How to Take the First Step to Integrity
BY RICK WARREN — JULY 21, 2019
“If you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, he will surely rise up and restore your happy home. And though you started with little, you will end with much” (Job 8:5-7 NLT).
It may be tough for you to read a message about integrity because you’re replaying in your mind all the times you’ve fallen short, all the opportunities you had to show integrity but didn’t, all the moral failures in your life. We could all make a similar list of failures.
St. Augustine said that the confession of bad works is the beginning of good works.
If you are serious about becoming a person of integrity, the first step is to admit that you haven’t had integrity. You just admit that you don’t always keep your promises. You often gossip, and you like it. Sometimes you slack off at work. You pretend to be someone you’re not. Just admit it all to God!
A lot of people segment their lives and think they can live with integrity when they are harboring sin in one area of life, as long as it doesn’t affect the other areas. I call this the Titanic myth. The Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable because it was the first ship to segment and compartmentalize the hull. Theoretically, if the boat took on water in a certain area, you could batten down the hatch, and it wouldn’t sink the whole ship.
But folks, when it comes to your life, a hole in the boat is a hole in the boat, and eventually it’s going to sink you. That little area you thought you had under control will eventually take you down. And it will affect the people around you, because while sin is personal, it is never private.
None of us are perfect, but God doesn’t expect you to be perfect! He does, however, expect you to have integrity, and the starting point is to own up to your sins—no matter how long the list is.
God is more interested in your heart than your sins. You’re never going to be perfect. You’re never going to be sinless. But you can sin less.
That is the choice of integrity.
Talk It Over
What area of your life have you chosen to keep separate or hide from your family? How has it affected you spiritually, emotionally, and physically?
Why would God want you to confess your sins when he already knows what they are?
How can your sin affect other people, even when they don’t know about it?