“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” (Psalm 40:17 The Message).
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.
No one is 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 your 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.
SELF – PITY IS A SLIMY, BOTTOMLESSPIT. Once you fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper into the mire. As you slide down those slippery walls, you are well on your way to depression, and the darkness is profound. Your only hope is to look up and see the Light of My Presence shining down on you. Though the Light looks dim from your perspective, deep in the pit, those rays of hope can reach you at any depth. While you focus on Me in trust, you rise ever so slowly out of the abyss of despair. Finally, you can reach up and grasp My hand. I will pull you out into the Light again. I will gently cleanse you, washing off the clinging mire. I will cover you with My righteousness and walk with you down the path of Life.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many willsee and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
PSALM 40 : 2 – 3
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
PSALM 42 : 5 (NKJV)
The LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
PSALM 147 : 11
Anger: Repattern Your Mind
The way we act is determined by the way we feel. The way we feel is determined by the way we think. If we want to change the way we act, we’ve got to change the way we think. If we want to change a habitual pattern of improper anger management — pouting, blowing up, criticizing, etc. — then we need to have some mental reconditioning.
Gary Smalley suggests you begin asking yourself questions like, “Do I enjoy getting angry?” “Does it produce the intended results when I get angry?” “Could I get the same results in a more effective way?” “How would I be different?”
Smalley suggests you write it down and read it aloud to yourself once a week for six months, that’s 26 times. Take the time to read it in the presence of another person. That may seem like a lot of work, but how serious are you about changing this habit in your life? How serious are you about getting control of your anger?
I’d suggest using Bible verses in your letter, so that, as God’s Word fills your thoughts, you’re transformed by the renewing of your mind. It’s going to change you.
The truth is, angry people are insecure people. The more insecure I am, the more things tick me off. The more insecure I am, the more upset I get and the more irritable I am.
But here’s the thing — When you understand how much God loves you and you understand your security in Christ, when you understand how much you matter to God, then you are less likely to be irritable. (Read Ephesians 1 and Romans 8.)