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2021 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Straighten Up

Andy Stanley - Straighten Up


Andy Stanley - Straighten Up
TOPICS: Your Integrity Our World, Integrity

So today I want to begin with this question and please don't raise your hand. Don't elbow anyone. And I already know the answer. The answer is, yes. But it may take you a moment to remember why the answer is, yes. And I'll try to prompt your memory. Here's the question, have you ever lied? That's not the question. That's not the whole question. We all know the answer to that, right? Have you ever lied in an attempt to assure someone that you can be trusted? Have you ever lied in order to assure someone, oh yeah, I can be trusted. So let me take you back in time some of you, this will kind of prompt you because you're like, oh, I would never do that.

For some of you, it was high schools, your first memory of this, because your mom or your dad, or your uncle, or your aunt or your grandparents, or whoever you were living with, decided to let you drive their car to school when you were in the 10th grade, or maybe you already had a car, your own car when you were in high school and the rule was you drive the car, you leave it parked until you get out of class at the end of the day and then you drive home. That's the rule and you're like, of course I would never dream of doing anything other than that until day three, when your friends are like, let's go to lunch, anybody have a car? And this was your opportunity to look good. Not necessarily, be good. So you drove and this became a habit. And then one afternoon you got home from school when your mom is sitting there, she said, honey, or whatever she called you. Maybe that day she went, honey. Did you leave the school today in the car and go to lunch? And you had a decision to make. Do I want her to trust me or do I want to tell her the truth?

So you lied so she would continue to trust you. You get it? This is how this works. Let me ask you the same question maybe another way. 'Cause this is kind of goes to the heart of what we're talking about today. Have you ever compromised your integrity, it's the same idea, have you ever compromise your integrity to protect your reputation as someone who has integrity? Have you ever compromised your integrity? You covered it and tell the whole truth. You decided not to share that. You just flat out lied to protect your reputation as someone who can be trusted, who has integrity? Now, we all, I think most of us live with this pressure somewhere in our lives. I do. I live with it with you because I want you to trust me. And I don't want to lose your respect because if I lose your respect and then you know, whatever you're talking about and you're like, well, he doesn't do that. And you know, and pray for Sandra. And you know, who wants to go to a church where you know the speaker and the pastor is just an out liar or a hypocrite?

So if I really mess up in some way of shape or form, that would discredit me with you, of course I would be tempted to lie and I would be tempted to cover up if that's what's required to maintain your respect for me, we just live with this pressure and unfortunately, sometimes we're honest. Sometimes we're willing to be bad if that's what it takes to look good. Isn't that weird? Or we'd put it this way. We would rather be bad than look bad because the force was strong with Luke and shame avoidance is strong with all of us. None of us want to be shamed and none of us want to be embarrassed, but here's the flip side, if an employee, and this has happened. In fact, there's kind of a famous legendary story around our organizational culture that I share with staff from time to time, because it was such a big example of this. When a staff member comes to me and tells me the truth about something, even if it makes them look bad, especially if they come and they tell me something that makes them look bad, that they knew I wouldn't know about otherwise, I don't lose respect for that person. I gain respect for that person, even though they've messed up the fact that they owned up, well, that's integrity. Now I know I can trust them because they owned up when they messed up.

Today it's part two of our series, "Your Integrity, Our World". Your Integrity, Our World. And the reason we're calling it this is because my personal integrity impacts my world, my family, my community, and your personal integrity or lack of it impacts the people around you as well. And I'm gonna give you our official definition for integrity next time but in general, we know what integrity is. Integrity is the will or the courage to do the right noble thing, just because it's the right noble thing to do, regardless of the consequences. In fact, especially if there are consequences, especially if there was a less noble thing to do that would keep us out of trouble, but we decided, you know what? I'm just gonna do the right thing. Why? Well, it doesn't benefit me. I'm gonna do the right thing just because it's the right thing even though it costs me.

And as we said last time, we are all pretty quick to excuse our personal lack of integrity or a breach in our integrity, but we are not quick to excuse it. And other people, right? We expect it of our leaders. We expect it of our teachers. We expect it of our employers, our employees, our friends, our kids, our husbands, our wives, our fiances, boyfriends, girlfriends. We just wake up every day, expecting them to be people of integrity. Even when at times we're not, I mean, everybody expects it. It's a universal expectation. I mean, even thieves and cheaters do not expect to be stolen from and cheated on. And last time we said, this brings us to kind of the big idea. That's where we spend a lot of our time last time we were together. This big idea, there's an overwhelming and overarching sense of ought to that stands outside of us. There's an ought to that we appeal to that we hold others accountable to, it stands outside of us. We didn't make it up, stands outside of us. It judges us, it presses down on our conferences and we know that we didn't create it and we can't seem to shake it.

And so we said, last time it stands out over us. And again, we appeal to it when we feel like we've been mistreated or someone we love is mistreated, but we know it didn't originate with us. If it originated with us, we would just get rid of it because it gets in our way from time to time. And even though we may not look like believe there's an ought to, because we don't always do what we ought to, our reactions when other people don't do what they ought to is a dead giveaway that, well, we think there's an ought to that you ought to live up to. Again, we didn't create it. We can't shake it. Last time we saw the apostle Paul came along and said, well, actually, what that is, that is the law of God written in your hearts. That there's a divine element to this, that the law of God has written your heart's not like the traffic laws, but there's something in your heart God put there that says, you should probably obey the traffic laws because they're good for you and other people, not the tax laws.

God didn't put the tax laws in your heart, but God put it in your heart. You know what? You should probably obey the government because the government's there to support you and take care of you. That thing that informs our conscience, when our conscience bumps up against something in our modern world that we struggle with, it creates a tension around, which means that integrity and this is so important, and especially if maybe you're not a religious person or you used to be, or you've kind of dismissed all of that. The implication is simply this, that integrity, if it exists, unless we just made this up, unless it's just a useful tool. We talked about that last time as well, that integrity is actually anchored to something, that integrity is actually grounded in something. There's a foundation for integrity that goes beyond my fluid opinions and your fluid opinions. It even goes beyond majority rule.

Again, it stands over us and it convicts us and it judges us. And sometimes it condemns us. And even though we don't like it, when it makes us feel bad about us, we are quick to appeal to it when somebody mistreats us. In fact, we said the moment, this is such a powerful idea. The moment that we attempt to justify a behavior in our minds, the moment we've worked before this day is out, we're gonna do this, right? The moment you find yourself wrestling with I shouldn't, but I will anyway. You know, I really shouldn't, but I think I will anyway, I should, but I'm not going to, I should tell her, I'm not gonna tell her. I should tell them the rest of the story. I'm not gonna tell them. The moment we find ourselves wrestling internally with an ought to, we actually acknowledge the divine. The moment we attempt to justify a behavior in our minds, the moment we find ourselves with we're essentially acknowledging that there is an ought to, that stands over you, that stands over us, that somehow we're accountable to, and we can't shake it.

And we know we didn't create it because if we created it, we would just get rid of it. When you do this is what's so powerful. When you do what you ought to do, and it costs you, when you do what you ought to do and it costs you, you may not acknowledge this, this season of your life, but you're actually acknowledging God's rule over you. When you do what's best for someone else and it costs you that's being like your father in heaven, you are intentionally or unintentionally acknowledging God's rule, His over you. But we said to integrity is not just about us because my personal integrity or a lack of personal integrity always impacts some other persons, doesn't it? In fact, your story growing up is the reason you kind of had to dig your way out of a hole, maybe because of the family that you were raised in is because mom or dad, or maybe both did just lacked integrity. And you started off with a deficit, their personal lack of integrity, impacted some other persons, specifically you that our integrity always impacts other people gain, it's your integrity. It's our world is my integrity but it's my world.

In fact, we could spend a lot of time on this and we'll come back to this toward the end of the series. Is that I think it's an overstatement to say that our integrity or integrity determines the health and the depth of our relationships, the health and the depth of our relationships. Integrity is essential to relational contentment and fulfillment. Have you ever tried to have a relationship with somebody who lacks integrity? Can you even have a relationship? I mean, some of you unfortunately are in relationships you can't get out of right now and they just lack integrity. They don't always tell the truth that they cover, they blame, they shame. They won't have difficult conversations. You're always off balance. So this topic is not even a religious or spiritual topic. It's just human nature. It's every single day of our lives, but we're making the point, the reason we can't escape it, the reason we hold other people accountable to it is because there is a divine element to it as well. And it impacts every component and every facet of our lives.

There's a sense in which when, again, when it comes to relationships that integrity or even character, if you want to use a different word, it's like the oil and machinery. Any machinery where there are moving parts and there are less and less machines with moving parts these days but there's still machines with moving parts. Anytime you find a machine with moving parts, the parts, this is so cool, the parts were designed or created to work perfectly together. But apart from a lubricant, the parts that were created to work together will ultimately destroy each other because they build up friction. And the same is true in relationships. You may be made for her, made for him maybe created for her, created for him. I mean, it's just a match made in heaven, or even at work, you think, wow, this is the greatest team. These are the greatest people. I've never felt more a part of a worker, marketplace, community.

And that may be true that you're perfectly suited for that job, but a part from integrity because you're in close proximity with people there's potential friction. And the reason those relationships can go the distance, the only way those relationships can go the distance is because of integrity. It's like the oil or the lubricant, and the machinery made for each other but apart from it, you destroy each other because you know this, you just don't think of it in these terms, proximity, creates the potential for friction. I mean, you're not mad at your neighbor's boss and your neighbor's boss may be a way worst boss than your boss, but you're mad at your boss, why? Because there's proximity and friction. You're not mad at a stranger's wife or their son or their daughter. It's your wife or your husband or your son or your daughter because of proximity. So proximity creates the potential for friction which increases the demand for integrity.

So again, this is an inescapable reality that should be front and center for us every single day. One more quick illustration or application. So if you're single and I mean maybe high school, college, graduate school, post-grad, single, maybe single again, if you're single your looks or your money may win him, or when her, you know, get him, get her, get the relationship going. But you know this, it's your integrity that determines the health and the longevity of the relationship. I mean, falling in love is easy. And I'm gonna ask you to fill in a blank to see if you've been listening, falling in love is easy. It only requires a... Falling in love is easy, it only requires a pulse. All you need is a pulse to fall in love. Falling in love is easy, all it requires is a pulse, but staying in love requires other things. And one of the essential ingredients of staying in love is integrity. I mean, raising, you know, having kids, that's biology, raising them together, it requires integrity for both parents. Land in that job that requires a GPA and a good GPA and a resume. Keeping that job, excelling in that job, building a sense of community at work, it requires integrity.

So integrity or lack of integrity is gonna cost us relationally always. It could cost you professionally. It could cost you relationships that matter most to you. So the question that we're trying to answer in this series is how do we get it? How do we guard it? How do we keep it? And maybe in your case, how do you get it back? And that's again, why we entitled the series, "Your Integrity, Our World". But here's the challenge that we're gonna dive into our key verse for this series. Here's the challenge. If you want to improve your looks, not that you need to, but I'm just saying, if you want it to improve your looks, there are so many places you can go. So many things you could do. If you want to improve your skin, there's so many things you can do. So many places you can go. If you wanna improve at work, if you wanna improve your financial situation, if you wanna get stronger, if you wanna develop a new skill, if you wanna get better at golf or a hobby, whatever you wanna improve in, however you want to advance in life and our culture, there are dozens and dozens, almost endless ways to get better at just about anything. But when it comes to integrity, which is far more important in terms of the long run long-term relationships and health and happiness and satisfaction and contentment.

When it comes to integrity, where do you go? Who's even offering to help? I mean once we left home, it's kind of like, you're on your own. I hope we got it right here. Maybe we were a bad example or a good example, but whatever example, or something, so good luck, you know, get out there. Who's offering to help? Who's offering to help us? And to make it worse or to say, to make it more complicated, the external pressure and you know this, the external pressure to compromise rather than preserve our integrity is relentless. I mean, compromising your integrity in some fields or some industries kind of how you get ahead or stay ahead of the competition. It's almost a key to succeeding. Or maybe you feel like, Hey, if I don't compromise a little bit, I'm not even gonna survive, but maybe even more disturbing. And this is kind of the focus of our time, the internal, not just the external, the internal pressure to compromise rather than preserve our integrity is relentless. Because as I said earlier, shame avoidance, failure avoidance, is strong in all of us. None of us want to look bad publicly. So when it comes to maintaining our integrity, the deck is stacked against us. There is nobody out there to help you. So good luck, God bless. It's just a mess.

Now, actually there's a way forward, but to be honest, it's kind of up to you, it's kind of up to me. Because nobody's gonna help us with this, except the people who are closest to us and love us, but they're kind of wrestling with their own issues as well. There is a way to begin and the way to begin, I'm confident, and we'll see this as we move along is to embrace a big north star idea, kind of an overarching big north star idea. And it's found in several places in the Bible. The one we're gonna look at that I think is most direct, is actually found in the Hebrew scriptures is found in the book, what's called the book of Proverbs. And you're familiar with what a proverb is. A proverb is basically a pithy saying that points to a specific truth, or maybe a piece of advice. You know, like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That's a proverb that's not in the Bible, but it's true. And there are several contributors, there were several contributors to what we call the book of Proverbs in the Hebrew scripture, the most famous being, King Solomon.

And so here's what Proverbs 11:3 says, I'm gonna encourage you for the next few weeks to commit this verse to memory. You may not like the version of the Bible that I'm using for it because it's a little clunky, but it's very literal. There are other versions, but I would just, I would challenge you to commit this verse to memory. Here's what it says. I'm gonna kind of walk you through the whole verse. It says this, "The integrity" there's our word obviously. "The integrity of the upright guide them. The integrity of the upright guide them". In other words, integrity, for people with integrity, integrity becomes the guide. It becomes the north star, it becomes the decision making filter. It highlights the best option and the options that are off base. It informs their decisions. The integrity of the upright will guide them.

Now we're gonna unpack the whole verse, but I just want to go ahead and launch this uncomfortable question that you may not have an answer to, and that's okay for now, but we all need an answer to this question. And this question is what guides you, the integrity of the upright guides them. In other words, is the person of integrity. The way they make decisions is the reason they're a person of integrity is because their integrity is what guides them. It's the filter through which they decide which options are appropriate, which aren't what to do, what not to do, how to respond, even if it makes them look bad. But what guides you? What's your north star? I mean, I'm just, you know, pleasure, profit, looking good, financial security, status. I mean, the list goes on and on and on. And I would guess that you hope that integrity guides you. That's what we're gonna talk about, but here's the challenge.

Here's the challenge. We don't know if integrity guides us until maintaining our integrity costs us. We don't know if integrity actually guides us or it's just kind of a good idea. Like well of course it does. We don't really know until maintaining our integrity Costs us. And we're gonna talk about this, I think in week four, but let me just throw this out there. This is why, and it sounds like a terrible thing for me to say, this is why I hope all of you. And some of you've been there done that. I would hope for all of us, that at some point along the way, our integrity would be so tested. And it's not really a test. It's more of a pop quiz. If it was a test we could prepare, but it's usually like, there it is in the moment. Do I tell the truth or not? Do I tell the whole thing? Do I, you know... I would hope that somewhere in your life, in the near future, that your integrity would be tested and that you would pass that test and that it would cost you and maybe even cost you dearly. Because in that moment you will know something about yourself. You can't know any other way. That's when we discover what's really most important to us.

And on the flip side, it's why we should be very careful before we judge other people whose shoes we've never walked in. I mean, you've thought this, or you've said this. I mean I know I have, I would never do that. Just never, I would never do that. You don't know that. You don't know that. And somewhere out there, there's a VAT that you think sitting here or listening today, you think I would never do that. And then suddenly there's pop quiz. And if you don't do that, you're gonna lose something. You're gonna miss out on something. Nobody's there. They're not going to call you back or you're not going to, they're not gonna say yes or you're not gonna go to your dream school, whatever it might be. And in that moment, you discover, it's the only way to know. You'll discover if integrity is actually your guide.

So one more time, what guides you? Now, there's a fascinating word picture built into this verse. So I wanna point that out. Then I'm gonna read the rest of the verse. Here's what it says, "The integrity of the upright will guide them". Now, the Hebrew word for upright is a lot like the English word for upright. It just means to be upright. Literally it means to stand up straight and put your shoulders back and to put your chin up and to look forward. Versus as we'll see the second part of the verse, versus living your life like this. Because when you live your life like this, you are most aware of what and who is right in front of you. When you live your life like this, you are most aware of what is right in front of you. You're most aware of what's right in front of you. And when you're just looking at what right in front of you, it limits your options and it limits your perspective. When you're living like this, it's immediate versus ultimate. It's now versus later.

When you walk in integrity and when integrity becomes our guide, there's a posture. You stand up straight, you live standing up straight and you take the long view. You look up and you look out, you take the long look because you realize the person of integrity realizes, you know what? Later is longer. Later is longer. Now and immediate is now and immediate, but later is longer. And when I look back on this decision and this season of my life, it goes back to the question we ask all the time, what story do I wanna tell? And the person of integrity they are upright. They are looking way out and they're making decisions based on later not now. That they weigh their options with their future in mind and the future of the people they love in mind. Again, your posture, this is short way of saying it is your posture. Influences your future. My posture influences my future and we already know this.

You know how we know this? Because even though we've never chatted about this, your greatest financial, your worst, your biggest financial regret, I should say. Your biggest relational regret. Where were you looking? You were looking at now, not later. Wow, not, oh, you were looking at immediate, not ultimate. We know this. And so the writer of Proverbs says, Hey, the upright, the upright are guided by their integrity because they live up right. Not just doing upright things, they actually stand upright and they take the long look. So again, what's guiding you? And just to dig on this a little bit, if your trigger response, when you're under pressure is to lie. If our trigger response, when we're under pressure is to make excuses and to blame, and to cover, and to point at other people and to try to deflect, you know, it's not all my fault. If your a trigger response and my trigger response is any of those things, those are clues. Those are clues that perhaps integrity is not in fact. In fact, those are clues as to what really, and truly guide you.

And at this point in the series, I'm not suggesting you make any changes. I just think you should know. I'm just suggesting that we all face up to what's actually guiding us and then ask this terrible question. If I'm quick to abandon my integrity, if I'm quick to abandon my standards, I said I'll never and I'll always, and then I met him. Then I met her and suddenly it was like, yeah, whatever. If in the past I just had standards, I mean, I wanted to live an upright long view life, and if you are quick, under certain circumstances or with certain people to abandon your integrity, then you need that ask. And this isn't a religious question. This is just to make you a better person question. What's really driving me? You should know the answer to that question. I should know the answer to that question. And discovering the answer that question may motivate you or embarrass you in to doing something about it.

And if you're like a lot of people you may discover and please don't see me pointing my fingers. I think we all wrestle with this. I know I wrestle with this. You may discover that you're more concerned with looking good than being good. You may discover. I mean, nobody's gonna admit this until you do a little probing. And the way you know is you just examine your responses when you're under pressure and there's something to lose. You may discover as wonderful as you are and you are all wonderful, that you're more concerned. with looking good than being good. Now, quick question. I promise we're gonna move on 'cause this is terrible I know. It's like what about the happy part of heaven just talking about Jesus? I know, whoa, whoa, okay. What, don't answer this out loud, what do you think about people like this? What do you think about people who just defend and excuse and lie and look around? I mean what do you think about, you know people like this, you work with people this. Unfortunately you might live with somebody like this. What do you think of these people? You're not like, oh, they're just so great. I wanna be more like you. NP, it's almost impossible to have an actual relationship with that kind of person.

So don't be that kind of person. Discover what's really guiding you, face up to it. It's terrible. It's a necessary step to getting to where not only you need to be, but probably you wanna be. But the flip side, what do you think about these kinds of people? The people that when they mess up, they own up, clean up. I'm not gonna leave you dealing with my irresponsibility. I made an irresponsible decision, it left a mess. I'm gonna clean up my own mess. You're not gonna have to worry about it. In fact, I'm gonna report back in to make sure you don't ever have to deal with this again. I'm owning it. Now, this is so important, I got to move on. Please remember this, especially if you're a parent, grandparent, if you're married, if you're engaged, if you have somebody you just love and they love you back, and you're hoping to spend your life together, or if you have a team at work and you just love working with those people.

This is so, so, so, so important. The health of your relationships, the health of your relationships, and to dive into family and even the respect of your children is contingent upon your integrity, not your infallibility. The respect of the people you want, the respect of your kids, your husband, your wife, most people closely, their respect, hinges, not on your infallibility. It is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to be wrong. It's not okay to cover and to lie about your mistakes, that the health of that relationship, the respect of the people closest to you, it is contingent not upon the fact that you're perfect and you get it right every time. You're not gonna get it right every time. But your integrity, your integrity being guided by integrity, that's what sets the standard for the people around you and the people looking up to you. And that's what maintains the relationship. Again, it's the oil in the machinery.

Now, I'm kind of a perfectionist. A lot of you are kind of perfectionist. I hate to make mistakes and I hate to be caught making a mistake. And I had to learn early on as a dad, the quicker I take responsibility, 'cause I just want my kids to think I'm perfect. And I'm Superman. It's like, oh no, no, the best thing I can do for them is to when I make a mistake, own it, own it, own it and apologize and I probably told you this before, but when Andrew was super little, he's our oldest. He's about this big. And the other two are somewhere behind, he got in this habit of apologizing all the time. I'm so sorry, mom. I'm so sorry, dad. I'm so sorry, mum. And so like, almost like a trigger response. I said to Sandra, I said, we must be really good parents. I mean, he just owns it. He just apologizes so quickly. She says, no lie. She said that's because she hears you doing that all the time. I have made so many mistakes, I'm so sorry. I mean, you want me to say, I'm so sorry. He's like, that's what you're supposed to say, I'm sorry. I'm like, huh? Kind of worked, I guess, you know, I was a bad example. It can be good for your kids as well.

So the point is this, you look, your integrity is more important than your fallibility so own it, own it, own it. And when you find yourself wrestling, you've just discovered some melts may be your guide. So here's the second part of the verse, "The integrity of the upright will guide them. But the crookedness," here's the contrast, the crookedness, the bent, is what it literally means. "But the crookedness of the treacherous," and this is a really interesting Hebrew word. The root of this word means to throw a blanket over something, to cover it, so you can't see it. To act deceitfully. The people who lack integrity, it's like, don't look over there. Cover that to operate in the dark. He said, ultimately the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them, literally lay waste to a landscape. The crookedness of the treacherous will destroy it. Eventually it catches up. Eventually there's a price to pay because they wouldn't straighten up because they wouldn't take the long look, because it was all about immediate, not ultimate. It was all about now instead of later. They refuse to take into account the harm they would do to themselves and the people around them. So they did themselves harm and they did harm to the people around them.

Now I'm not gonna insult your intelligence to say, which kind of person do you want to be. I mean, we all want to get this right for our sake of the people we love. Here's the verse, "The integrity of the upright will guide them. But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them". The integrity of the upright will guide them. But the crookedness right here right now, what's right in front of me, will totally destroy them. And as we know, perhaps destroy the people around them as well. So this is what we're gonna leave with today. What guides you? What informs your decisions? Ought to, is it ought to, or is it want to, or is it protect you or is it maybe a combination of the two? And again, I wanna circle back around and as we close, I want to go back to those of you who are single and by single, I mean from high school, college, grad school, single, maybe single again on this is so important and I'm not trying to be facetious. And those of you who are married, you're gonna wanna whatever you do, when something you agree with happens, whether you say amen or yes or yes, preach it. And so you don't have to do that because what I'm about to say, every married person in here is like, oh yeah, that's right.

So if you're not married, when you catch yourself thinking or you hear yourself saying, well, once I get married, says all the married people. I mean you just shared, this is pretty brilliant insight. You know, I don't know how to come up with this stuff but, once you get married, the only thing different about you is you're married. I didn't see anybody write that down. Yeah, the only thing, see this, and I understand this. I understand it. I got married when I was 30. So, you know, I lived single longer than a lot of people were back then, but I just hadn't fallen in love yet. But anyway, I can remember wrestling. Well, once I'm there, it's like, no, no, no, no, no, no. Once you're married, I knew this 'cause I'd done enough pre, I did premarital counseling before I was married. Why anybody would listen to me talk to them about their marriage? And so we do our premarital counseling. I'm like, I'm dating, really you want, anyway. So I read a bunch of books. Then I got a guy to train me and I realized when you get married, nothing changes about you except you're married.

Okay, just to be specific. This is not a magic ring Frodo, okay? It doesn't come with any super powers. Listen, it doesn't make you powerful. It just makes you accountable. Saying I do doesn't mean you can do. It only means that you intend to and every body intends to. So here's my point, integrity, I'm gonna do the right thing even if it costs me. I'm gonna do the noble thing even if people don't understand. I'm gonna do the honorable thing even if nobody even gives me credit for doing the honorable thing, because it's the honorable thing to do. Integrity is a muscle. And the longer you exercise it, the stronger it gets. You should start now because the folks who exercise their integrity muscle, they're the ones who don't just say I do. They're generally the ones who are ready to can do because they've been walking upright. They've been opting for ought to over want to, later over now, ultimate over immediate.

So again, regardless of what stage of life you're in your posture informs your future. So straighten up. Remember your parents who said that straighten up. They had no idea, straighten up, take the long look. You will expect the person that you fall in love with to be a person of integrity. And they will expect that of you as well. So don't be hypocrite. Just start now. Start now becoming the person that the person you're looking for is looking for. And when you mess up, face out, clean up, no more coverup, just be done with all that. Just exercise that muscle. And you'll be glad you did. And some other people will be glad you did as well. So wrapping up integrity, is just the will and just the courage to do the right thing, because it's the right thing. The honorable and noble thing, because it's the honorable and it's the noble thing to do. Even when it costs you, especially when it costs you, because that's when you know what truly guides you.

And we will pick it up right there next time, part three of "Your Integrity, Our World". We're gonna talk about the primary obstacles to integrity and what to do about them. This is so important. We're gonna talk about the primary obstacles to integrity and what you can do about them beginning immediately. So don't miss part three. Before you go, as you might imagine, three questions to keep the conversation going at lunch or at home or in your community group, question, number one, integrity should guide us. But what competes for that role in your life? I don't know if you want to share this with anyone or not, but it might be helpful because oftentimes, this is true, oftentimes the thing that competes as guide for our life, when you say it and look at it is so immature and it is so shallow. It's embarrassing. I mean, it really is. That's okay.

So what competes? You want integrity to be your guide, but be honest with somebody, what competes. Number two, what has been most helpful as it relates to maintaining your personal integrity? Because we're not gonna get much help as adults, right? So as you think about how you've maintained your integrity, what has helped you maybe be in a small group, maybe being a leader somewhere where you felt the accountability of leading some people, what's helped you? And then number three again, would you commit this verse to memory? Proverbs 11:3. Just write it on a card, put it on your mirror in your bathroom, or put it on your dashboard of your car. Preferably not over your gas gauge that creates other integrity problems possibly. If you have kids or if you have kids in your home, in and out of your home, teach the kids this verse. And then this week, it's just all straighten up. Let's pay attention. Let's pay attention to that internal nudge toward ought to even if it costs you. I'd love to pray for us.

Heavenly Father, so easy to stand up here and talk about. So difficult to walk out that door and do, and, Father, for some of us is extraordinarily difficult because we're living with some difficult, difficult circumstances and Father, for the man or the woman who's listening today and they're thinking I want to get this right, I'm not sure how it looks in my particular circumstances. Would you open their eyes, give them eyes to see their circumstances the way that you do? And then give them the courage to act. And Father, I pray that you would remind all of us straighten up, because our heavenly Father who loves us has put his law in our hearts that you are for us. And I pray all of that in the matchless name of Jesus. Amen.

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