Integrity

Proverbs 4:25-26: “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths of your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

A few weeks ago, I failed to heed the call, command and wisdom of the verses above. I made a hasty decision, failing to: “give careful thought to the paths of your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” I didn’t do in that situation what was right but turned and “walked” down a path that was off the “straight and narrow.” I read this Proverb a few days later. I had chosen to do something that in the moment I thought would save time and potential problems; but what I did not consider was that it actually would end up costing more time and creating different problems worse than the initial problem!

This is what happens when we fail to walk in integrity. Integrity is doing that which is “honest”, “in step” with God and “in accordance” with his character, specifically his righteousness, regardless of the consequences or what it might “cost us.” The temptation comes when we try to avoid potential consequences or cost of walking in integrity. But as I found out and stated above, it can end up costing us more and creating other/worse consequences than what we were trying to avoid in the first place! Plus it is simply sin before God who is righteous in all his ways. It is a failure to be a reflection of Him and his character.

It was a hard and painful lesson to learn in this situation. It broke trust. And trust takes time to rebuild. Lack of integrity is also a slippery slope. Once we “turn to the right or the left” or fail to “keep your foot from evil” or cease to “look straight ahead” or “fix your gaze directly before you” and we “get off the beaten path” all kinds of trouble and traps await us. The further we continue to go the more entangled we can become and worse decisions we make. It can be a quick and deadly downward spiral.

So we must be careful to give careful thought to all our ways before we begin to take any steps. One of the biggest lessons I learned in this situation is the danger of “hasty” decisions. We must “think” through our decisions before we make them because our decisions and every step we take has consequences. It is moving us somewhere, down some path. Our decisions affect others. Our decisions influence and impact others. Our decisions are a reflection of our character. And God is watching and testing us in all our ways. It is ultimately to him that we will be held accountable and judged for all our ways. Let’s walk before him blamelessly, with integrity of heart and action, in a way pleasing and honoring to Him!

2 Corinthians 8:21: “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.”

Proverbs 21:3: “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

Proverbs 10:9: Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”

Proverbs 11:3: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”

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