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Four Benefits of Living with Integrity

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If you’re just joining us today, I encourage you to read yesterday’s post, an introduction to the importance of integrity, HERE.

For the sake of clarity, let’s review the definition of integrity before diving into four of its benefits in our lives. According to Webster’s, integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and fair; the state of being complete or whole. People with integrity do not compromise: they remain undivided. They don’t say one thing and do another.

Here are four major benefits of integrity: 

1. You will get a promotion. When we are faithful in diligently stewarding what God entrusts to us, we are more likely to receive larger areas of stewardship and management for His glory. We must first show that we are trustworthy in our individual relationship with the Almighty (and I am not talking about performance or simply checking-off a “to-do” list for Jesus). We must invest in a real relationship with Christ by reading His word and then applying it to our lives. If we read something that directly contradicts a behavior in our own life, then guess what? It means that in order to please God and grow in our relationship with Him, our behavior must be changed according to God’s word and His sufficient grace. There is no way around this.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 ESV

“But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’” Jeremiah 7:23 ESV

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10 NLT

When Jesus walked the earth, He instructed us not to throw our pearls (that which is valuable to us) to swine (those whom do not understand the value). God is self-consistent, so He Himself will not share the deep mysteries of His eternal heart with those who are  disinterested in His Lordship or who have failed to obey His commands in their own hearts. After all, integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is looking. It’s a humble uprightness.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6  NIV

If you and I prove to God that we are truly interested in knowing Him and obeying His Word, He will honor us. God promises to honor those who honor Him.

“Therefore, the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.” 1 Samuel 2:30 NLT

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4 NLT

2. People will view you as dependable and trustworthy. If you value integrity, live honestly, and work heartily before the Lord, do not be surprised when people begin to seek your counsel and insight. People who are faithful to honor the Lord will not only win favor in the eyes of God, but also in the eyes of men. To be known as an honest and trustworthy person is a major success.

“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4 NIV

“For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.”     2 Corinthians 8:21 ESV

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” Proverbs 11:3 ESV

3. You will be successful in your endeavors. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not providing a recipe for a “get rich quick” scheme or for perfect relationships. These simply doesn’t exist on this side of heaven. However, by seeking honesty, working hard, and considering the well-being of others (each an aspect of integrity), you will produce sustainable, long-term success (a success that can run well into eternity). Remember that anything of great value will take time and diligence to produce. If you sow good and honorable actions, you will reap good and honorable circumstances.

“Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” Galatians 6:7 ESV

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” Proverbs 11:3 ESV

4. You will maintain a spotless reputation. Everything that is done in secret, even if currently hidden from others, will one day  be exposed (in some fashion). It’s an inevitable truth. God sees the heart of every man. When we live in the light of Christ, we know that all of our actions are before His eternal eye. Knowing this, we can be sure that there is no value in being dishonest. Instead we can focus on making strong, honest decisions.

“My lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. Far be it from me to say that you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.” Job 27:4-6

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12 ESV

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The Value of a Strong Mental Diet (Part1)

Often times we’re quick to discuss what we consume on a daily basis, well, food that is. Whether we need a quick detox to boost our immunity and clear our minds, or to shed a few pounds, evaluating our dietary consumption is pretty normal these days.

But, what about our mental diet and the countless messages (whether verbal or visual) that we consume each day? Does the Bible not encourage us to carefully assess our thought patterns and that which comes out of our mouths (a direct byproduct of our thought life), in order to live holy lives for the glory of our Maker?

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect..” Romans 12:1-2 NLT

“But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” Romans 7:23 ESV

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” Psalm 141:3 ESV

I’ve asked myself, and now I’m asking you, how important is your mental diet? And are you aware of what you are actually consuming? Similar to how calorie-counting can shed some pounds and clear our mind, so monitoring what we watch, read, listen to, and think upon, can free us of damaging clutter that creates toxic behaviors and attitudes.

“My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.” Proverbs 23:19 NLT

Allow me to preface this post before I begin. 

I deeply believe it is the active role of the Holy Spirit, not mankind, to convict a person’s heart concerning any destructive behaviors present in one’s life. The Bible clearly expresses what is right and good, and what is sinful and harmful for the lives of mankind. For example, the Bible states “do not murder”, so we know that murder is wrong. But, many other decisions are more ambiguous, such as: should I no longer watch this TV show?

“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer. ” John 16:7-10 NIV

When the Holy Spirit convicts, and the person responds to the conviction by turning away from the behavior, joy, peace, and freedom are fully expressed, because the person has obeyed God.

However, when humans dictate what others should do for the cause of being holy (such as making dietary laws, or imposing their own personal convictions on another), then a person may temporarily oblige, but resentment and contempt for the person will soon follow. This is why forced religion (perhaps in the form of legalism) generates fear of man versus God, and a lackluster approach to knowing and worshipping the Creator God. Avoid this approach at all cost.

I share this with you, because I have absolutely no interest in condemning or trying to play the role of the Holy Spirit in convicting you of certain behaviors in your life. Ultimately, what you choose to fill your mind with, must be between you and the Almighty. However, let me encourage you in ways to fill your minds with positive influences, in order to produce a harvest of good fruit (while simultaneously glorifying your Creator) in your own lives.

Just as the saying “we are what we eat” is proven to be true, “we are what we think” is also highly valid. How high or low you think of yourself has huge implications on how you present yourself to others and what you achieve in this life. As my pastor likes to say, “We will never rise above the level of our thinking”. You must see yourself as you truly are in Christ. So, how exactly do we do this?

Join me tomorrow as I share four specific ways you can transform your thought-life (through the power of the Holy Spirit) by a practical, biblical focus on the positive in order to live a better life and glorify God.

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! Are you currently a subscriber? If not, we would love to have you! Click HERE to begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox each morning. Thank you! To God be the glory!

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The Reassurance of Christ as our Shepherd

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am sharing one passage of scripture each day this week. Specifically, we will focus on how each scripture can be used for your encouragement and life application. To God be the glory!

While meeting with the Lord this morning, I stood in the midst of a thick fog and observed the unhurried flow of a frigid river. The scene was peacefully still,  and my mind immediately recalled Psalms 23. As we read this passage, let’s be encouraged with the fact that Jesus Christ is not only our Lord, but He is also our shepherd:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, brining honor to his name.” Psalm 23:1-3 NLT

This is beautiful. Can you see the righteous and true depiction of who Jesus is in your life? Pay attention to what His word is speaking to us. This Psalm describes a deep, personal intimacy in which David refers to God as “my shepherd”. We can adopt this same attitude towards Christ.

While there are submissive sheep, there are also rebellious sheep. Let me ask you: Are you obedient to the Lord? Do you allow Jesus to be your personal shepherd? As you seek to grow in obedience in your walk with the Lord, you can be greatly encouraged by the clearly defined outcomes of choosing to allow Jesus to be your own personal shepherd.

1. When Jesus leads and you obediently follow, then you will have all that you need. Let that sink in for a minute. You will lack for nothing if you allow Jesus to lead you.

2. Jesus allows, desires, and longs for you and I to rest. And not just to rest anywhere, but to rest in the most vibrant, life-giving circumstances because of His faithful provision. Jesus can allow a sheep who’s been wrestling in the mud of life’s trials and tribulations to rest in the presence of His goodness (even if the trials continue). This is why He is the Great Shepherd. He desires extraordinary good for His sheep, which we can gain by submitting to His leadership, obeying His word, and including Him in our daily life choices through prayer .

3. As your Shepherd, Jesus promises that He will lead and direct you into places of peace. We all want peace. We don’t want to fret and worry and fear. How reassuring is it to know God doesn’t want that for us either? If we surrender our life choices (and the stress that often accompanies them) to the Lord Jesus, then we will be in peace. God wants us to enjoy life and to live in peace (which is exemplified in the form of His Son, Jesus, who first died to pay for our sins, rose to give us eternal salvation, and now leads us daily). There is no reason for any Christian to forfeit His gracious blessings.

4. As your Shepherd, Jesus renews your strength. Soak in this truth for a moment. This is what you are promised when Jesus leads you. He will renew your strength. In addition to strength, Jesus will guide you along the right (the correct, true, and righteous) paths, so that you may bring honor to His name.

We must release control of our lives. By releasing our worries and our deeply ingrained fears, we can trust God instead. Trust this Shepherd, who promises that we shall lack nothing that we need. Trust Jesus, because He truly is for your good. You will reap the benefits of letting go and letting God.

May your heart be encouraged and challenged today as you apply this passage of scripture to your own life.

Application Questions

1. What areas of your life do you believe are lacking the guidance of God? Where do you feel confusion, a lack of peace, worry, and/or a fear of what’s to come? I encourage you to prayerfully write these specific areas down on a piece of paper or in a journal.

2. Next, take these same areas you just listed (above in question #1), and prayerfully evaluate if you have surrendered these areas to the control and Lordship of Jesus Christ. By granting Jesus permission to lead you as your personal Shepherd and by trusting that He is eternally for your good, you can release your dependency on yourself and invite the power of the Holy Spirit to transform your life. This is where you will experience “rest in green meadows and peaceful streams.”

Recommended Prayer Points 

    • Deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the study of God’s Word
    • Humility to rely on Christ instead of yourself (or pride in self-dependency)
    • New measure of trust to depend on God and to believe He is truly for your good
    • Faith and strength to obey God’s word and to follow Him every day
    • Wisdom and discernment to know God’s will for your life

 

 

 

Photo provided by ndgallery.com 

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