Friday, 4 May 2018

FUNDAMENTALS OF THE SWEET SCENTS OF CHARACTER

FUNDAMENTALS OF THE SWEET SCENTS OF CHARACTER



Integrity is a fundamental pillar of Character. 
What is integrity?
The Psalmist speaks of a man “who keeps his oath even when it hurts.” ~ Psalm 15:4b.  In that statement, we have the basic definition of integrity, which is, standing by your words, particularly when it’s not convenient.
Integrity is a measure of the percentage of your promises that you keep.  It is easy to make promises, particularly in times of excitement and good feelings.  But most times, the circumstances under which we have to fulfil those promises might be a far cry from what they were when we made them.  When the time comes to go through with what we said, it might no longer be easy and convenient.  Integrity is your capacity to keep your promises, even when it’s not convenient.
To be a person of integrity means that you’ll rather die than break your promises. It means that you do not say things you don’t intend to do. It means that you do not speak carelessly.
To walk in integrity does not mean that you are flawless or perfect.  But it means that you admit your shortcomings. A person of integrity does not try to cover up mistakes with more results, but rather owns up to them and makes amends where necessary.”
I went on to highlight the values and benefits of integrity…
The values and benefits of integrity
Integrity is the foundation of an enduring legacy.  According to the bible, ‘A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.’(Proverbs 22:1). Also, ‘A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1).
Never build your image on your reputation, gifts, or talents. Build it rather on your character.
For instance, I do not see myself as being in the ministry, but rather as being in a love affair with God.  My personal relationship with God is more important to me than my work as a pastor.  So, my priority is to make that relationship sound and solid.  The former is the substance of my character, the later is merely the expression of that character.
Again, I do not aim at being a great speaker or writer. I do not want my gifts and talents to define me.  I rather want to be a great husband and dad, through sacrificial and exemplary godly living.  It is easy to be a Christian in church and in the public, but very difficult to be one before your spouse and kids who live with you under the same roof, and who see you every moment of every day.  I want to be a model, not for the world, but for my wife, and my kids.  I believe that goal will help me develop the quality of integrity, more than merely becoming more skillful in my work.
People of integrity enjoy great inner peace with God and with themselves.
They may not be liked, but they are trusted, and trust is the number one key to influence.
So, people of integrity have influence; people trust them, believe them, and follow them.”
Walking in integrity is a very difficult choice.  We live in an imperfect world that seems to suggest that it’s foolishness to be honest and righteous.  All around us we encounter people who actually appear to be rewarded for being dishonest.  This is a real challenge for the man or woman who decides to walk in integrity.
How to walk in integrity.
“#1. Cultivate a love for it.
Concerning Jesus Christ it was written that ‘You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions.’ ~ Psalm 45:7  He walked in impeccable integrity because He just loved the virtue of integrity! Think about that.
So, personal passion and love for integrity is the greatest motivation and drive for integrity.  In order to walk in integrity, you must love it.
#2. Meditate on the beauty and blessings of integrity.
A lot of political, business, and religious leaders abuse their positions of power to deceive their followers and constituencies.  I have been helped immensely to walk in integrity by meditating on the following verse of scripture: ‘… a poor man is better than a liar.” ~ Proverbs 19:22.  This scripture helps me strengthen my resolve to rather be poor than be a cheat and a liar.
When I meditate on the fact that ‘A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…’ ~ Proverbs 22:1, it inspires me to make the investment of time, energy, and money to leave a good name for my kids, and empowers me to make the daily choices and sacrifices that move me further along the path of integrity.
If you want to walk in integrity, you must meditate daily on the beauty and blessings of integrity from scriptures, and by learning of men who walked and influenced the world through integrity.
#3. Associate with men and women of integrity.
Your associations matter.  So, mind your company.  According to the bible, ‘He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.’ ~ Proverbs 13:20.  Make friends with people of impeccable integrity, righteousness, sincerity, and honesty.  Spend time with them, come under their influence.  Fellowship with men and women whose lives challenge you to pursue integrity.
#4. Seek the help of God through prayer.
Ultimately, you and I will need the help of God in order to walk in integrity, particularly in those moments that we are tempted and pressured to compromise.  David was a king that led his people with integrity, yet he faltered in many ways.  During one of his weakest moments, he cried out to God, ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ ~ Psalm 51:10.
When you choose to walk in integrity, you should expect to receive help from God.  In those moments that you are tempted and pressured to cave in, remember to seek the help of God through prayer.  He will strengthen you with power in your inner man by His Spirit.  But He will also give you tokens of His goodness to establish the value of integrity, and power your motivation to move on.”
At the end of the sermon, I challenged the congregation to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness in all the areas that we’ve failed to walk uprightly in integrity and sincerity of heart.  Then I spent some time praying for God’s help and strength to enable us to walk in integrity.
I extend that prayer to you today: May the Almighty God inspire you and strengthen your resolve to walk in integrity all the days of your life, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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