As you may know by now from past blogs, my husband and I attend Church of the Highlands here in Birmingham, Alabama. We feel extremely blessed to be under such great leadership and learning so much more in just the past few months than we have in all of our lives. I decided a few weeks ago to go back and watch all the sermons they have available from the past and work my way forward. It has been great for me to have the daily dose of truth from God. As I have learned over the past few years, adults learn and absorb better in small doses over time. I am currently watching the series Pastor Chris did in 2005 titled Highlands Apprentice. I just finished watching Part 2- The Titanic Mistake. I always encourage when I reference or write about something that I learned from someone else to research it, watch it, or whatever when possible. So I highly encourage you click on the link and watch this sermon for yourself. I write what touched me personally and only hope to pass the message along.
What Pastor Chris was mainly hitting on was living a life of integrity, what that means for a christian, and how to live it out. First you must know the definition of integrity.
Integrity- quality or state of being complete or undivided.
What spoke to me most was when he used the Titanic as an example of what can happen when we lack integrity. He said that when building the Titanic, they used a new idea that if they compartmentalized sections of the ship to where if they hit an iceberg, they could close that section off and keep the ship from sinking. As we know from research, history, but mostly the movie. HA! Yes, that is the main reason I know about Titanic. Obviously, the ship lies at the bottom of the Atlantic so the plan didn’t turn out as they hoped and over 1,000 lives were lost.
His point was that in our lives, we try to compartmentalize certain aspects of our lives and expect it not to affect any of the others. This is an extremely false belief. Using integrity means being the same everywhere we go. Our morals, beliefs, actions, and words to be the same at work, home, church, watching sports, and the list can go on. We have to remain true to our beliefs at all times to be a light and example to those around.
The Lord detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. – Proverbs 11:20
Three areas integrity matters:
1) Integrity matters to God
2) Integrity matters to others
3) Integrity matters to you
Integrity is making right decisions even when it is the hardest and maybe even when no one else around you is . It has been proven that you will live longer, be healthier, and have less stress when you make right choices. The biggest misguided belief and sometimes the most aggravating is when people think they can make their own decisions and live their life how they wish and it not affect anyone else because it’s their life. The truth is, every decision we make whether good or bad effects those closest to us first but even affects those whom we don’t know. For example, politicians, church leaders, government, managers, CEO’s, and so on affect our lives correct? Some people would say that it makes sense for them to have integrity because everyone knows them , they make the big decisions that affects everybody in the country or whatever. Each of our decisions matter just as much. As a parent,it affects our kids. As a manager, it affects those you lead. As a daughter or son, it affects your parents. As a sister or brother, it affects your siblings. It affects the decisions, mindset, and beliefs of those that surround you.
Some think we can compartmentalize different areas such as finances, relationships, faith, and fitness. We can not separate these. Think of it like you are an artist getting ready to paint a picture and you are putting the different color paints on your palette(yes I had to look this word up). In any great painting, the artist uses his brush to create a masterpiece of colors running together just right to make the image he/she desired. In your life, you are the painting and the colors are the areas I named above. Everything affects the others that creates the life(masterpiece or disaster) you created by the choices you make. In other words, if your finances are in a mess, your relationships, faith and fitness will struggle.
An evil life is a hard life. – Chris Hodges
Mark Twain said, ” The benefit of a person with integrity is that they don’t have to have a long memory.” The Bible says in Proverbs 10:9, “The man of integrity walks securely but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”
One great thing about Pastor Chris is that he doesn’t just teach about what we need to do to be happier, but also how to apply it to have success and backs everything by the word. So here is his three How’s to live a life of integrity.
1) Always speak truth- your mouth shows what is in your heart. Proverbs 4:24
2) Always Stand for what is right- your actions- match your lifestyle with your beliefs
3) Always Stay Clean- accountability- Philippians 2:15
As with any principle or truth we should live by to be happier and more fulfilled, we can’t just read about it or listen to it, we have to live it out every day. Many say I have tried to do good and make better decisions but I just haven’t had any success in it. “Why isn’t it working for me?”
Here is the best part and the greatest news…it is through the power of God inside of you that gives you the ability to live these truths out. Never forget that you are not perfect nor does God expect you to be…He just wants you to believe in Him and His strength to help you through and it will be easier to make the right choices even when the wrong one seems easier at the time. The verse Pastor Chris gave to close it out is found in 2 Peter and the answer of how to overcome.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3
My hope is that each of you will live with integrity, you won’t compartmentalize, and you will make choices that benefit you as well as those around you for the good according to what God’s word says. In order for us to make a difference, we must first be different.
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 2 Corinthians 6:3
I love you all and hope your integrity will be greater than those of this world.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10
With love, Jessica