Christian Character and Integrity Session 3 – Ps. Bill Page – 22.02.2017
Recap on last week: What is Integrity?
- Honest behaviour. We must watch for the little things, which may seem fairly unimportant, but a breach in our integrity, no matter how small, will open the flood-gates for greater and greater compromises, until total failure is the inevitable result.
- Moral uprightness
William James was right when he said, “That which holds our attention determines our action.”
What captures our attention; what we meditate on, will ultimately determine our behavior.
Balancing Your Gifts with Integrity
We must take care not to emphasize the gifts of a leader over his or her integrity. We have an unhealthy tendency to see and reward the gift more than the character; but both are to be developed.
- Unselfish Service
Go the extra mile: Rebecca Principle.
Genesis 24:10-22 Rebecca went way beyond what was expected. A thirsty camel can drink 20 gallons of water. 10 camels = 200 gallons! If Rebecca was able to carry a 5 gallon jug, that means that she took up to 40 trips down into the well to help this dusty stranger! When you serve God and His people, you never know what doors that can open for you.
You can change your destiny by simply serving with all your heart.
There is no short cut to success, whether it is in business, ministry or any other worth-while endeavor. If you want to be successful and achieve your goals, then the question is, “Do you want to pay the price?”
People sometimes start out on a new career or an area of ministry and they do not last long because they soon realize how much effort is required. If they are not prepared to work at it, and to pay the price in time, energy and commitment, then they will end up where they started: unfulfilled and dissatisfied, and somebody else will have to do what they started out to do. But if we persevere through the tough times and keep our focus on Jesus, then greatness is waiting for us!
2 Corinthians 4:5-7 “Saucepans”. At the end of the day, we are “saucepans” for the Lord, and…
Matthew 21:7-9 “Donkeys”.
- Keep your Word:
Keep your word: do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. If you can develop a life-style around this principle, you will be a person others can trust, and that will open many good doors for you.
Unfortunately, this is an area where we seem to have trouble getting it right, so we miss out on many potential benefits and successes.
Everything we do, from the little things to the big things, reveal the level of our personal integrity, and we will pay the price, or receive the benefits accordingly.
Daniel 5:10-17. Daniel’s integrity was tested many times, but his character and his faithfulness meant that he rose to become the most influential man in the kingdom under four separate kings! When “there is a man (or woman) in the kingdom” who is a true follower of God, good things can happen.
Like with Daniel & Joseph, circumstances may be against us, but we can still respond with integrity.
- Stewardship with Money
Resisting taking money or resources that aren’t rightfully yours.
Carelessness or dishonesty with money has ruined many, many careers and ministries over the years. Corruption, bribery, and general dishonesty with money are in epidemic proportions all over the world.
Be very strict with yourself with your use of money. If you fail in this area, you will destroy the trust people have in you, and you may never get it back.
Character is, as D. L. Moody said, “What you are in the dark.”
Genesis 49:22-24 Even though Joseph was treated so badly, his “bow” literally: character “remained in strength.” When difficulties arose, “his branches run over the wall” and he bears fruit on the other side!
Character creates trust.
Christian relationships and leadership can function only on the basis of trust. If you pull out trust, then you will lose your relationship or leadership foundation.
Because of Joseph’s unquestioned integrity, he rose up to a position of great trust, under Potiphar, the Prison Warder, and even the Pharaoh.
This is true in all relationships: parent/child, husband/wife, pastor/congregation, employer/employee.
John Maxwell said: “Character makes trust possible. Trust makes leadership possible.”
We must be continually making deposits into our “Trust Account” by living with integrity, making right decisions, and caring for others. Later, we may need to “make a withdrawal”, when we do wrong, or make a wrong decision, or if we are criticized or others try to tear us down because of jealousy or for other reasons.
Many leaders neglect to make regular deposits into their “Trust Account” with those around them, and then when they need to make a withdrawal, there is nothing there to draw from. Trust does not come automatically: it is earned.
The “Barnabas Factor”: encouragement brings out the very best: criticism brings out the worst. A booster rocket has one job: to get the space capsule into orbit. You may be the booster rocket to launch another into fruitful ministry!
Acts 9:26-30, 11:21-26
Apostle Paul: “Too hot to handle” for the Church leaders in Jerusalem. “Go home to Tarsus” they said, and he went, and remained there for 3 years! Then Barnabas was experiencing revival in Antioch he walked all the way down to Tarsus, and find Paul, then brought him back to Antioch. It was Barnabas who launched the ministry of the Apostle Paul: by encouragement: you can all do that!