This morning we took the first step out of humility and moved into integrity. Here are the slides…
Integrity is not the most compelling human characteristic. It’s hard to sign up for integrity. In fact, we all experienced at an early age that we don’t need integrity to succeed. Do you remember the kid in 3rd grade who cheated on tests and always got away with it? He never got caught – was dumb as a brick and got the “A” while you struggled to make a “C”. He laughed and moved on only to repeat this all the way the through. No one ever caught him and if they did, he’d get a slap on the wrist and go right back to the cheating. We have examples all around us of men lacking integrity who seem to have it “all” – Tiger Woods, the former Governor of South Carolina Marc Sanford, Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky, etc.
The fact is there are people who always seem to get everything, always get ahead and always get away with it. For some people – usually it seems the ones without integrity – life is a breeze. Is it me or can you relate? Integrity seems to hold us back. If we make the choice to be men of integrity, we’ll probably be out of the running for that promotion. The three other guys vying for that job will kiss up to the boss, they’ll go to the bars/strip clubs to entertain the big customer, they’ll stab one another in the back to make themselves appear to be the obvious choice for the big job. And there you sit a man of integrity, refusing to sell out to get ahead.
But the truth is, without integrity we will find we don’t even possess the will or the resolve to overcome the pressures of life. We no longer know where the “line” is and we begin to lose ourselves. The truth is, no one gets away with it forever.
Integrity comes from the word “integer” which means indivisible, whole and complete. A man of integrity is in alignment with God. His life is integrated – he is the same man at home, at work, at play, at night.
David is our Maximus, our Braveheart. He was terribly flawed and made huge mistakes. Integrity is not about being faultless but rather false-less. David had integrity and then gave away his integrity because having risen to the pinnacle, he forgot how he got there. Eventually, his true integrity re-emerged and became realigned with God.
David was a sheep-keeper. He earned his resume doing his not-so-noble job while no one was watching. The mark of integrity is what a man does when no one is watching. A man who sacrifices and gives and never thinks “I wonder if folks will know what all I’ve done.” He just does the right thing.
David became king because he was a man of integrity, he did his job and he stepped up to face Goliath without fear because he knew his training had prepared him for this moment – this time when everyone would be watching.
Are you pulled by this notion that your life should count? Are you longing to do something significant? Are you longing to be chosen? Chosen by God?
God looks at your heart – not your beauty, strength, skills or charm – it is your heart He knows. He knows the men of integrity and calls them UP.
Because we are given free will, man has the ability to become disintegrated from God’s design. And so man begins to hide his true self, his core. He layers false fronts or facades around his true self. He poses. He thinks he needs to be tough like a cowboy or a “real man” and so he starts dressing that way, acting that way, putting up a false self in order to impress others. These layers accumulate and build and we do whatever we can to be real and expose our true self, our true fears.
Religion, by the way, drives all your energy to your outer facade, your most external shell. In religion, we put on the ultimate face and we hide our core and that’s why religion will leave you empty and eventually fill you with guilt and shame. But Jesus came to change us from the inside out. He came to liberate us from the prisons of our own making – to break the poses, break the facades and expose our true self. In total brokenness and humility we come to Jesus and from that place, he begins to rebuild us from the inside out by teaching us humility and integrity and then moving us into courage to live the life He designed for you.
So where are you? Are you posing? Are you tired of the facade, tired of not being an integrated man – the same person at work, home, play and at church? Are you ready to go? To be called UP to something far bigger than yourself? Are you willing to let go of the rat race and trust God that He will honor your decision to be a man of integrity?
The time is now. There is a grand adventure waiting on the other side of this decision for you. Will you LiveUP?