In the 21st century Church, there is an enormous amount of chatter about integrity; however, there are not nearly enough models of it. One might say, if we talked about it more, we would perhaps see it more. Yet, talk won’t produce anything but a dry mouth. If we are going to live with integrity we
must decide to commit to lifestyles that produce it.
Like it or not, the Bible confirms that Christians, especially, Christians leaders are held to a higher standard of living. We should embrace and model
integrity in every aspect of our lives: physically, emotionally and spiritually—
in private and in public!
Integrity is a straightforward yet exceptionally intricate word. As a noun, there are two applicable definitions: 1) “the quality of being honest and fair”
and 2) “the state of being complete or whole.” Integrity can be applied to a person, place or thing. For example, when data, structures, or the environment is damaged, it is said to have a “breach” or “lack” of integrity. Integrity when applied to a person, however, pertains to one’s character.
When a person has integrity, they are found to be honest, fair, truthful and equitable. Truthfulness is not only the essence of integrity; it is the Biblical
requisite for an authentic worshipper. Jesus sets this idea forth in John 4:23-24, when He gives the woman at the well clarity regarding authentic
practices of worship.
“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who
will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NLT)
In the text, the two words, “true” and “truth” denote, “That which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the
name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine.”
As we examine the concept of “integrity” in its application to our lives as worshipers I want to first address a few related issues:
First, standards of integrity established by people that are higher than those set in the Bible are not “true” standards of integrity.
Some standards (often set by those you serve) that are unfair, unreasonable and utterly impossible to achieve. These “superimposed” standards are rarely
verbalized or formally written, you usually only hear about them after you’ve violated them. Ironically, most of the time those who set them cannot themselves live up to them. It is admittedly foolish to try to live up to these
standards because they constantly fluctuate.
Second, integrity is not often celebrated—even within the Christian community.
Countless Church leaders live lives of integrity. Sadly, their stories all too often go untold and their contributions go unnoticed. Although they can’t claim perfection (nor can any of us), the blessing is, they have offered the
Kingdom no shame!
Third, as a worshiper, a member of a church, or a participant in any facet of
the worship/creative arts ministry at your Church, you are a leader, like it or not!
Therefore, the growth of the Kingdom and the power of your Church’s ministry are contingent upon your integrity.