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Success will come and go but integrity is forever

Jun 2015    

Integrity springs from inner purity. It is rooted in one’s heart. It is the internal character of God’s people.

 

Many years ago I was complaining to my immediate leader about a questionable practice of a fellow worker. I questioned the integrity of the person. The well-respected leader told me not to bother about it. He told me that this person has been an efficient administrator and so we can ignore his questionable practices.

 

This is the problem of a world where success is valued at any cost. The Church is falling prey to this trend.

 

Is integrity the least talked-about virtue in our churches today?

 

God’s people are called to be people of integrity. In fact, integrity should be the “very essence of Christian life and ministry”. It is the “soundness of moral principle and character, uprightness and honesty”. It pleases God.

 

Our eternal dwelling depends on the integrity we practice on this earth. In Psalm 15:1, a question was raised to God: “Yahweh, who shall dwell in your sanctuary? Who shall live on your holy hill?” (World English Bible)

 

If our dwelling is with the Lord, we need to remind ourselves that He dwells in His holy sanctuary. It calls us to honesty and purity in our service to God.

 

We need to die to the cheap and subtle practices in our lives and ministries. God’s people have to keep away from deceitful intentions.

 

King David was conscious of this divine demand, to be consistent in his attitude and actions. He was upright and pure in all his dealings of his administration. “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” (Psalm 78:72) Good stewardship is not mere efficiency alone, but it comes with integrity.

 

Integrity springs from inner purity. It is rooted in one’s heart. It is the internal character of God’s people. David prayed for purity of the heart. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10)

 

Integrity should be evident in our lives. One cannot hide it. When we seek God and His righteousness, all other things are added unto us. Then we will relate rightly to others.

 

In Psalm 15, David rightly expresses integrity in terms of our conversation (no gossip and slander), action (do what is right), dedication (commitment at all cost) and in every transaction (clean hands in our financial dealings and no exploitation).

 

Friends, as Christians, we may or will lose many things. But we cannot afford to lose our integrity. Job was a classic example of standing firm with integrity. He lost his health, wealth and family. But he remained steadfast with integrity (Job 2:9).

 

Our spiritual stability and standing depend upon our integrity before God. “Whoever does these things will never be shaken.” (Psalms 15:5) “Who may stand in his holy place?” (Psalms 24:3)

 

We need to pray to God that He will raise men and women of integrity in our churches, so that we will not be merely chasing success, but will be guided with integrity in all our relationships and interactions.

The Rev R. Prabhu was elected President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) in 2012 for the quadrennium. He is also Pastor-in-Charge of Ang Mo Kio Tamil and Seletar Tamil Methodist Churches.

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