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The dictionary defines integrity as "a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values, or incorruptibility; incapable of being bribed or morally corrupted." In the Bible, the Hebre...
In John 18, a cohort of 600 armed soldiers comes to arrest Jesus and have their own traumatic encounter with holiness: Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. John 18:4-6 Six hundred soldiers fall to the ground, and the word that is used implies that they were sort of held there, pinned to the ground. There are many speculations as to what exactly happened, but it appears as if the veil of his flesh lifted, and that pre-incarnate glory that he had before the foundation of the world was opened up for a microsecond. It was sufficient to overwhelm them. R. Kent Hughes, in his commentary, Behold the Man suggests: Jesus’ answer was one of his last uses of the power by which he calmed the seas, stilled the winds, and healed the sick. The cohort didn’t arrest Jesus – he arrested them. His words were a gracious warning that they were in over their heads. They must have known something wasn’t quite right. Six hundred armed men are now more afraid than the one they came looking for. When we live our entire lives before the face of God (corem deo) and practice a constant abiding in his presence, we realize that being people who do not manifest integrity is inconsistent with the dignity and destiny we’ve been called to. We have been called to live on a higher plane than that, to “live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received” (Ephesians 4:1), because, now, Christ is in us. He wants to live his life through us (Galatians 2:20); we are not only his representatives (2 Corinthians 5:20), as members of his church we are, in some mysterious way, his body (Ephesians 1:23; Colossians 1:24). Now, that’s impossible unless he dwells in us, but therein lies the solution. In fact, this is the genius of the Christian life. Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship. Christianity is not about rules and regulations. Instead, it is the presence and power of a person who indwells us and promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). As fallen men and women, we realize how disintegrated we are when we come face to face with God’s perfect integration. And, like Isaiah, it forces us to recognize our deep need for personal reconstruction. Isaiah realized the depth of his own sin in the process of catching a glimpse of God’s perfect holiness, and he acknowledged those areas in which he had turned from his commitments as a priest and a prophet. But his commitment and his life as a faithful prophet demonstrate for us the possibility of framing a life of integrity with God’s help. The Process of Integration It’s self-evident that a hypocrite is unqualified to guide others toward attaining higher character. No one respects a person who talks a good game but fails to play by the rules. What a leader does will have a greater impact on those he or she wishes to lead than what a leader says. A person may forget 90 percent of what a leader says, but he or she will never forget how the leader lives. This is why Paul tells Timothy: Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:15-16 In this life, we never attain perfection. But there should be progress toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We will never attain it this side of eternity, but there should be visible progress, evident to others. Notice the two things Paul exhorts Timothy to watch: your life and your doctrine. In other words, give careful attention to your behavior and your belief. Make sure they match. Constantly examine yourself to see whether or not your walk matches your talk.
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