Today we are going to talk about Integrity. Here is what Wikipedia says about “Integrity”. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to uphold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards. Now let’s find out what God says about integrity!
O Lord, who may lodge [as a guest] in Your tent?
Who may dwell [continually] on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity and strength of character, and works righteousness,
And speaks and holds truth in his heart.
He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
In his eyes an evil person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord [and obediently worship Him with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder].
He keeps his word even to his own disadvantage and does not change it [for his own benefit];
He does not put out his money at interest [to a fellow Israelite],
And does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
Psalm 15 (AMP)
This chapter stresses the importance of moral purity, integrity, a disciplined tongue, and character, if we are to have a close walk and fellowship with God. Entrance into God’s kingdom and His presence is based upon being born again as revealed in the New Testament. Psalm 15 gives a blueprint of a lifestyle that “pleases” God and what “offends” Him. This chapter shows the faith that saves is the same kind of faith that results in a life of holiness.
So what pleases God?
How can we have a close walk with Him?
If you read Psalm 15 carefully, you will discover the entire song all hangs upon the first verse. Verse 1 is crucial in that it asks a probing question. David’s answer forms the rest of the psalm. He then arrives at a wonderful promise. A simple outline could be:
- Question: “Who may lodge [as a guest] in Your tent?” (v. 1)
- Answer: “He who walks with integrity.” (vv. 2-5)
- Promise: “He will never be shaken.” (v. 5)
Remember, this has to do with our relationship with God in the here and now, not the hereafter.
What kind of person is able to have joyous fellowship with God?
How does unrepentant or ongoing sin affect one’s experience of fellowship with God?
Do you currently have this kind of experience with Him?
God calls his people to be morally upright, and in this psalm, he gives us 10 standards to determine how we are doing. We live among evil people whose standards and morals are eroding. Our standards for living should not come from our evil society but from God.
- He Who Walks With Integrity and Strength of Character, and Works Righteousness
This has to do with what we do. Righteousness is to be habit of our conscious life. Our dealings are to be honest, and our activities clear of compromise. We are to obey the laws of the land to let the Law of God guide our every decision. Not merely law-abiding and moral, but above reproach. To do less is to weaken our integrity.
- He Who Speaks and Holds Truth In His Heart
This has to do with how we think. Notice that the truth mentioned here is spoken “in the heart” – attitudes, reactions, plans, and motives are in David’s mind. The source of these things is to be bedrock of truth, no pace for deception or lies or a hidden agenda!
- He Does Not Slander With His Tongue
This and the next two characteristics have to do with what we say. The Hebrew word translated “slander” literally means “to go about, to foot it” – we might say to “to hoof if.” This would include one who walks here and there spreading malicious slander, pouring out verbal venom, and poisoning others’ reputations behind their backs.
This is an excellent time for me to pose a direct question.
Does this describe you?
Are you a gossip?
Do you inwardly enjoy hearing or passing on some juicy tale that colors another’s reputation?
It is interesting that in the list seven things God hares (Prov. 6:16-19) three have to do with the tongue.
- Nor does Evil To His Neighbor
The Spirit-filled believer is loyal and consistent – not fickle, not erratic. He does not consciously bring difficulty upon others.
- Nor Takes Up A Reproach Against His Friend
The Hebrew word translated “reproach” refers to sharp, cutting, and scornful speech about others, either behind their backs or to their faces. When others begin this kind of talk, the person of integrity refuses to join in. There is honesty yet gentleness in his or her character.
- In His Eyes An Evil Person Is Despised
An evil person mentioned here is literally someone who is totally disinterested in spiritual things. The genuine believer with strong integrity will discern the impact such a person can have on his own walk with the Lord, and will be wary of cultivating a close association with him or her. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33). If a friendship is cultivated, let it be for the sake of evangelism.
- He Honors Those Who Fear The Lord [and obediently worship Him with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder]
Like the preceding phrase, this refers to our choice of friends; only this phrase addresses those with whom we should keep company. The believer who walks with the Lord has a scale of values that is determined by biblical principles. Because we tend to emulate those with whom we spend time, we need Christlike friends.
- He Keeps His Word Even To His Own Disadvantage and Does Not Change It [for his own benefit]
This means that we perform what we promise, even when keeping our word is difficult to achieve. Our word should be our bond. The Christian with integrity makes it his or her aim to follow through on commitments, even when it’s no longer convenient…even when it hurts.
- He Does Not Put Out His Money At Interest
According to Deut. 23:19-20 and Lev. 25:35-38, the Jew was commanded not to loan money to a needy Jewish brother with interest. He was to assist generously and unselfishly. The believer in Christ who offers to extend personal financial assistance to his brother in Christ should do so without interest – love being his only motive. (Needless to say, discernment must accompany love…or we will have more love than money!) Not every financial need among believers is a “need.” Some “needs” stem from careless spending.
- And Does Not Take A Bribe Against The Innocent
My Webster’s dictionary defines a bribe as “money or favor bestowed on or promised to a person in a position of trust to pervert his judgment or corrupt his conduct.” We have all read about what has come to be known as “influence peddling.” Now even Wall Street has been protected from such schemes. The psalmist’s point is clear: one with integrity won’t stoop to that level.
Did you notice the consistent emphasis on relationships?
Arguably all ten characteristics are relational.
What does this suggest is the correlation between our treatment of others and our fellowship with God?
… He who does these things will never be shaken.
The Hebrew term rendered “shaken” is a figure of speech describing great insecurity. Think of a pole used by two people to carry something heavy, wobbling and bobbing up and down with each step. That’s the word picture of instability.
Those who bring these areas under control of the Holy Spirit will enjoy a sense of stability despite the shaky, chaotic world around them. They live stable, solid, dependable lives. They don’t wonder if God is angry with them when bad things happen. They don’t question the goodness of God or suspect His absence during sorrowful times. They aren’t tossed about by the winds and waves of circumstance. Their thinking remains solidly anchored in God’s Word, which they obey with consistency. Integrity reinforces a life with steel.
How does leading a life of integrity affect your feeling of security in your relationship with God?
How does feeling secure in your relationship with God affect your relationships with others?
If you feel solid in your fellowship with god, how will that influence the choices you make in moral dilemmas?
DECLARATION OF FAITH
I choose to live my life blamelessly and do what is right in the sight of God.
I speak the truth from my heart. No false tale or malicious report can be found on my tongue.
I do my neighbour no wrong. I make it a point to be attentive to the ways and needs of my fellowman.
I despise the ways of the world and give due honor to the children of God.
I keep my every promise, even when it hurts.
I lend money to my people, not expecting anything extra in return, and I do not accept bribes against the innocent.
I am steadfast in my commitment to the statues of the Lord and I shall never be shaken.
I declare this declaration in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Living the Psalms: Encouragement For The Daily Grind
Mattoon’s Treasures – Treasures from Treasured Psalms, Volume 1.
NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible
The Complete Personalized Promise Bible