What does integrity mean to you?

Integrity glorifies God, protects leaders from stumbling and encourages growth. Christian to the Core

The used car salesman is one of the most identifiable caricatures in our American culture. His spiel cleverly disguises the broken-down junker as a great deal. Naive buyers drift onto the car lot already emotionally connected to a car they want. A great salesman can produce a major motion picture as he casts the vision for this inexperienced bargain hunter as a confident spy, impenetrable superhero or commanding CEO. All the emotional and psychological hype usually leads to the purchase of a vehicle that becomes a nightmare to own. Buying a new car can be nerve-racking with good reason.

There are few things that I feel worse about than making a mistake with my money. I can be duped when I search for something that will somehow give me an edge or improve my dated style, my skills like cooking or my overall wellbeing. I've become jaded over time because I've misjudged items and services so often.  My cynicism has also affected my belief in people and sometimes even in myself.  The negative voices in my head that accompany bad decisions about money, people or myself are boisterous. But, the voices can be silenced as the challenges and struggles turn out to be the proving ground where God and I do some of our best work.

Humility has become my well-worn companion in the great education classroom of life. God patiently and most lovingly identifies the subject matter if I am willing to surrender to his message. I usually discover areas of my own immaturity and vulnerability. He can point out where I may have put too much confidence in the things of this world to deliver only what He has promised to deliver. God will also press me to discern whether it was me or someone else that took advantage of a situation revealing not my character but that of my adversary. I've had to learn new ways to manage his blessings whether I recognized them as blessings at the time or not.

This Sunday we will talk about integrity. The writers of Christian to the Core curriculum define integrity as being the same in heart, mind and actions. Integrity is about who you are as a person, the values you uphold and whether or not your actions are consistent with your declarations. I wish I could tell you there is an easy way to become the masterpiece God is crafting in you. But, then I would be selling you something. Take a moment as you finish reading this blog to thank God for the education you've received. It has been expensive in ways you could not have imagined. But, then again, anything truly worth having is worth paying the price.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT