Saturday, April 26, 2008

Definition of Integrity

I am reading from Psalm 78 this morning in my devotions. It speaks of God's incredible compassion. The compassion that He had for the Israelites as He walked them out of captivity in Egypt and through the desert to the promised land that He had set aside for them. The whole while they are complaining and forgetting the incredible miracles that He was doing to keep them alive. It is even this compassion that causes Him to turn away (verse 65) and allow them to once again go into captivity.

What really spoke to me though was the very last verse of Psalm 78. "And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them." (emphasis my own)

'Integrity of heart'... Indeed the heart is the source of integrity. I cannot buy it, I can not learn it, I can not create it. It is something that is within that only God can create. Webster's dictionary defines integrity this way.

Middle English integrite, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French integrité, from Latin integritat-, integritas, from integr-, integer entire
14th century
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility 2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness 3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
synonyms see honesty

Firm adherence..., Unpaired..., Undivided...

It is interesting how this compares to the definition that is put forth in Wikipedia

Integrity is the basing of one's actions on an internally consistent framework of principles. Depth of principles and adherence of each level to the next are key factors. One is said to have integrity to the extent that everything one does is derived from the same core set of values. While those values may change, it is their consistency with each other and with the person's actions that determine the person's integrity.

Now keep in mind that Wikipedia is a 'work in progress'. In other words, the information is never complete and is always evolving depending on input by millions of users. Do you see that in Wikipedia's definition above?

Back to David in Psalm 78. David shepherded the Israelites "with integrity of heart". I do not believe that this integrity ever had 'values that change'. David fell short in so many areas of his life. This is a really cool thing about the Bible. God doesn't make anyone out to be a super hero. They all fall short; hence the need for a Savior. Although David has many shortcomings throughout his life, one thing stands firm. He has 'integrity of heart'. His moral code never changes. After the times that he falls, he sees the er of his ways and comes back to the moral code that is steadfast in his heart.

Integrity is of the heart. Look deep within and pull out what God has created. Cultivate this integrity through spending time in the Holy Bible so that you will have a 'firm adherence to a code' as described by Webster. The only firm foundation is one created by God. All others are as shifting sand.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Listening to God

I have been focusing on 'listening to God' in the past several weeks. I have been seeking His path for my life and wanting to be in His will for me. More and more I sense that I need to hear Him in the various ways that He chooses to speak to me.

Certainly reading His Word and being in deliberate prayer daily is foundational. I say 'deliberate prayer' as that is time carved out of my day just for that purpose. I try to be in constant prayer with God throughout the day but when I'm driving down the road, I know that God does not have my entire focus.

I also picked up a book last week and have been cruising through it. Hearing God by James W. Goll is an interesting book on honing your skills to hear God more consistently. Some tools that he recommends from chapter six:
  1. Don't make it complicated. Submit to His lordship, resist the enemy, ask questions and expect God to answer!
  2. Allow God to speak however He chooses. This is an area that I'm really focusing on. Sometimes it is that inner voice but it can be through His written Word, through another person, through dreams, etc.
  3. Confess any known sins. Psalm 66:18 states "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear."
  4. Obey the last thing God said. This is interesting when the last thing God said, I may not particularly want to do! Why would God give me new marching orders when I haven't obeyed the last one that He gave me?
  5. Get your own leading. God wants to talk to us personally. He may use others as noted in number two to reach us but He wants to talk to us individually also. Don't be codependent on others to hear God.
  6. Don't talk about your word too soon. Pride, presumption, missed timing, and confusion will step in when we are not completely within God's will. God tells us something as a trusted friend. We need to ask His permission to 'spread the word'.
  7. Know that God will confirm what He's telling you. This confirmation may be through His word or other means.
  8. Beware of counterfeits. Satan is crafty and is the great deceiver. Don't think that you will be ignored by satan. The closer you get to God, the greater the threat you are to satan.
  9. Practice hearing God's voice. When you think that God is speaking to you, REALLY listen. Get to know His voice.
  10. Cultivate an intimate relationship. God wants us to draw close to Him. Really work on this in your daily devotion time.

I look forward to working on these ten steps from Goll's book and recommend the book to others.

Well, gotta go now... God is on the phone! :)