The word integrity can bring to mind many other words—morals, ethics, values, and character. In the spiritual context, however, I immediately think of holiness and purity. While it may seem that we hear more and more about corruption and dishonesty, we know that the need for integrity, holiness, and purity is as old as human history.
David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), passionately pursued integrity and purity in every aspect of his life and relationship with the Lord:
- “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4a).
- “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you” (Psalm 25:21).
- “Create in me a pure heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10a).
In fact, the Lord lifts up David’s pursuit of integrity as a model with a promise to Solomon that if he walks “in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did” (1 Kings 9:4) God would establish Solomon’s throne over Israel forever.
God desires us to have a pure heart and live a life of integrity that is pleasing in his sight and is integral in our walk with him. God’s purity and holiness is the ultimate expression—and source—of integrity.
From an earthly point of view, however, we know that we all fall short (Romans 3:23) of this pursuit. Temptation, carnality, self-centeredness, and pride get in the way.
As we strive for integrity, we are striving to be Christ-like. This pursuit of Christ-likeness brings a greater demonstration of integrity and a greater opportunity for mission. In everything we do, say, and think, our integrity allows others to more clearly see Christ and have the opportunity to come to know the God behind the integrity. Our lives can serve as Christ-like shining examples of purity and holiness in a world darkened by sin.
The power of integrity is the power of mission.
My background is a bit unique: I came from a Hindu family, practiced the Sikh faith, was educated in a Muslim school, and am now a Christian believer. I’ve had the opportunity to look at the matter of integrity from the perspective of several religions. I know that all of my friends, regardless of their religion, look at integrity as being very important. What is important to them (and to all outside the Christian faith) is whether there is a link between my belief and my behavior. Does being a Christian impact what I do? Is there a visible, tangible aspect to my integrity? Are my actions consistent with my belief?
In this issue of Lausanne World Pulse, we’re looking at several aspects of “The Power of Integrity” as it relates to funding, mission statistics, and personal holiness. I hope you’ll be as encouraged as I am that Christians are pursuing greater measures of personal and corporate integrity that help strengthen the witness of Christ.
One question that can be raised is whether someone can have integrity in one area and not another. You’ve likely heard it said, “Character is what you are when no one is watching.” You don’t need a firm of auditors or inspectors to determine someone’s integrity. If a life is not lived consistent with integrity, it will be exposed.
I like the term “holistic integrity”—integrity that is practiced in every aspect of life. I am a husband, father, brother, son, cousin, businessman, co-worker, neighbor, board chair, etc. While I may have different responsibilities and expectations placed on me in each one of those roles, I strive to live with integrity regardless. Is your goal to live a life of integrity? Are you consistent in your character, no matter what happens or who is looking?
Lausanne and Cape Town 2010
The Lausanne Movement is seeking to encourage the global Body of Christ in the area of integrity—both in our message of the truth of Christ and how we present it in all spheres of society. The recently released Cape Town Commitment emphasizes integrity as a foundation for our Christian living, behavior, and discipleship. The Cape Town Commitment addresses a whole host of matters in this area, including poverty, wealth, stewardship, and personal humility. We recognize that God is the giver of all gifts and is the source of all wealth. As stewards of these resources, we need integrity to manage all that God has given us.
Post-Cape Town 2010, Lausanne is focusing its efforts on the priorities outlined in The Cape Town Commitment and is building mechanisms to evaluate and track our progress. We’re moving beyond just a gathering towards real, sustainable action on the priorities of world evangelization.
Additionally out of the Congress, the Lausanne Resource Mobilization Working Group has established the Global Generosity Declaration, which challenges Christians worldwide to increase their level of giving from an estimated two percent of income to three percent and more. An increase of just one percent could mean a significant unleashing of resources for the church and missions.
The Lausanne Standards were also launched at Cape Town 2010. The Lausanne Standards for giving and receiving income helps donors and recipients interact with each other with integrity and accountability.
I encourage you to consider adopting both the Declaration and Standards for your work and ministry.
Accountability is important not only in corporate integrity and holiness, but also in personal integrity and holiness. I belong to a prayer triplet with two other men. We pray for each other and ask one another the tough questions about how we’re living our lives. Who do you share with about what is happening at the deepest level of your heart? Who holds you accountable for how you react to the weakness and temptations you face?
I recommend that everyone—regardless of position, wealth, or location—pursue the development of a trusted prayer triplet. Everyone needs to be accountable for their actions and choices. When we’re tempted to lower the bar and not meet the level of integrity Christ demands from us, praying with and sharing with others is an important support mechanism.
What steps can you take today to live a life that demonstrates the power of integrity?