By Glen Goddard
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Integrity or Necessity
What does it mean to be a man or woman of integrity? Is it a characteristic that is integral to being someone after God's own heart? Looking at King David's life, even with all of the flaws, it is easy to see integrity running like a golden thread throughout his life. He was considered a great leader of integrity because he had a steadfast adherence to God's moral code. And when he failed miserably, and then tried to hide his crime of passion and finally murder, when confronted his integrity came to the surface and he confessed.
Daniel was another man of integrity. [Ref: Daniel 6:1-16] He was a hostage to a foreign power in a foreign land. But in the face of this he did his job with integrity. Those around him classified Daniel as a man of exceptional qualities, so much so that the king recognized this foreign prisoner as someone he could trust over his whole kingdom. King Darius found in Daniel an excellent spirit and attitude [v. 3]. It is said that we can only fake a good attitude for so long before our real attitude comes to the surface. It is not who you know; it is not what you know; it is not what I do. What makes a person successful in the sight of God, who sees into the heart, is what we are like when alone where only God knows our actions. That is integrity.
Because Daniel's attitude was in the right place, he was faithful to what God gave him to do [v. 4]. In today's political and business environment, to find a man or woman in whom no corruption can be found is rare indeed. Whether I am in business, politics, homemaker or ministry, the question is always the same for God. Am I trustworthy as to my promises and not negligent in what I do? The practice of integrity produces unworldly wisdom.
Integrity starts and ends with the "law of God" [v. 5]. The verse does not say that directly but it is implied. Real integrity comes only from learning about the kind of integrity that God has in mind. What is interesting to note, is that Daniel's enemies had to manufacture a circumstance where Daniel's pursuit of integrity to God's law was tested by civil law.
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. [Daniel 6:10] His praying three times a day to God was not a sudden act of civil rebellion. Daniel did nothing more than do what he had always done. When he learned of the decree, he did not rush home and raise panic prayers to God. What is important to God is our consistent walk with Him. And that is what Daniel did in the face of death; "just as he had done before." Those qualities of integrity: exceptional attitude, faithfulness and personal purity where the disciplines that enabled him in the moment of crisis to not panic and to continue to be "giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." Without those foundational building blocks of faith, his attitude, his faithfulness and his purity would have gone out the window. The history of Daniel would have been far different.
When the crisis comes, have you been building on the right foundation?
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