Like most of us, I have had significant moments in my life where I can look back and remember learning key life lessons. Sometimes they came in what I call a “test”, which sometimes I passed and sometimes, well, let’s just say I didn’t pass with flying colors.
For a season of my life, I had the privilege of working in the National Headquarters for the Assembly of God church. My direct supervisor was a man with years of experience, named Charles Crabtree. I will never forget sitting in his office one day as we discussed a difficult personnel issue. He looked at me and said, “Character is one of the most difficult leadership qualities to guard; once people let it go, they almost never get it back”. Character influences every aspect of a person’s life to the degree that what you see in public is also what God sees in private.
Integrity is among the highest character qualities a person must maintain in order to positively influence the lives of others. Those who lack integrity tend to be unstable and double-minded, changing their mind, opinion, or behavior under the smallest amount of pressure.
One can certainly identify key areas in King David’s life where he lacked character, but through his struggles, it is recorded that David led with integrity of heart and with skillful hands (Psalm 78:72). At the end of my life, I hope this will also be said of me. What about you?
In order to realign my public and my private life, I often ask myself a few questions:
1. In what areas of my life do my words and actions not match?
2. Is there something I am currently being tempted with that could jeopardize my future influence potential?
3. Is there an area of my life where I come across as defensive? Why?
4. Who is the person that knows the most about me? Have I hidden anything from them that might undermine my integrity?
It has been said that our lives are the best sermon anyone will ever hear. Andrew Carnegie said, “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do”. When facing the temptation to compromise in some way, perhaps to fulfill a physical or emotional need in your life, take a moment and process the implications first. What person or persons might be most negatively impacted by this choice? Is the choice worth the price that will be paid, either in the short-term or for a lifetime?
Lord, thank you for allowing us to be in a community that is certainly not perfect, but learning to follow Your principles. Forgive us where we fall short and reveal to us our shortcomings, even if You need to use others in the process. May we be people of integrity. Amen.