The integrity of the fight

Compromising is never an option for Christians, as much as we may want to take shortcuts (like stealing).

The believer’s walk of faith is one that is to be personified with integrity. “Integrity” may be a word that we do not hear a lot of, but certainly should be mentioned more frequently.

My lack of experiences with integrity being discussed in the church has actually prompted me to provide a working definition: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

God prompts us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16), and as the Bible describes him as lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22) and a lover of justice (Psalm 11:7), he surely places a value on integrity.

Ephesians 1:4 says this of the called of God: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

Consequently, Proverbs 2:7 exhorts, “He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.

Being “blameless,” then, is to have spiritual and moral integrity.  When we walk in integrity, God assures us that we will have the victory. When we go outside of integrity to try and achieve what God has already promised us is when we find ourselves in trouble.

You might recall Saul, the first king over Israel. When Saul gathered troops at Gilgal to fight against the Philistines, they experienced a major setback. The Philistines grossly outnumbered Israel’s troops, so much so that the men of Israel hid in caves, among rocks and even crossed back over the Jordan River!

The prophet Samuel gave Saul clear instruction before sending the king to Gilgal. First Samuel 10:8 reads, “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”

Saul, because of the fear of his troops, neglected this command. This is his reaction in 1 Samuel 13:8-10:

He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

Samuel, to be sure, was not pleased with what Saul had done. Saul acted out of desperation and compulsion. Though Samuel took longer than Saul expected, he still knew he was not supposed to make the offering—that was a role designated for the priest (Samuel).

Saul believed he needed to neglect the Lord’s command to be successful, much like we do from time to time. The pressure of his situation wore on him so tough, that he disregarded what God told him and took matters into his own hands. Does that sound familiar?

The saddest part is that if Saul had waited just a little while longer, Samuel would have come with clear instructions, rather than Saul having to act impulsively. At times, it can be difficult to wait. If the alternative were being out of the will of God, however, thus ensuring my defeat, then I would rather wait.

Because of his actions, Saul had to face the consequences—though Saul thought he was seeking God’s favor. 1 Samuel 13:13-14 reads:

“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

Saul lost his position as king because of his lack of integrity. All over the body of Christ, people are losing what God wants them to have because they are unwilling to uphold God’s standard.

What we must realize, though, is that we do not have to compromise—never! There is no way that God would make us all these promises and have us bear Christ’s name if we were just going to take matters into our own hands in the end.

When operating outside of integrity, one somehow finds his or her way into becoming a liar.

God clearly hates lying, as Proverbs 6:16-17 states, “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood.”

It was not a problem, however, for Saul to go on and lie to Samuel about following God’s command to “attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them” (1 Samuel 15:3).

If we can address our integrity issues now, it will save us a world of trouble. Because Saul never did, he went from being impulsive, to disobedient, to a liar, to a thief, to rejected, scorned and, finally, dead.

However, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

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~ by christianballenger on July 11, 2011.

One Response to “The integrity of the fight”

  1. Come ON!

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