Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | October 25, 2015

October 25, 2015 “The Integrity Pop Quiz”

“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” 1 Chronicles 29:17)

Good morning and blessed Lord’s Day everyone!

A few days ago, I stopped by a local shop to pick up some bagels for a Bible Study group I was leading that morning. I paid for the bagels, and then remembered that a couple of the men who came regularly weren’t coffee drinkers. On the counter at this shop was a container filled with individual bottles of orange juice, with the price clearly marked. I picked up a couple and they were rung up by the cashier. She stated the price and I handed her my debit card to pay for them. As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed that the price charged seemed particularly low in comparison to that which was marked on the display. My first inclination, I am embarrassed to admit, was to rationalize this discrepancy away as either a sale of which I was unaware or a mistake on her part to my benefit. But upon reflection, I reasoned, (correctly), that she had only charged me for one, so I said something to her about it and discovered that is exactly what had transpired, so I paid for the other and left the store.

Looking back on this incident, I came to the realization that this was a small test of my integrity, and interestingly enough, the very subject of the Bible study I was preparing to lead that morning. Webster offers us the following definitions of integrity:

1. An unimpaired condition, i.e., soundness, wholeness  

2. Firm adherence to a code of moral values, i.e., incorruptible.  

The first definition refers to the structural soundness of something- like a building or a bridge. The second definition refers to one’s unshakable adherence to that which is morally right.  They are actually closely related and often mentioned in the Bible. Integrity is descriptive of one’s character…one’s honesty, trustworthiness, and incorruptibility. In today’s referenced verse, we discover that quite often, God “tests the heart” regarding our particular integrity. They could occur just about any time, as did mine at that store. It could come when you are filing your income taxes. Maybe it would be a flirtation with a co-worker. Perhaps you’ve been given too much change at a department store. Maybe you don’t feel like going to work or to school so you are tempted to feign sickness. Any of these could be an “integrity pop quiz” administered by the Lord, who is pleased with integrity. Are you prepared when such tests come? Or will your integrity be akin to that of a sand castle that crumbles when the first wave of the ocean reaches it?  In his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul writes, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness.” Learn to stand firm and incorruptible. Let your integrity set an example for others. It is pleasing to God when you do. Let’s pray!

Heavenly Father; As you test my integrity, it is my prayer that I will demonstrate honesty, trustworthiness, and incorruptibility that will prove pleasing to you and which will set an example for others. Thank you, Lord, for your patience, discipline, and forgiveness at those times of failure. Strengthen my character, I pray, in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen!

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