After leading Israel for forty years, the prophet Samuel didn’t get a retirement party and a present. Instead he received praise from the people: ‘You have not cheated or oppressed us’ (1 Samuel 12:4 NIV). He led them, instructed them, and blessed them, but he didn’t take advantage of them. He was a man of integrity. He had values, and he stuck to them. We also need to make sure we have values. Knowing what matters and what we truly value is key to living a life of meaning and purpose. For most of us the problem isn’t having values, the problem is living them out. We all value honesty, integrity, and forgiveness, but do we really live them out – especially when it costs us? Pursuing a life of values and integrity comes with a price. It can be hard to go against culture, and live with integrity. But it does allow us to relax and be ourselves. Cheating, lying, and being different people in different situations is draining. It can exhaust us as we’re trying to remember how we’re supposed to act with each person we encounter, and what we’ve told to each person in the past. When we live a life of integrity, we don’t have to worry about these things. The Bible says: ‘The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.’ To have integrity means we are one person. We don’t change who we are based on who we’re with or where we are. We should be aiming to live a godly life, and develop a godly character, in all situations.
Think about a value you would like to live by. Write it down and carry it around with you as a reminder to live out that value wherever you are, and whoever you’re with.
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