Integrity is not defined by proclaiming to be honest; it’s defined by the choices we make. When it comes to integrity, our words have to match our actions. We can’t just say we have integrity. We must choose it.
For me, my hardest integrity issue is with money. I fear what the future may hold, and this fear has caused me, over the course of my life, to compromise my integrity. In college, I was told I couldn’t return a brand new pair of shoes, because I didn’t have the original box. So… I took a box off the shelf and proceeded to return the shoes with the different box, even though I knew it meant that I would get more money back than I had paid. Could I justify it? Sure. Did I? Yes. This hurts to admit, but in the end I chose deceit and theft.
Integrity is a hard choice, because it asks us to deny our selfish desires. We miss the opportunity to get what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. Denying your desires isn’t easy, comfortable, or fun. This is a big part of what makes choosing integrity so hard.
There are three things that help when making an integrity choice. First, choose to think about the fact that whatever we gain in the moment, lasts but a moment. God’s truth lasts a lifetime. Second, choose to think about the consequences. The consequences of returning those shoes were much greater than losing $25. Third, choose to dive into God’s Word. By planting our heart deep within His truth, we will be able to live by the integrity of what it says.
Integrity means choosing what God says is right, even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn’t easy. God doesn’t force us to live with integrity, but when we understand it, we don’t have to be forced. We choose it because it means living a lifestyle that gives life. You won’t regret choosing integrity!