By Greg Laurie

Greg LaurieA pastor who boarded a bus one Monday morning paid his fare and took his seat before he realized the bus driver had given him a lot of extra change. At the next stop, the pastor went up to the bus driver and said, “Excuse me, sir, but you gave me too much change. I wanted to give it back to you.”

“I didn’t make a mistake, pastor,” the bus driver told him. “I was at your church last night and heard you preach on honesty. I just wanted to see if you would live it.”

We seldom realize that people are watching us. They are paying attention to what we do. They may not tell you they are watching you, but they want to see if you are the real deal, if you are a man or woman of integrity.

If you knew that no one would ever use your computer and look at the websites you visit, would you visit websites you are not visiting now? If you knew that no one would ever know about the movie you were going to, would you go to a different movie than you normally would?

We would do well to follow the advice of Will Rogers, who said, “So live that you would not mind selling your pet parrot to the town gossip.”

Integrity has been defined as what you are when you are all alone. The measure of real character is what a person would do if he or she never would be found out. Character is what you are in the dark.

Our personal integrity and character is developed on a daily basis. With every thought we think and every deed we do, we are either building that character up or we are tearing it down. It has been said, “Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

Having integrity and character is vitally important, because ultimately we will reap what we sow. Usually when we hear that statement, we think of it in a negative way. But there is a positive side to it as well. The Bible says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).

Moses, one of the Bible’s greatest examples of a person of integrity, had such character that he actually managed to keep some 2 million people from falling into full-tilt idolatry.

His was a preserving influence on the Israelites, much like people of integrity are a preserving influence in the world today. Jesus told his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. … You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:13–14 NKJV).

In Jesus’ day, salt had multiple purposes. For one, it was a form of currency. Roman soldiers would sometimes be paid in salt, hence the origin of the expression, “He’s not worth his salt.” Another purpose of salt was food preservation. Without refrigeration like we have today, salt was rubbed into meat to keep it from rotting. So when Jesus said that his followers were the salt of the earth, he meant, among other things, that they can help stop the spread of corruption.

A little pinch of salt can make a difference. One person of integrity can make a dramatic difference in even the darkest of circumstances. As it has been said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.”

The problem with a lot of Christians today is they never make a break with the world. By that I mean when you are close to Christ, you will see this world for what it is. You won’t long for the things that are spiritually damaging; you will long for the things that build you up in your faith.

The temptation is to hold on to a little vice here or a little compromise there. But one small thing leads to another, and soon a little bit of compromise leads to a little bit more.

When God leads you to take a stand, it won’t be easy. You should brace yourself for and anticipate opposition. Know it. Whenever you take a venture of faith, whenever you try to do something to touch the lives of people, whenever you seek to take steps of obedience in your own life, there will be conflict.

But would you be willing to do what you can, where you are, with the influence God has given you? There is power in integrity and in godliness and in standing up for what you believe. Even if people give you a hard time or make fun of you, many of them will secretly respect you. So focus on integrity. Focus on character. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.

 


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