Well as my one-year anniversary quickly approaches, I am so amazed at all that Ha’Shem has done in me, and through me, but most of all in spite of me. There have been many areas where I have been challenged and stretched and yes even felt the Refiner’s fire a time or two. And in it all, my Father is always faithful, gentle, and patient in every lesson learned. When I think back over the past year and the lessons learned I would have to say that the one truth most strongly impressed upon me this year has been the necessity for absolute integrity of heart. It is what guides us through the “land mines” in this life and enables us to stand firm in our faith when challenged by the enemy to compromise.
I think that one of the most important keys to spiritual growth is wholeness of heart before God. We are to walk before God with absolute integrity. We must carefully guard the integrity of our hearts before Ha’Shem because we are called to live our lives before God and the world without reproach. Ethical integrity is one of the indispensible attributes of Christ-like character. As Believers we need to remain upright in heart and consistent in our obedience to Ha’Shem’s law without compromise.
The word “integrity” is related to the word integer and it means “whole” or “complete” as in a whole number. Integrity is being undivided without duplicity or pretence. It is being consistent; your yes is yes and your no is no. A person of integrity has private and public standards that are the same everywhere. Integrity is rock-like. It won’t crack when it has to stand alone and it won’t crumble under pressure.
Compromise on the other hand is the enemy’s most effective tool. He doesn’t yank us away from Ha’Shem, but slowly lulls us away little by little. The world pressures us to soften the edges of holiness and to round off the corners of righteousness. We deceive ourselves by the smallness of our surrenders. In other words, you can deceive yourself into thinking that a small compromise will not matter. But small steps, taken consistently, add up to a great distance. Small compromise has a snowball effect; momentum develops, and before we realize what’s happening, life spins out of control. A little compromise, a few concessions; King Solomon warned that it was “the little foxes that spoil the vine.”
Compromise is turning the black and white issues into shades of grey and the results of compromise in our life can be devastating. We are called to walk in the Word without compromise. Ha’Shem says to us, “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or you turn to the left” Isaiah 30:21. It is in listening to and obeying that voice that we find protection from compromise. In Proverbs 11:3, we are told, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the duplicity of the unfaithful destroys them.” Integrity is consistently allowing Ha’Shem’s Word to be our “plumb line” in every situation regardless of who is able to see. Ha’Shem places great value on integrity. We must also guard the integrity of our heart as something precious and of great value.
Ha’Shem tells us in Psalm 78:72 that King David shepherded Israel with an upright heart. How could David after the things that he did, and after all the compromises he made be called a man of integrity by Ha’Shem? The answer is found in Ps. 51:6-10 – “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow… create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
David depended on Ha’Shem’s forgiving and cleansing grace to make him a man of integrity. He depended on the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to walk in integrity and to maintain it.