The Value Of Christian Integrity
Christian integrity means we will try our best all the time to live by the highest principles of Christian behavior. One of Jesus’ closest disciples wrote this to those who wanted to follow Christ: “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did” (1 Jn. 2:6 NIV). While we can never earn our salvation by doing good works, we should always be giving some evidence that we are saved. That evidence is proof to the world that we are Christians.
Example Of Fruit
In the garden by my home in Khartoum, Sudan, I enjoyed growing a small amount of fruit. I planted melon seeds which grew into vines and produced sweet melons. I planted banana suckers which produced the hanging clusters of tasty yellow fruit. I planted lime trees and drank many glasses of juice rich in vitamin C from their green, round fruit.
It may seem obvious to say, but the melons only grew on melon vines, the bananas only grew on banana stalks, and the limes did not grow anywhere else but on lime trees. God planned this right back at the beginning of everything: “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:12). As Christians, we should only produce good fruit. Bad fruit is a perversion of God’s intended purpose for us (Jn. 15:5).
A Christian’s life should witness positively about Jesus Christ, even without words being spoken. Christian integrity means we will be Christlike in our lifestyle. Our habits, attitudes, values and standards will all recommend Christianity to those who live around us. People will notice the difference, and will like what they see and hear. And we will have introduced Jesus to them by “walking as Jesus walked.”
When they ask what makes us so different, we have an opportunity to introduce them to our living Lord. God sees this as good behavior. “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).
Example Of Children
Children often look and sound like their parents. While staying in the home of a Khartoum pastor, I remember noticing his young son sitting at his desk, typing on his computer. He was sitting in exactly the same position as I’d seen his father sit. When his mother called out “Rani, it’s time to go to bed,” the boy said with the same tone of voice I’d heard his father use many times: “Just a moment, darling, I’ll come as soon as I finish this.” I couldn’t help but smile.
As Christians we are children of our Father God: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 Jn. 3:1). We should live in our everyday world remembering that we represent our Father who is in heaven. People will notice the godly characteristics in our behavior, even if we are not aware of it. Jesus told his disciples: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).
Example Of Wholeness
Another aspect of integrity is “wholeness.” Something that is whole has everything necessary to be complete. A healthy person is a whole person. A healthy Christian is one who practices integrity throughout his or her life. People who say they are Christians but who don’t show it are not healthy Christians, if they are really Christians at all.
Think back to the fruit in my garden for a moment. Suppose my banana tree was able to speak, and kept saying, “I’m a banana tree! I’m a banana tree! I’m a banana tree!” I could hear its voice, but when I looked for the bananas, there were none there. How would I feel? I’d probably think (and maybe even talk back to my banana tree when no one was looking) “Listen up tree! Stop talking and start fruiting! The best way for me to know you are a good banana tree is for you to produce lots of yellow, crescent-shaped fruit for me to enjoy. Don’t say another word. Show me what you are by your fruit!”
In our daily lives we will discover many practical situations where we face choices as Christians. We can either go on doing what most people around us do, or we can choose the pathway of Christian integrity and do what Jesus would do. The decision to choose Christian integrity might make our lives more difficult, and may even result in our having to pay a price for living the Christian way. But it is the only way that brings delight to our Father in heaven.
Let’s pray this prayer as we begin each day: “Lord Jesus, help me learn what is the right way to live, and help me to live that way always. Thank You for promising to help me. We are in this together! Let Your light shine through me in the darkness. In your name we pray name, Amen.”
By Colin Salter
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org