paul was warning the Romans to DWYSYWD.
DWYSYWD. It’s a fancy Greek word.
Actually it’s not Greek. It’s an English acronym: Do What You Say You Would Do. Another way of saying it is “Practice what you preach.”
This passage is all about integrity. Anyone, whether you are a religious leader, CEO, parent, teacher, preacher, band manager, Hungry Jacks manager…… At some point, every single person will be expected to do something. If you say you are going to do something in a particular way, and you don’t do it, it’s really not good. People rely on you to get the job done.
In a Christian sense, this is particularly relevant.
We tell Jesus we will follow him. So what should we do? A person with integrity will follow Jesus because that’s what they said they would do.
My question is this: Can a person who has no integrity be a Christian at all?
Let’s say a person – Joshua, we’ll name him – wants to be a basketballer, so he says, “I’m going to play basketball,” and then doesn’t play basketball. Can Joshua rightly be called a basketballer?
Proverbs 28:18 says “Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but the one whose ways are crooked will suddenly fall.”
Now of course when we accept Christ as our saviour, he send the Holy Spirit to live within us, who replaces our old heart with a new – we become a new creation. The Spirit guides us, directs us, instructs us and encourages us. Thus as we pay attention to the Spirit, which we do as we do the spiritual disciplines (regular prayer, bible reading, etc.), our hearts are centered and our vision focused on Christ and we will live with integrity.
Integrity in the Christian life means Doing What You Said You Would Do, and we have said we would, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, deny ourselves, daily taking up our cross and coming after Christ.