Mar22MonMarch 22, 2021
Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
If I could sum up Proverbs 11 in one word, the word would be “integrity”. What does it mean to have integrity? The dictionary includes words like: honesty, strong moral principles, uprightness, completeness, wholeness. Often, integrity is associated with trustworthiness, keeping promises, dependability, being honorable. Upright, righteous people are godly people who reflect the heart and character of God.
Integrity in money: In our society today, integrity is often associated with honesty. Integrity will be seen in the way one handles money. Proverbs 11:1 says, The Lord abhors (hates) dishonesty (cheating). To a righteous Holy God, stealing from people is an “abomination” (see v. 1 in NKJ). For the follower of Jesus, “ripping” people off, especially fellow believers ought never to be done; it is unloving (Romans 13:9). Money is worthless; what matters is righteousness (vs. 4). God is Kind, and He is looking for those who are Kind to reflect His heart (v. 16, 17). Generous people are not consumed with wealth and dishonestly gaining more. Those with integrity who sow righteousness will reap a sure reward (v.18). Those who freely give gain more (v.24), and a generous person will prosper, and be refreshed as he/she refreshes others (v. 25). The one who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive (v.28)
Integrity in Character: The moral conduct of a follower of Jesus should be dramatically different from those who don’t know Jesus. We have been declared righteous because the righteousness of our Lord has been imputed to us. “It is no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me”, therefore, I should act a whole lot more like Jesus, and not my old self. The Bible uses the expression “integrity of heart”. Integrity is the fruit of a transformed heart. “The Lord detests a perverse heart, but He delights in those whose way is blameless (v.20). There are a couple examples in the Bible about people with integrity. The first is Job, defined as blameless. God says of Job to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."(Job 2:3) Did you see that? Even under demonic attack, Job kept his integrity! Even Job’s wife wanted Job to throw his integrity out the window (Job 2:9). Read Job 27:1-6 for the resolve Job had in his heart, to not compromise his integrity! God says that David walked with “integrity of heart and uprightness” to his son Solomon (1Kings9:4). Asaph, David’s chief worship leader says the same thing about him (Psalm 78:72). What will God say about us?
Those who possess integrity (uprightness, godly morality and behavior, righteousness, blamelessness) receive many blessings: their path will be straight (v.5); deliverance from trouble (v.6, 8, 9); life (v. 19); freedom (v.21); prosperity (v. 28). It pays to have integrity!
There are two great promises in Proverbs 11 that have really impacted me over the years, and influenced me in my ministry to this city of Guelph:
Our Integrity as followers of Jesus is noticeable, and influences those around us. This world is in desperate need of seeing the character of Jesus in His followers. Integrity should be evident in our lives, since it is becoming so much less so in the world. When they ask you why you are so honest, fair, trustworthy and kind….tell them it’s because of Jesus!