“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.”
1 Chronicles 29:17
With LinkedIn, Instagram and a thousand strategies to improve your “brand”, we live in an age that is eager to enjoy the benefits of high reputation. It is not nearly as eager to pay the price to deserve that reputation. As G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.” The path is clear. It is just hard. We must encourage each other to pursue God’s best. For that reason, the YBL theme for 2022 is Integrity: Loving the Truth with All You Are.
Loving the truth with all you are.
The reason to describe integrity this way is because it costs everything. When we describe a boat as having integrity, we mean it does not have any cracks or holes where water comes in. Even one gap in a hull will result in a sinking vessel. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).
In light of that reality, when we are honest with ourselves, we realize we all have a problem with integrity. Chesterton says again, “When a man really tells the truth, the first truth he tells is that he himself is a liar.” How sobering! The good news is Jesus came for people who have a problem with integrity. He told the disciples on the mountainside, “I did not come to abolish the law or the prophets, I came to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus is the only man who has perfect integrity, who always does what His Father desires. Jesus loves the truth with all He is.
Jesus’ sacrifice has accomplished two amazing things. First, a people who lack integrity can be forgiven for all the ways they fail. We are not enough, but Jesus is. Second, if we follow Jesus by faith, the power of His Spirit and presence will enable us to grow in faithfulness. We will never be perfect in this life. However, we can become faithful enough that people see a dim reflection of the perfect integrity that belongs only to Jesus.
If we love the truth with all we are this year, we will change. Our growth could be the means of helping stagnant situations and people change with us. Integrity begins by loving the truth, dwelling on it, and wanting it more than other things. In the end, it means wanting God because He alone embodies such beautiful integrity. Let’s help each other on this difficult but completely worthy path!