Wednesday, June 16

Guided By Integrity

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Proverbs 11:3

OK. "Integrity" guides and "crookedness" destroys. That's the short of it. On first blush, who wouldn't want the former? Still, it is the majority who follow (sometimes blindly) the latter. What do these terms mean? 

We read in 2:7 and 10:9 that God both shields and secures those who "walk in integrity." The Omnipotent interposes Himself between his children and their attackers, and protects them. To the believing soul, hardly any other word could make them feel God's love more. Further, integrity finds meaning in the life of Job. God said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason” (Job 2:3). The bold printed words above describe in part what comprise a man of integrity. Taken together they describe one who operates within what we term a theocentric mindset. In other words, it is no stretch for him to see and to think and to act FROM a God-saturated position. It is his place of preference, and of pursuit. It is NOT a passive position, however! Purposeful, yes!

Point? Whenever anything comes into this person's life, they need not "hem and haw" as to how they should respond. The law of God written in his heart dictates readily where they should go, what they should do. They do not seek out what is most advantageous to their pursuits for they know that one is always most advantaged when they hear and obey God. Period!

On the other hand, the crooked are dictated to by their own selfish heart and respond to stimuli with a "whatever makes me feel better" attitude. It's not about what is right or wrong. No, it's about what I want! And because God owns all things and WILL have the preeminence, they will not long endure who kick against His rule. They hate this. But it is true nonetheless. A Handbook on Proverbs puts it this way: 
Just as the good person will be guided by his integrity, the wicked person will be ruined by his wicked behavior. FRCL [French common language version] translates the second line “The dishonest person will be destroyed by his love of evil.” GECL [German common language version] has “The deceiver will be slain by his falsehood.” This may need to be adjusted to say, for example, “People who deceive others will be destroyed because they are dishonest.” 
I make a plea to all reasonable people. If there is a God in heaven, it behooves us to abide by this verse. Who honestly wants to BE destroyed? Yet, many so live their lives so as to do just that. It's like smokers who persist in driving the nails in their coffin despite the evidence to the contrary. How long will men destroy themselves? Why not look up and live? Rather than putting oneself in the path of destruction, let us all step into the path of God's rich grace. 

Ah-h-h! Integrity is the best guide.

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