73. What is integrity and how do I attain it?

Integrity is present when a person has the qualities of faithfulness, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, truthfulness and self-control. The teachings of the Bible especially those of Jesus Christ and the early Apostles, Paul, James, Peter and John teach us a lot about integrity.

Paul said ‘There are three things that remain – faith, hope and love – the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Trust is based on love. If we do not love one another we will not trust one another. A person of integrity will love others unconditionally.

1 Timothy 3 verse 2 says that elders, if they are married must be husbands who are faithful to one wife. This standard indicates that the husband is a man of integrity. In Ephesians 4 verses 14 – 16, Paul states that we indicate our maturity in Christ when ‘we lovingly follow the truth, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the head of His body, the Church.’ Loving the truth is an indication of integrity.

James taught in James chapter 3 verse 2: ‘If anyone can control his tongue, it proves that he has perfect control over himself in every other way.’ Peter wrote in 2 Peter chapter 1 verses 3 – 8: ‘For as you know Him better, he will give you, through his great power everything you need to live a truly good life: he even shares his own glory and his own goodness with us! And by that same mighty power he has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings he promised; for instance the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness around us, and to give us his own character. But to obtain these gifts, you need more faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough, For then you must learn to know God better, and discover what he wants you to do. Next learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have his way with you. Next learn to put aside your own desires and so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have his way with you. This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people, and like them, for you will grow to love them deeply. The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow and become spiritually strong and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ.’

These are the steps we can take to be people of integrity.

King David, who wrote Psalm 15, gives the reason why it is important to be a person of integrity and then he gives us eight principles that will guide us to be people of integrity: “Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? (or who may enter His presence?) Those who lead blameless lives (people of integrity) and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts; Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbours or speak evil of their friends; Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honour the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts; Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.’