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.