February 13, Thursday

Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church in Raleigh (N.C.), was originally posted on November 12, 2013.

 

Devotional Thought for This Morning 

“A Life of Integrity”

Psalm 101:1-8

“I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music. 2 I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; 3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. 5 Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure. 6 I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. 7 No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. 8 Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.”

What does the word “integrity” mean to you? Often, we merely think of it as being morally upright, but the meaning is deeper than that.  It refers to being whole or sound as a person, including being the same on the inside as you appear on the outside; it is who you are when people are watching you and who you are when they are not.

In his book Courageous Leadership Bill Hybels writes, “Followers will only trust leaders who exhibit the highest levels of integrity. People will not follow a leader with moral incongruities for long. Every time you compromise character you compromise leadership.” Whether you hold a leadership position or not in your church, integrity is vital when it comes to growing in our faith and being an effective Christian. (The fact that Hybels himself has come up short on this matter shows the great difficulty of maintaining integrity—given today’s world in which temptations come from all sides and angles.)      

David, probably early in his reign as Israel’s king, wrote Psalm 101 as the standards that he wanted to follow.  He starts off with worshiping God in His steadfast love and justice. In the next several verses, David addresses who he wants to become: a blameless man who “walks with integrity of heart.”  David, then, writes that he can live a blameless life if he avoids, first, setting his eyes on anything worthless (v.3); second, having a perverse heart; third, slandering people (v.5); and fourth, harboring pride (v.5).  

As you pray this morning, reflect on whether these pitfalls are hindering you from becoming blameless.  Are you the same in your public life as you are in your private? Pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal those hindrances that you need to cast aside in becoming a blameless person before God.  Ultimately however, our blamelessness is found in Christ’s perfect righteousness (Rom. 8:1).

Prayer: Lord, please protect me from falling into a life where I operate as if integrity does not matter.  Remind me constantly that apart from Christ I cannot do anything. Help me to abide in You; empower me to finish well.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 11


Lunch Break Study

Read Philippians 2:14-16: Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Paul say about believers being blameless?  Why do you think he says this?
  2. Why is it important to show the world that we are blameless (Heb. 12:14)?
  3. How can we live a life that is above reproach and blame?
  4. What are some areas in your life where you desire to be more blameless?

Notes

  1. Paul, in addressing the Christians in Philippi, underscores that one characteristic that they should embody is being blameless and innocent. The word “blameless” means pure or without mixture.  It was used in the vocabulary of primitive metallurgy to talk about pure gold, pure copper, or any metal that did not have impurities.  Thus, it can mean that we should strive not to live a life of hypocrisy, but rather, conduct ourselves worthy of Christ in all that we do.
  2. To be blamable means we have sinned, that is to say, we have become unholy.  The Hebrews writer says that without holiness no one will see the Lord in us. That is why not being blamable before the world (i.e., not behaving same as the world) is so important.
  3. The only way this is possible is if we submit to the Holy Spirit and are rooted in the Word of God.
  4. Take some time to pray and ask the Lord to search your heart, to recognize and then remove anything there that is not blameless in the eyes of the Lord.  Do not lose heart; God desires to change us and make us more like Christ.

Evening Reflection

As we have been addressing the idea of integrity throughout this day, I believe the only way we can change is through a genuine repentance.  Spend some time in prayer and repentance. Lift up areas in your life where you want the Lord to change you (e.g., anger, impatience, lust, etc.); just as David prayed in Psalm 51 ask that God would “renew a right spirit within you.”

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