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Integrity
Brett Anderson ©2004

I got sent this week's Thort a long time ago from a friend of mine who I met online called Missy D - think there are some key truths here that we will all do well to take note of and measure our lives against - trust there will be something for you. When the article talks about 'ministry' I think it is talking about what each of us have in whatever job we are in and not specifically to people working in and for the church as we might think of ministry. We are all called to ministry whether in the secular or Christian environment.

Integrity:

"The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness.

But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians - when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths." Sheldon Vanauken.

From God's perspective, faithful Christians are those men and women who exhibit their work and themselves in a way that makes others want to know, "What's different about you?" When others observe you at work, what are they going to see?

Will they notice what Paul calls, "The acts of the sinful nature: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like?" (Galatians 5:19-21).

Or will people look at you and see that "the fruit of the Spirit and see that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control"? (Galatians 5:22).

Whether you're called into a Christian or a secular work environment, your integrity as a worker and as a Christian will either stand or fall on the quality of life you exhibit. Integrity, how you are respected by others, is the pivot point that can turn your Christian faith into an opportunity that either honors God or embarrasses Him.

Exhibiting Your Integrity:

1. You exhibit integrity through your ministry by getting the job done.

2. You exhibit your integrity at ministry by doing excellent work.

Doing a job is one thing. Doing it with a commitment to excellence is quite another. And it's this commitment to quality that should be the hallmark of a Christian's work. Paul reminds us that a Christian's commitment to excellence reflects his integrity through his relationship with God. To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, "... whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). Should it be any other way? How can slipshod work glorify an excellent God? When a person decides to live for God, it seems only natural to want to minister to reflect the excellence of the Creator and Lord. That's why, if you choose to see your career from God's perspective, you'll want to produce the highest quality of work you know how.

3. You exhibit integrity in the quality of life you lead at ministry.

This is integrity that is lived out through the relationships you have with others. The Apostle Peter will never step into your ministry setting, but he knows exactly what it means for you to be a Christian who displays integrity to all around you: "live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us" (1 Peter 2:12)

Can you see how a Christian's integrity is able to take shape in the ministry world? It starts as you commit to do your ministry. It grows as others see the excellence you put into your work. And a Christian's integrity really begins to shine when others see that WHAT you do is really a reflection of WHO you are. Your integrity becomes not only a trademark of your work, but also a hallmark of your very life. Live the Life.

Your walk talks, and your talk walks, but your walk talks faster than your talk walks.

4. You exhibit integrity at work in communicating your faith to others.

This principle is described in 1 Peter 3:15: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." The ideal way to share your faith is to earn the right to be heard, and then to respond to the questions others ask about your life and faith.

Integrity: What Do YOU Think?

How does integrity fit into your ministry life? Look at the following questions and think about/write down your responses to each before going on to the next one.

In what ways are today's Christians "out-thinking, out-living, and out-dying" unbelievers in our generation?

In what ways does this phrase describe you in your ministry?

Can you think of any Christians who live an exceptional life in their ministry? What characterizes their behavior? Their ministry?

How does a Christian "earn the right to be heard?" In what ways are you earning the right to be heard in your workplace?

"Your walk talks and your talk walks, but your walk talks faster than your talk walks." How does this saying relate to the Biblical Ministry Principle of integrity as explained in this message?

A possible practical application of this week's thort is to set an "action goal" to help you apply the principle of integrity. Think of an area where you lack integrity in your day to day life.

Make it measurable and specific. Example: "Since my hot temper is my trademark at ministry, I'm going to make a long-needed appointment with a Christian counselor and begin resolving this problem that's obviously a hindrance to my Christian testimony."