"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

WoW: Bridges and Integrity (Proverbs 10:9)

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9 ESV)

Integrity is a word that is valued in our society. But is it being lived out? What does it mean to walk with integrity? Solomon tells us that to walk with integrity is to walk securely. How does having integrity bring security? As usually I'm going to use a man wiser than I to help answer these questions.

In the context, looking at the contrasting statement, it is clear that integrity brings security because a man of integrity has nothing to hide. The crooked, on the other hand, are always afraid of being found out.
Bridges: Impurity indeed defiles the holiest exercise. But if the will be rightly bent, the integrity will be maintained. ‘Show me an easier path’—is nature's cry. ‘Show me’—cries the child of God—‘a sure path.’

Our natural desire is for the easy way, the path of least resistance. Integrity, however, demands of us that we walk not the easy path, but the right (sure) path. In Psalm 15:1-4 we are told that the man who will dwell with God is one who will swear to his own hurt and does not change. As an example of this idea Bridges reminds us of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego:
Bridges: There will be difficulties. But a deliverance will be wrought through them; as the Babylonish captives were delivered through the fire from the infinite greater danger of apostacy. (Daniel 3:21-29)

If we are God's adopted sons, then we must walk in integrity. This is part of our calling. Sometimes this will mean owning up to the truth when the truth does not make us look godly. Sometimes this will mean honoring commitments regardless of the cost. Sometimes this means drawing the wrath of trusted friends, colleagues, and, yes, even family.
Bridges: Learn then the value of this principle for an enlightened and full reception of the truth; that we may welcome " a Prince as well as a Saviour" (Acts 5:31); combine his sceptre with his sacrifice, his holy precepts with his precious promises and prove the influence of a vital faith in godly practice. We shall thus carry out the rule of the Gospel into everything, making God the master of every thought, word, temper, motive, not less in our secular calling than in our spiritual devotedness. (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17) Such an upright walk will bring a happy confidence. ‘The man, conscious to himself of an honest meaning, and a due course of prosecuting it, feeleth no check or struggling of mind, no regret or sting of heart. He therefore briskly moveth forward with courage, there being within him nothing to make him halt, to distract or disturb him.'

In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. (Luke 12:1-2 ESV)

Integrity means we are who we say we are, and we tell the truth. The opposite (Luke 12:1) is to be a hypocrite. Saying we are something we are not and trying to hide the truth behind a lie. But ultimately the truth will win out (Luke 12:2). Jesus repeated this truth to His disciples on more than one occassion (see Matthew 10:26; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17). The one who does not walk in integrity, but instead perverts (the KJV word) his ways, is not comfortable, because he knows that the truth will come out.
Bridges: But to bend our rule to our own humour; to pervert our ways to escape trouble, or for some interested end, will shake our confidence far more than the heaviest cross. The eye of God knows the deviation already (John 6:70-71), and will bring it to shame. (Luke 12:1-2; 1 Timothy 5:24)

Bridges noted that we do not expect sinless perfection in this life, but we do expect "Christian" perfection (An upright walk is Christian, not sinless, perfection). When the world sees us, they should recognize that we are people of integrity. When we sin, we must own up to that sin. Even to our own hurt. Even hypocrisy will occur, and that too is something to which we must own up and of which we must repent. More often, I would guess, me than you. But that doesn't let you off the hook.


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