Lead Well: Repair Your Integrity

Lead well in life: keep your integrity intact.

But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever [Psalm 41:12 ESV]

In Psalm 41 David lets us know how God has upheld him because of his integrity, which allowing for how David behaved at times may seem a little incredible. Or does it rather point to a different way to view of integrity.

Integrity is not about perfection. Instead it’s about how we deal with situations when we don’t behave with perfection. Wholeness is difficult to attain and even harder to maintain. So when things break that, how we respond will either preserve our integrity or if we are not careful, maybe damage it beyond repair.

David messed up. But when confronted, he responded. He prayed. He called on God. He wept. He repented. He repaired his integrity. And God upheld him. More than that God set him in His presence forever. I can definitely relate to the messing up part and am a thankful recipient of Gods endless grace

Repair your integrity.

It may not come naturally. Be willing to be honest. Things happen, so let’s learn to respond well. To ask for forgiveness. To forgive. To repent from patterns of behaviour. To work hard at lining your life up with the Word of God. Integrity is hard won, easily lost. When a chip appears, fix it. Otherwise, a chip becomes a crack, which if left untended becomes a break which could be impossible to close.

The world needs people who are willing to work at protecting and maintaining their integrity. The world especially needs Christians who are able to stay strong, and who when they make a mistake, deal with it, get right with people and with God, and by doing so, protect and maintain their integrity. God rewards those with such a heart and sets them in His presence forever.

What do you think to todays thought?

 

Love God. Love People.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? [1 John 4:20]

Love God. Love people. That is one of the biggest challenges that most of us as Christians have to contend with.

We know we love God. Love to worship. Love to lift up His mighty name.

It’s the loving people part that can often be the harder part. Yet it is just as important. I feel that maybe if we can’t genuinely love others that we make a mockery of the fact that we love God.

I am reminded, challenged and if I am honest, sometimes guilty of saying that I love God but still having issue with people. I know that I don’t hate them, perhaps they just wind me up. However, I must be careful to make sure that I take the love I have for God and share that love with the people around me.

Love God. Love people. It makes a massive difference. To not do that is to fall short. How can I say that I love God if I don’t love others too.

Or maybe it’s just me.

The Real Me

To discover the real me I need look at what I spend time thinking about when no one is looking and when nothing is forcing me to think about anything in particular.

Where do my thoughts go to?

I have to train my thoughts to lean toward God, to move toward Him.

It’s about more than reading my Bible 24/7 or mumbling under my breath in tongues whenever I can. It’s about taking captive thoughts that otherwise may wander. It’s easy done. Negativity. Selfish. Lustful. Angry. Empty. Resentful. And the rest.

In the secret place where no one else watches is where I truly determine the power of my relationship with God. Let’s not be religious about this but lets not fill our heads with so much of the wrong stuff that we don’t make enough room for thoughts that are truly God-centred.

Thankful thoughts.

Thoughts that praise and honour God.

Go first for thoughts that dwell on the goodness of God.

Prayerful thoughts.

I watch what goes in as it feeds my imagination. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he [Proverbs 23:7]. Just because I can [read that book, watch that film, behave that way, say those things, do that thing] doesn’t mean I should.

If I can’t be humble, joyful, faithful, disciplined, honouring, truthful, full of integrity in private before God then what I want to appear on the outside will not match who I truly am.

Maybe that’s sounds boring to you but if God and knowing Him better is the most important thing in your life, then what’s the problem.

Be a Conversational Architect [3]

Continuing to unpack this idea of being a conversational architect I would encourage you to speak from a position of BEING RESPONSIBLE

Even the Apostle Paul says this is important…
If you choose to speak, you’re also responsible for how and when you speak. [1 Corinthians 14:32]

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. [Luke 6:43-45]

When we speak or comment we must do it from a position of being responsible. Not just responsible FOR people but responsible TO people. To speak from a position of creating the right culture – building, planting & caring for them. If we are responsible for them then we will try and tell them, fix them, manipulate them. If we are responsible to them then we would always speak wanting them to discover answers for themselves. It is a subtle difference but a difference nonetheless.

This means taking responsibility for what comes out of our mouths, which means taking responsibility for what goes in the heart because that’s what eventually comes out.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts [Proverbs 4:23] Being vigilant takes effort, it doesn’t happen by chance.

Be responsible to people by doing the following things…
make the message clear – examine what you will say
focus on the others first – if you are just saying something for the sake of saying something then it might need changing
live out your message – Jesus tells us we will be known by our fruit – become more consistent – be responsible to make your words and actions match up

Be a Conversational Architect [1]
Be a Conversational Architect [2]

Leaders Set The Pace

Your life has the opportunity to influence in so many ways. The problem is that many of these opportunities are either ignored or not even seen.

Reading Job 29, you see an individual who looked out, saw needs and met them. He was a one man servolution. It comes in response to his ‘friends’ and their determined effort to have him confess to guilty pleasures, some secret sin in his life, something that obviously wasn’t there. It would have been easy to confess to something bearing in mind the circumstances he found himself in, easy to think that they may have been right.

But Job stood strong.
Job was very self-aware. He knew where he had come from, what his life represented, that amongst his community he was a leader, someone that people looked to.

Leaders set the mood.
Leaders set the pace.
Leaders do this not only for themselves but for the community in which they live.
Job was a man of integrity.
He was also a man of influence too.

v25 ‘I was their leader, establishing the mood & setting the pace by which they lived. Where I led, they followed.’ [message]

Does your life stand up to the tests of integrity and influence?
Are the strong enough to hold you when others would push you to compromise?

Integrity Job Style

Here’s my simple thought as I read the book of Job this week.

I don’t want what Job went through but I would like to think that whatever happens in my life I would hold on to my integrity like he did. Even when those closest to him encouraged him to blame God he refused to be persuaded. He maintained his integrity.
[Job 2:3 MSG: Then God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him, is there – honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil? He still has a firm grip on his integrity! You tried to trick me into destroying him, but it didn’t work.”]

Sometimes you have to fight for it.
Sometimes it isn’t easy.
Sometimes you can convince yourself that you deserve to ‘give your opinion’, ‘speak out’, ‘feel sorry for yourself’.

The challenge of standing by the non-negotiable standards in your life is what makes integrity.
Integrity isn’t easy.
Integrity can set you apart.
Integrity determines your response to things that happen.
Integrity is a leadership must.
Integrity is an overlooked spiritual discipline

You grow your integrity, then you fight hard to make sure you do not lose it.

How is your integrity looking?

Book Review: Leading Character by Dan Allender

Another of the great Leadership Library books, easy to read but full of punch.

Sharing from his own journey as a leader he challenges that not only do we need to have character as a leader, we must also be a character too. “The primary focus is not what we speak, but how we live. We are to have character that invites others to the goodness of Christ and to be a character that intrigues and compels others to discover what it means to be forgiven and set free to live with passion and joy.” Don’t think you can say it more clearly than that.

I enjoyed the honest reflection, which added weight to the challenge for me to be honest for the sake of my integrity and how that reveals the character of God as I show strength & love in my life and leadership.

To have the right character…seek prayer, grow in wisdom, live with freedom.
To be the right character…display gratitude, be truthful, have boldness, always be willing to look at the facts.

“The more we allow our hearts to hear with strength and courage, tenderness & mercy, the more we will be amazed at how God has worked in us and longs to continue the good work he has begun.”

A good read. Recommended. Check it out here.

[Other Leadership Library books by Bill Hybels and Andy Stanley]

How To Walk Into Your Future – Pt1

Shared these thoughts last Sunday as my first venture into our new Preaching Series at Xcel Church about walking into our ‘flashforwards’. Whatever we see in our future – the best part about it is that we can have God right at the centre of it. This means we should be walking ahead…

Confidently
This is a confidence not based on getting the answers we want all the time but based on the knowledge that God will do what is right for us. The two invariably are not always the same. We may not always know our own thoughts on things but God is never uncertain. His thoughts are always working towards the expected end.

As Jeremiah 29:11 says ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.

God wants us to be able to move ahead with confidence. By His grace & Holy Spirit he directs the thoughts, affections & designs of all. We can take confident steps into our future knowing that He has already thought about them. (Psalm 37:23)

Carefully
Paul wrote in Eph 5:15 (NKJV) ‘See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise’

We want God to use us in the future – thenwe need to watch how we walk, to have a walk worthy of the calling to which we are called. The calling is to that of being a Christian and the opportunities that living out that calling may unfold.

Look at Noah – the Bible says there was something ‘different’ about him. He was a man right with God, careful to keep that relationship right, to always do what God asked him to, to keep his integrity. Maybe that is why God could open up what can only be described as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity.

To walk ‘circumspectly’ literally means to walk accurately, in the right way, frequently consulting our rule – so that we don’t act as fools but rather as people who are wise. Too many give no thought about how things look, about protecting their integrity, to think about how their actions represent God.

Instead of getting frustrated with God and wondering why He hasn’t noticed us yet, perhaps we should take more care how we walk, what we fill our time with and give ourselves greater possibility of ending up where God needs us to end up.

So where do we need to take care? How can we improve your walk?
What are we going to do this year to help us walk more carefully?