1. (n.) moral soundness.
As addicts and deniers of truth, we can manipulate what is means to have moral soundness. The definition of what it means to be moral changes to suit our needs. We justify, we lie to others, to ourselves, we compare ourselves to others and grade on a curve. To live a life of integrity is complex, to change the pattern of thinking from addict mind to a christ-centered mind takes intentionality, and when we spend time looking at what is says in the bible, this great big instruction manual for life, we can gain the perspective we need to make real lasting changes in our lives.
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. (James 3:2-12 NLT)
What point is James trying to make through these illustrations? With all of the comparisons, we see that words are powerful. We taught our kids to say sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me, which is ridiculous and not biblical! Words are powerful, our tongues can be like poison; killing everything it slashes with our bite, or it can be a small rudder or bit guiding us and those around us. It can be contagious like a wildfire and it can either destroy or rebuild growth depending on the control of it.
Much of our human expression is through words. If you want to know someones heart you need to listen. So often we are on the defense in life and we are not out to listen, we are out to protect what we are really feeling, making sure we don’t hurt feelings, making sure that other people we don’t trust don’t figure us out, cause if they figure us out then they will not like what they see, cause we don’t like what we see. We haven’t fully surrendered our position as a child of God, we take on responsibilities we were not intended to take on, identities we were not meant to carry and it steered us so far away from the life designed for us.
Integrity; say what you mean, do what you say.
Don’t over analyze, keep focused on God and you will bear fruit in your life. You will feel healthy, fulfilled, your purpose will be shown!
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18 NLT)
Look at this second definition for integrity;
2. (n.) an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting.
The God-sized hole we either currently or used to try to fill with “sex, drugs and rock and roll” still left us feeling divided, broken and incomplete. With integrity we no longer need to compartmentalize our lives, acting differently with different groups of people. One way at church and another at the bar. One way at work and another way at home. To live with integrity means we are complete, undivided, the same across the board. With Jesus, we find integrity of this proportion, with nothing wanting. Better than any other high, any other idol, any other solution. We can own up to the past and our pettiness, our responsibility in our irresponsibility. We can practice humility and we gain wisdom and integrity in the process. These are God’s promises for our lives.