Virtue is morally good behavior or character. It is the thinking and the doing of what is good, and avoidance of what is not good. In other words, it is moral excellence. The virtue we are zeroing in on today is honesty, which signifies conveying the truth both in word and in deed. This quality is an essential aspect of God’s own nature and purposes, and is expected of those whom He calls His people. A person of integrity is one who follows his or her moral or ethical convictions, and does the right thing in all circumstances, especially when it is not convenient; even when no one is watching.
Having integrity means that you are true to sound and godly principles, and would not do anything that dishonors God and your values. It means that you have a moral compass that you do not waver from. It literally means having “wholeness of character”. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of your actions. A key tests of integrity is what you do when you face adversity, compared to what you do in times of prosperity. This virtue is exemplified in the lives of Daniel and Joseph in the bible.
A. Why should we be honest in all our dealings?
1. God demands us to be honest. God requires us as His children to be honest in all our dealings, whether in public or in private. In Psalms 15:1-5, the Scriptures demand that believers walk uprightly, work righteously, and speak truth in their hearts. 2Cor 4:2 (NIV) says:
“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways, we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, we set forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
2. God forbids us from dealing dishonestly. In Lev 19:35-36, God commands that we have honest scales, meaning we shouldn’t cheat. In Zech 8:16-17, God commands us to speak truth to our neighbor. Also in Jn 4:23-24, God says He is seeking for true worshipers that will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
3. Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, was honest in His dealings, and so we too should follow His example. Mat 22:16 says deceit was not found in His mouth (also, 1Pet 2:22).
B. Biblical Examples of Honest Behavior
- Joseph’s brothers returned the money they found in their sacks when they returned to buy food in Egypt – Gen 43:12.
- Samuel was honest in all his dealings as a prophet to the people of Israel – 1Sam 12:3-5.
- David was an honest man – 1Chron 29:17.
- Paul strove to have a conscience without offense toward God and man – Acts 24:16.
C. What Honesty Might Cost You
- It could cost you your very life. But if it does, it will only lead to glory – Jer 26:15, 24.
- It could cause you pain, because you might be punished for it – Pro 17:26.
- Others might prey upon you for your honesty. But in the end, it is worth it – Isa 59:14-15.
- Telling the truth may not win you many friends. In fact, you might be hated as a result – Gal 4:16. It is better to be an enemy of man than to be an enemy of God.
A. Characteristics of a Person of Integrity.
- A person of integrity exhibits core values that never change over time – honesty, loyalty, respect, faith, compassion, and dedication.
- Integrity is the antidote to self-interest.
B. Some Scriptures on Integrity.
Phil 4:8; Ps 41:11-12; Lk 6:31; Heb 13:18; Pro 4:25-27, 11:3, 21:3, 12:22, 28:6, 10:9; 2Cor 8:21; I Pet 3:16; I Kings 9:4 (God to Solomon – “As David your father did”); 1Chr 29:17 (God is pleased with people of integrity); Job 2:3 (God boasted to Satan about Job’s integrity); Job 2:9 (Job’s wife rebuked him for retaining his integrity).
C. Daniel as a Case Study of Integrity.
Read: Dan 6:1-16
- He had an excellent spirit. As such, when his enemies investigated him, they found nothing wrong.
- They knew the only way they could trap him was to make him do wrong, by asking him to sin against his God; He would not do that because he was a man of consistency, praying as usual – Dan 6:30
Pro 20:7 says, “A righteous man who walks in his integrity; how blessed are his sons after him.” Integrity leaves a legacy for one’s children to follow. And since ”honesty“ is embedded in “integrity”, let us live a life of integrity! Hallelujah!