Tuesday, April 17, 2007
adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship's hull.
One of the fundamental things required of a minister or a servant of the Lord is personal integrity. Within the heart of a man or woman of God there must reside an unwillingness to compromise with the core convictions that are demanded of the privilege of ministry. The definitions above show that moral and ethical character and the concept of wholeness and soundness are intertwined in the concept. Ministry affords the opportunity to hide the lack of integrity or at least, to cloak it in religious garb, so that it is not seen by others. The mechanics of ministry do not guarantee the integrity of soul.
Keeping the soul clean and unemcumbered is no task for tenderfoots. Living a spiritually full life is really a fight. So much sin begins in the heart. A bitterness entertained, the coveting of your neighbors wife, the lie- all are easily covered with a smile and a " I'm okay!" The problem with letting these kinds of cancer live in you is that they spread within. No longer localized to the easily hidden areas, they begin to conquer the soul within.
It is popular these days to talk about accountability. This is spoken of as the magic bullet of spiritual integrity. But accountability is not something that someone does to us, as in "hold us accountable". Accountability is what we allow to be done in our life by significant others. The soul whose integrity has been compromised will not let itself be held accountable! Integrity is found in accountability rather integrity is the foundation of accountability. It is simply too easy for someone to ask " How are you doing?" and for you deflect the questions seriousness with a frivolous answer.
The minister must look within, he must own his own weaknesses and sins rather than blame them on another, and he must bear them to the cross of Christ. In those moments of confessing sin, admitting his brokenness before a Mighty God his life can be restored to it's integrity. There need not be emotional angst, though there may be. It is simply the job of cleaning up the soul. It is our duty to present to God a heart in which he can dwell, with no unconfessed sin, with no poisonous duplicity, with no bitterness, lust or lies. He is holy- and those who handle holy things, must make every effort to purify their lives for the King of Glory to live and work among them.
This is not easy. It is the hardest thing any minister does. And when a person stops having personal integrity he becomes a characture, a shallow vapid empty shell of a servant that simply performs the mechanics of ministry. For some in the church in this century that is enough- that they perform well is all that the church demands of its servants. But what if they are not well? While all men may be fooled by the pretence, God is not.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
Posted by Pastor Dave at 5:36 AM