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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Rick Warren » Rick Warren - A Faith Known for Integrity

Rick Warren - A Faith Known for Integrity

Rick Warren - A Faith Known for Integrity
TOPICS: A Faith That Works When Life Doesn’t, Faith, Integrity

Hi, everybody, I'm pastor Rick and today we're gonna continue in our study through the book of James called A Faith That Works When Life Doesn't. And we're looking at principles for living through a pandemic. We didn't think the series was gonna go this long, but the pandemic keeps going, so we do too. Specifically, we're gonna look today at what James says, about how to have a faith, known for integrity. How to have a faith, known for integrity. And we're in James chapter five. And I want us to consider the implications of just one verse, we're just gonna look at one verse out of the book of James today.

James five, verse 12. But before we look at that verse, I wanna explain something that gives a little bit of context to this theme of having a faith known for integrity. For right or wrong reasons, you may have certain stereotypes, or images in your mind, about different religions. Okay, for instance, you might think of one kind of religion, or one kind of faith as rigid and legalistic. And you might think of another faith as being passive and otherworldly. Maybe another faith you think, I might think, make you think of terrorism. And other faiths might bring to mind hypocrisy, or selfishness, or being out of touch with today's world. I know that that's true of all of us, that makes me wonder, what do people think, who know me, what do they think about Christianity? What are the people who know you think about Christianity? If you're the only Bible they ever read, what do they think about our faith? What is our faith known for most today?

Yes, the typical person, what do you think of when I say the word Christian these days? Is what we're known for accurate? Is what we're known for in society today negative? Does it match what Jesus wants us to be known for? Or have we gotten off course? If I were to ask the non believers who know you, what do they think of the Christian faith knowing you? What do you think they would say, knowing you? You know, you don't have to read very much of the Bible to figure out pretty quickly, that God cares deeply about his reputation. And all throughout scripture, the phrase, 'for my glory' is used over and over and over. But God doesn't just care about his reputation, he also cares deeply about your reputation. Did you know that? Because you are his child. He's your heavenly father, and you're in the family of God, the church's family of God, you're a part of his family. And like all good fathers, your heavenly father, wants his family, to be respected. He wants his church, his family, to be respected. He doesn't want any of his children, that's you, and that's me, giving his family a bad name. Because the way we speak or act, he doesn't want our lives to bring him dishonor.

Now, this theme that I'm talking about this weekend, protecting God's glory and reputation, and also protecting his family's reputation, the church's reputation, is literally taught all through the Bible. God wants you to realize that you represent him. If you call yourself a Christian, you're a little Christ, you represent him here on earth. And he wants us to realize that any of us, me, I can do this. We can bring shame to his name, when we don't act in Christ like ways, to the people and to the events around us. Now, I've said many times if you been at Saddleback you know, that I've said this many times, that there are two big reasons that unbelievers reject Jesus Christ. The first one is they've never become a friend of a Christian. So they don't really know any Christians.

And the second reason that they have is, that they have met a Christian. And they were turned off by our attitudes or by our actions or by our hypocrisy or whatever. We have to realize that the way we respond to all that's happening around us, the pandemic, the politics, the fires, the floods, all the unease in society, all of the way we respond to what's happening around us, racial inequality that has eternal implications. Because people's eternal destinies are in the balance. You see, we're either a good witness and a good testimony for the loving grace of God, or we're bad one. We can be a stepping stone to Jesus Christ, and salvation, or we can be a stumbling block. And we can actually be a barrier to people. You don't wanna be that. I don't wanna be that. You don't want people to reject Jesus Christ, you don't want people to reject God's offer of salvation, because they don't wanna be like, no.

So let me show you just a couple of scriptures where God talks about this theme, that we're looking at this weekend. The NJB translation has an interesting translation of Proverbs 27:21, it says this, "a person is worth, what his reputation is worth". whoa, "a person is worth, what his reputation is worth". That's in the Bible. Now, this verse isn't talking about your worth to God, no, you're priceless to God. That's why Christ died for you on the cross. what it's talking about is what other people think of you. That a person's worth is what his reputation is. What is your reputation worth? It's just talking about what other people think of you, and it's saying that your self worth is far more important than your net worth. That your value and your valuables are not the same. Here's another verse, Ecclesiastes seven, verse one says, "a good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume".

Just for fun this week, I decided to find out what's the most expensive perfume in the world. So I looked it up. You know what it is? It's made in Dubai, and it costs $1.8 million a bottle. Hello. What? Can you imagine any perfume costing $1.8 million a bottle? So now you know what to get your friend who has everything this Christmas. All right. Now again, God says this proverbs 22, verse one, "choose a good reputation over great riches". So if you have to choose to get a lot of money, and a good reputation, gotta choose, the reputation. Being held in high esteem is far better, far better, than having a pile of silver or gold. Now, you may be thinking, "Rick, okay, should I be concerned at all about my reputation? I mean, I'm a Christian, I'm saved by grace, should I be concerned about my reputation as a Christian"?

The answer is definitely yes. You should be. Second Corinthians chapter eight tells us. Chapter eight, verse 21, the message paraphrased, Paul says this, "you know, we are being as careful in our reputation with the public". "We're being as careful with our reputation with the public, as we are in our reputation with God". Wow. You know this matters. He said, in fact, God says that one of the qualifications, that you must have to be a leader in the church, either as an elder or as a deacon, is that you must have, "a good reputation". Not just with believers, listen, but with unbelievers too. You're not supposed to be an elder or a deacon in a church, unless you have a good reputation, not just with the church, but with unbelievers. Let me show you a couple verses. First Timothy, chapter three, verses two and seven says this, "an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against". Whoa. "An elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against, he must be faithful to his wife, he must exhibit self control, he must live wisely, he must have a good reputation".

That's talking about with believers. Then down in the next verse, he says, "also, he must have a good reputation with people outside the church, who speak well of him so that he can't be disgraced and trapped by Satan". Then Paul says, if you want to be a deacon, you have to have the same requirement. By the way, what's a deacon anyway? Because we don't use that term so much at Saddleback. Deacon is just the Greek word for minister. It's the Greek word for servant. Diakonos means servant, or minister. To be a deacon is to be a servant, to be a deacon is to be a minister. If you serve in any capacity in ministry at Saddleback Church, you're involved in any ministry, guess what? You may not realize it, you're a deacon. Okay, you're a deacon, you're a minister, you're a servant of Christ. Maybe you didn't know that. But here's what the Bible says about you, serving in ministry.

First Timothy three, verse eight and 10, New Living Translation. "In the same way deacons must be people who are respected and have integrity, have integrity". First they must be evaluated. Then if they have a good reputation, there's that phrase again, then they become a deacon. You have to have a good reputation. And God wants you to work on your reputation, particularly with unbelievers. You say, "Well, okay, what does God want me to do"? "What does he want me to be known for"? Well, did you notice the little word in that last verse that I just read, God wants you to have integrity, integrity. God wants us to have a faith that is known for integrity. Integrity sums up all the Christ like qualities that God wants you to exhibit in your life. He wants all of the qualities love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self control, all the fruit of spirit. He wants all these qualities to be integrated into a whole in your life. That's called integrity. He wants the inside of your character to be exactly the same as the outside of your conduct.

Now, let me be clear, having integrity doesn't mean you're perfect, 'cause nobody's perfect. Okay, nobody's perfect. Having integrity doesn't mean you never mess up. Or you never make a mistake. If that were true, no one would ever have integrity. No, no, it doesn't mean you're perfect. It doesn't mean you don't make mistakes. Integrity means more than anything else, you want your life to be truthful, not deceitful, not wishy washy. But you treat everybody the exact same way. That's integrity. You don't treat the Queen of England one way and the bum on the street another way and your grandkids another way. No, no it says, what you see is what you get.

Now, friends, to live with integrity, in this day, and in this age, and in this culture, well, it just requires a whole lot of special effort. Because right now, in our culture, we are witnessing the death of truth in society. It's everywhere, the death of truth. There are many people that don't even believe objective truth exists anymore. "What is truth"? "I don't even believe it exists". "The only thing that matters is what you feel," that's what we're told today. And if I feel it, it's true. And truth is relative for many people. They say," well, maybe true for you but it's not true for me". "Or maybe true for me but it's not true for you". As if truth is an opinion. We're living in an age where political leaders call obvious lies that everybody knows is a lie, they call them 'alternative facts'. Well, the Bible didn't call them alternative facts, the Bible just calls them lies. And what matters to them is not the truth, but it's whatever I wanna believe, even if it's false. So there is a shortage, there is a crisis of integrity, today in our society.

There's a shortage of leaders with integrity in the world today, which makes it even more and more important that you and I, as followers of Jesus, really are different, that we have a faith known for integrity. God wants us to live with such integrity, not perfection, but with such integrity that the world can say about us, "you know, I may not agree with those guys, those Christians, but they're honest, and they're not deceptive, and they're not deceitful, and their word is good, and they keep the promises, and they do what they say they'll do". That's what we need to be, in today's world. A faith that is known for integrity. So you say, "Okay, I want that, I want my life to represent Jesus truthfully". "So how do I grow in that area"? Well, I'm glad you asked. Let me show you four ways to work on integrity in your life from Scripture. All right. You might write these down. You can always download the message notes, outline, either saddleback.comm or But let's look at four ways to become known for integrity. All right, here they are, number one, to be known for integrity, to have the reputation. That's a woman of integrity. That's a man of integrity.

Number one, I must speak the truth plainly. I must speak the truth, plainly. Not flowing in all kinds of embellishments and things like that. This is where we start with the text today from the book of James. James is encouraging us to live with integrity. When he wrote this, in James, chapter five, verse 12. Let me read it to you. Just one verse we're looking at, James 5:12. He says this. He says, "above all my brothers and sisters don't swear, by heaven, or by earth, or by anything else". Okay, "don't swear by heaven, earth or anything else, just let your yes be yes, and let your no be no". Just say what you mean, "do this so you can't be judged and condemned".

Now, let me explain. When James tells us not swear, he's not talking about cussing. He's not talking about profanity. He's not talking about potty mouth, or vulgar talk, obscenities. That's not the kind of swearing he's talking about. He's talking about making an oath, by referring to something else. As if you don't have enough integrity in yourself, to keep your own word, you have to promise on a stack of Bibles or whatever. He said, don't say things like, "I swear to God, it's the truth". You should never say, "I swear to God". the Bible says, don't do that. It's taking God's name in vain. "I swear to god on a stack of Bibles". Or "I swear on my mother's grave".

James says, don't do that. He says you cheapen your own integrity, when you have to appeal to something besides your own character. I swear, based on something else out there. No, no, don't do that. Don't say I cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. Don't don't use any kind of oath. You don't need it. You're a follower of Jesus. So your word should stand on its own. He says just let your yes be yes, and let your no be no. So speak the truth plainly. All right. Don't embellish it. Don't shade it. Don't twist it. Just speak the truth plainly. If you mean yes, you say yes. If you mean no, you say no. You know, sadly, it just seems today that there are very few people in the media or in politics, who know how to do something this simple. To either say yes or no. They always have to shade it. You get asked the question yes or no question, and they answer it with something else.

Now when James brings this up, as the foundation of all integrity, speaking the truth plainly, he's not the first person to say this. He had a half brother named Jesus Christ, remember? And Jesus said it in the Sermon on the Mount, and Paul said it too. Now listen, anytime God says something, three times in scripture, you better know it's important to God. And so this thing is said three different times. Here's what Paul said. Second Corinthians chapter one, verses 17 and 19. Paul says, "am I like the people of the world"? Now listen, what are the people of the world like? "Am I like the people of the world who say yes, when they really mean no"? "As surely as God is true, I am not that sort of person". "My yes means yes, because Jesus Christ, the Son of God never wavers between yes and no".

That's powerful scripture. Jesus never wavers between yes and no. Paul says, "I want to be counterculture in my integrity, when nobody else has got it, I wanna have it". "I don't wanna be like unbelievers who never quite say what they mean". And when they say yes, they really mean no and vice versa. He says, "and my motivation for my integrity is 'cause I wanna be like Jesus, who never wavers between yes and no". So James says, "let your yes be yes and your no be no". Paul says, "let your yes be yes and your no be no". And now, as I said, Jesus taught this exact same truth in the Sermon on the Mount. And his brother, half brother James just repeats it in his book. In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew five, verse 34 to 37, Here's what Jesus said, "I tell you," here's Jesus, "I tell you to never swear by heaven, which is God's throne, or by the earth, which is God's footstool, or by Jerusalem, his great city, or even by the hair on your head, 'cause you can't turn one hair white or black".

Well, you can today, but in those days, they didn't have hair color. But he says you can't change your hair just by wishing it. "Just say," this is Jesus talking. "Just say a simple yes if you mean yes or no when you mean no" "Your word should be enough, anything more than that is from the evil one". That's Jesus Christ talking. So now, we've heard James say it, we've heard Paul say it, we've heard Jesus say, same thing. Said, if you're gonna be my disciple, the disciple of Jesus Christ, you gotta have integrity. And it starts with having a faith, known for integrity. And he says, to have a faith known for integrity, the first step is you just have to speak the truth plainly.

Here's number two, how to get a reputation for integrity. Share the truth completely. I speak it plainly. But I share it completely. "What do you mean by that, Rick"? Well, by definition, lying, is an intention to mislead by either falsifying, or by concealing. You can lie by falsify, or you can lie by concealing. And that means you deliberately hold back part of the truth. You share half the truth. Half the truth can be a whole lie. But God says, if you want to have integrity, you don't play games like that. You'd be straightforward. You share the truth, completely. You speak it plainly. And you share it. You share it completely. Proverbs 10, verse 10, says this, "someone who holds back the truth, causes trouble". Anybody wanna give a testimony on that? When you've held back the truth, and it caused trouble. Now there are a lot of ways that we can hold back to truth. Okay, think about this. We can hold back the truth by not saying what we mean. We can hold back the truth by being silent. Okay, not saying anything. We can do it by not meaning what we say. God says holding back the truth always causes trouble. What kind of trouble? Resentment, mistrust, superficial relationship.

Now, I wanna take this second principle, sharing the truth completely, and I want to apply it in three different ways. First, let me speak to those of you who are business owners for just a minute. Because one of the areas that we often hesitate to share the full truth is when somebody is being let go, or laid off or being fired. And you think you're being kind by not telling them the real reason they're being fired. And you're holding back the truth. You know what I've learned after 40 years of leadership? That always backfires. It just doesn't work. Job 13 verse seven says this, "why are you lying"? "Do you think your lies will benefit God"? "Do you think your lies will benefit God"? "Do you think you're being more loving by lying to him"?

What I found out is this. The truth often hurts, but dishonesty, leaves lasting scars. Truth doesn't leave a lasting scar. The truth often hurts, but dishonesty leaves a lasting scar. And when you don't tell the complete truth, you don't go that last 10%, you don't tell somebody why they're really being laid off. You're creating mistrust and all resentment and all those other things. Proverbs 28 verse 23, says this, "in the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery". It's true. Okay, it hurts, but it doesn't leave scars, like dishonesty does.

Now, I want you to notice the phrase that says, in that verse, Proverbs 28, says, "in the end, people appreciate frankness". Did you notice that phrase "in the end"? Speaking the truth completely, can be unpleasant at first, but in the end, it's better. You see, what am I saying? What I'm saying is that in theory, everybody agrees, honesty is the best policy. But in reality, when faced with potential conflict, we're just not so sure, honesty is the best policy. In other words, everybody believes in the principle of truth, but we don't always believe in the practice of it. And that makes us a bad witness to the world. So, one of the areas as I said is if you're a businessman, tell the truth completely.

Number two, second area that you can apply this idea, sharing the truth completely, is in your marriage. 'Cause if you're hiding your true feelings, you are already undermining your marriage. You need to share the truth completely. You need to go that last 10% and deal with what the problem is. Painful? Yes. Helpful? Yes, healing, eventually. Third area I just wanna mention is in every election. And we're getting ready to go into one of those seasons right now. In every election season, your home will be flooded with advertisements, and with flyers that are filled with half truths. They don't tell the complete thing. They're only telling you the part of that law, or the part of that candidate, they want you to hear. They're not giving you the full story. They may not be lying, but what they're doing is they're covering up all of the facts.

And if you listen, as your pastor who loves you, if you only listen to advertisements, for propositions and new laws, you're gonna be confused. Because you're gonna hear ads that say the exact opposite thing, one right after the other. Each of them sharing half of the story. They're not sharing the whole story. You can't rely on advertising to make your vote count. You have to read the explanations in the sample ballot, that impartial stuff. And you have to decide based on the facts. Never base your votes on anything based on advertising. That's not very smart. So let's go back now. To develop a reputation for integrity, you gotta speak the truth plainly. And then you gotta share the truth completely. Not half truths, but the whole truth.

Third, this is really important. You must use the truth, tactfully. Use the truth tactfully. In other words, in love. There is no place in scripture, there's no place in this book, where God wants you to use the truth as a club to beat people on the head. He didn't want you to beat people up theologically. He didn't want you to beat people up politically. He didn't want you to beat people up personally. He never wants you to use truth as a club. In fact, Ephesians 4:15 says, "speak the truth in a spirit of love". Now, that's a big one. Speak the truth in a spirit of love. I want you to think of somebody right now okay, wherever you're seated, are listening to this, maybe even in your car. I want you to think of somebody that you would really like to help make a change. You go, "they really need to make the change, and I bet I could help them".

Now I want you to realize that people change faster, and people change easier, when the truth is wrapped in love. You gotta wrap it in love. Truth without love is always seen as an attack. If you don't love somebody, and you tell them the truth, don't even tell them. Because you're, the Bible says without love I'm nothing. I'm a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal, it doesn't work. Any truth shared without love is seen as an attack. It is resisted. And if you say something offensively, guess what? It's gonna be received defensively? That's why God tells us to always speak the truth in love. You may say, "well, Rick, how do I know, when I'm speaking the truth in love"?

Well, it's really quite simple. Who are you trying to benefit with what you're saying? For whose benefit are you saying this? If you're saying it for your benefit, it's not in love. If you're speaking the truth for their benefit, well, then it's a different issue. Ephesians 4:29, "speak only", listen to this, only, "speak only," this the only thing you should Speak. "Speak only what is helpful". Okay, is it helpful? It's not helpful, don't speak it. "Speak only what is helpful for building others up". Not yourself up, others up. Speak only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. Not according to my need, according to their need. "That it may benefit those who listen". Not my benefit, but them. If you wanna just get something off your chest, don't call it speaking the truth in love. If you wanna put somebody down, to club somebody with the truth, don't call it speaking the truth in love. You speak only what is helpful for building them up according their needs, that it benefits them. Those are the four qualifications of speaking the truth in love.

Now, just because you're ready to share the truth, doesn't mean they're ready to hear it either. You need to ask yourself, are they ready to receive this truth? That's part of love too. Okay. Is that you use the proper timing. You need to remember this next verse, Proverbs 12:14, they're on your outline. "Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal". So you wanna wound, you wanna heal? You wanna help, you wanna hurt? The solution, if you're in a conflict right now with somebody, the solution, because you're having a conflict. The solution is not deception, but tact. Tact, you may wanna write that down. The solution to my conflict is not deception, it's tact. You have a choice to either hurt or heal. You have a choice to either make a point or make an enemy. A lot of people when they go out witnessing they're more interested in proving a point than winning somebody to Christ. Do you wanna make a point and make an enemy? Or do you wanna make a friend and a convert? What are you more interested in?

Now, what I wanna recommend is that if you got a conflict going on with somebody, here's what integrity does. You plan your presentation, especially your introduction. You know, there's something between you and somebody else, you plan out what you're gonna say. And then you choose the right time, that's best for them. Not when they're tired, not when they're pressured, not when they're hurried. Proverbs 16:23 says, "intelligent people think, before they speak". That's another verse our leaders need to learn. Intelligence people think before they speak. They don't just run off at the mouth. Now this verse you've seen many times for Ecclesiastes 8:9, there is the right time and the right way to do everything. So love says, "I'm gonna do it the right time and the right way". Now, let's review. To develop a reputation for integrity. You speak the truth plainly, you let your yes be yes and your no be no. And you don't go swearing on a stack of Bibles and having to call other people and you just let your own character be the witness. You speak the truth plainly. You share the truth completely. You use the truth tactfully and lovingly.

And here's number four. Live the truth, consistently. Oh, my goodness, that's the one we all need to work on. Living the truth consistently. How different would people think of Christianity if we all live the truth consistently? See being honest, 80% of the time, that's not integrity. It's like faithfulness 90% of the time isn't faithfulness. You say, "honey, I'll be faithful to you all but one day a month". Partial faithfulness was unfaithfulness. Partial honesty, is dishonesty. Being honest is all the time integrity. Ephesians 4:15 says this, "let our lives lovingly express the truth". Okay, this is living the truth. Let our lives lovingly express the truth at all things. Speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly. If we would do that, as Christians, if people like what they saw, they would listen to what we say. You see, when you live without integrity, you're only hurting yourself. Proverbs 11:3 says this. "People who can't be trusted, are destroyed by their own dishonesty". "People who can't be trusted or destroyed by their own dishonesty".

Now, I mentioned earlier, that integrity is a requirement for leadership. In other words, in scripture, in order to be a leader, you are required to have integrity. Why? Because all leadership is based on trust. If people don't trust you, you can lead them. If you don't trust me, I can't lead you. People must have trust in the leader in order to be led. And all trust is built on truth. If you don't tell people the truth, they're not gonna trust you. Now, the Bible says this about one of the greatest leaders in history. In Psalm 78. It was about David the king, Psalm 78. This one of my life verses. Psalm 78:72 says this. "David shepherded the people with integrity of heart, and with skillful hands, he led them". "He shepherded the people with integrity of heart, and with skillful hands, he led them".

This verse tells us the two reasons David was an effective leader. Character and competence, character and competence. He shepherded them, okay, with a pure heart, integrity of heart. And with skillful hands, he led them. Character and competence, both are absolutely essential to leadership. One without the other is disaster. You may be a good person and still be an incompetent leader. On the other hand, you can get really great gifts and skills and not have good character and you suck. David had both. David had both. He shepherded them, that means he cared for them. That word 'shepherd', is the word pastor. He pastored them with integrity of heart, that's character. And he led them with skillful hands. That's competence.

So let me just say this, since we're getting close to election. Anytime you vote for leader, these are the two things you need to Keep in mind. Who's got the best character, and who's the most competent? Who's got the best character and competence combination? By the way, personally, I'd like to ask you to pray for me that these two qualities will be true in my life. As I seek to lead you through this pandemic, or in anything else. I wanna lead you with integrity of heart. And I wanna shepherd you with integrity of heart, and lead you a skillful hands. Why was David so effective in competence and character? Because of his commitment to personal integrity. In fact, he wrote down his commitment. He wrote it down and put it in a Psalm. It's called Psalm 101. And I wanna encourage you to make Psalm 101, your personal covenant, to live a faith that is known for integrity.

I'm gonna read it to you, Psalm 101, verses one to seven. This is David's personal commitment to integrity. And I would encourage you to make Psalm 101, one to seven, you are personal integrity covenant. Here's what he says, Psalm 101, "This is my song of commitment to your love and justice oh, Lord". First, you start with commitment, to love in the world and justice in the world. Will you commit to those two things? I wanna see love in the world, and I wanna see justice in the world. He says, "this is my song of commitment to your love and justice, oh, Lord". And here's what he says, now listen to all these things, "I will lead a life of integrity in my own home". Well, that's where it starts. And that's where it's hardest. "I'll lead a life of integrity in my own home". "I will refuse," number two, "I will refuse to look at anything degrading or demeaning".

Now, you probably think at all, that's pornography. Yeah, it includes pornography. Let me tell you what else it is, a lot of social media that are degrading and demeaning of other people, and other races, and other religions. I will refuse to look at anything degrading or demeaning. Are you getting your vision from God, or are you getting your vision from television? If you're spending more time on television than in God's vision, I know where you're getting your worldview. I will refuse to support anything shameful or corrupt. Wow. I will not be dishonest, and I will have nothing to do with anything evil. This is Psalm 101. I will silence anyone who spreads gossip and slander about others. This is David talking Psalm 101. This is his covenant of integrity. I will silence anyone who spreads gossip and slander about others. And I will not tolerate anyone who looks down on others. Instead, he says, "I'll keep my eyes on the godly of the land, and they will be my heroes. Only those with integrity shall minister to me".

David was a king. You know, nobody's gonna serve in my court who doesn't have integrity. Only those with integrity shall minister to me. No one who cheats or lies will ever have a position in my royal court. That was written easily 2500 years ago. But it is relevant today as a newspaper, in fact it's more relevant. I wanna challenge you to get this outline, get that verse Psalm 101 and make it your covenant of integrity. All right. Let's bow for prayer. Father, I wanna thank you for your word that it's piercing of our hearts and it discerns all of our motives and our mixed motivations. And, Lord we don't wanna be a bad reputation for your family. We don't want our name to bring shame to your name. We don't want people to reject you because they reject us. Help us to live with integrity. Now you pray. Say:

God, help me, help me Lord, to speak the truth plainly, to let my yes be yes and my no be no. To not say I swear on a stack of Bibles or I swear to god or anything else, but you just let my own character be enough to say yep or no. May we be known for that kind of integrity and then say, Lord, help me to share the truth completely. To not do the half truths, to have the courage, the fortitude to go the last 10%, realizing that it may be painful, but what's more painful are the scars of deception and deceit. Help me to speak the truth in love, help me to share, not only completely, but to use the truth tactfully. Forgive me for the times I've clubbed people with the truth, and that I have not been loving. Help me to be tactful, to look at when they need to hear it, to only speak, only speak those words that build up, that benefit those who listen, that meet their needs, not what I need, but what they need. And then Lord help me to live with integrity that I speak, and I live and I think and I act, and I realize that no matter what I say, or do, whether it's on social media, or whether it's in a business deal, or in anything else that I represent you. May you raise up leaders in our church, in a world that's filled with leaders without integrity, I pray you raise up a new generation of leaders that are committed to speaking, living the truth, in love.

If you've never opened your life to Jesus Christ, he will give you the power to do this. And you could say right now:

Jesus Christ, I don't understand at all, but I wanna become a person of integrity. And I can't do it on my own without you. You just say, Jesus come into my life, I open myself to you. I don't wanna be a deceitful person. I wanna be a woman of integrity, a man of integrity. I wanna stand with the truth, but I wanna share it in love. So accept me into your family, and teach me what I need to do. I humbly ask this in your name. Amen.

Are you Human?:*