During this month we are seeking to glean some lessons from Daniel’s life for us as Christians as we seek to live out our lives in contemporary society. Last week we noted that Daniel excelled at his work (pt.1). This week we want to consider the fact that Daniel walked in integrity (pt.2).
Integrity is one of the most important character qualities to develop in your personal life. For all of us, it is vital, as it is part of the foundation of all credibility and influence. Integrity means that there is an integration between who we really are (when no one is looking) and who we appear to be to others. Other similar concepts to integrity are ... honesty, character, truthfulness, and authenticity.
Read Daniel 6:1-6 (particularly v4)
Dan 6:4. Then the other administrators and princes began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs, but they couldn't find anything to criticize. He was faithful and honest and always responsible. NLT
Dan 6:4. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. NIV
Daniel walked the talk. Who he was publicly matched who he was privately. He refused to compromise. He was a person of upright character and moral excellence. He was a man of convictions and he was willing to stand for them no matter what the cost. He knew what it was to take a stand and he was willing to be different if necessary rather than just following the crowd. He resolved to do what God wanted regardless of the consequences.
His integrity was tested many times and he came under attack through the criticism, jealousy and even conspiracy of other people. He ended up in a lion’s den because of sticking to his convictions. Walking in integrity doesn’t mean everything will always go smoothly for us but God promises to watch over us and bring us through each challenge.
When we hear the word ‘integrity’ we think of things such as, ‘authenticity’, ‘who you are when no one is looking’, ‘how you treat those who are not present’ and ‘living an integrated life’ where there is no gap between what we project on the outside and who we really are on the inside.
We too are called to be people of integrity. Integrity is closely related to the fear of God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning wisdom (Prov.9:10). In other words, when you realise that God is always with you, you start living wisely.
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out (Prov.10:9).
Have you ever noticed how well we drive when we notice a police vehicle near by? We slow down to the speed limit. We check that our seat belt is firmly fastened and we even indicate when we’re changing lanes! The very awareness of the presence of the police causes us to do what is right. That’s what the fear of the Lord is. It is a healthy consciousness that he is always with us, watching and evaluating every thought, word and action. When we live with this awareness we are motivated to do what is right for our own good.
Make a commitment to be a person of integrity. Then along the way, keep a clear conscience in all matters – ethical, relational, financial and sexual. Very rarely does someone just fall into sin. More often than not it is a slide that begins with little things that are ignored and allowed to go unattended.
Be a person of honesty and integrity. Don’t ‘cut corners’ – taking home office supplies, promising what you can’t deliver, giving false income returns, illegally copying a computer program, stealing time, exaggerating, etc. Jesus tells us that ‘as it goes with the little things, so it will go with the big things’ (Lk.16:10).
Temptation is part of life and everyone is tempted. Thankfully, God always gives us a way to escape and we can overcome with his help. We can say ‘no’ and we can run from temptation. We may win a battle but the war is not lost until you give up. Learn from your failure and gain wisdom for the next temptation. Overcoming makes us stronger.
God calls us to be “above reproach” (1 Tim.3:2), which means we are to take the “high road” and make sure that our standards are well above what is acceptable to the world around about us. Don’t see how close to the edge you can get without crashing. Keep as far away from danger as possible.Here’s some thoughts from Mark Conner’s blog on this topic:
How do you develop personal integrity? Here are a few suggestions:
Sample Discussion Questions
- Value integrity. Unless you place a high value on this quality you will be unlikely to pay the price to develop it and preserve it over the long haul.
- Establish personal boundaries between what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, and then stay as far away from the edge as possible. Don't see how close you can get to the edge. That's like a deep sea diver seeing how long they can last on a tank of oxygen.
- Sweat the small things. Jesus said that faithfulness in small matters is the foundation of faithfulness in large matters. In the same way, dishonesty in small matters often leads the way to dishonesty in large matters. Tell the truth, don't exaggerate, pay for personal expenses at the office, don't cheat on your taxes, etc, etc.
- Adopt an early warning system. Significant loss of integrity is never a fall; it is more often a gradual slide. Take decisive action early ... before it's too late.
- Each of us is vulnerable to temptation. We are made of the same stuff and have the same potential for senseless sin.
- Repent quickly. Admit it when you are wrong, ask forgiveness, stop doing the wrong thing.
- Ask others to help you. I have a number of people outside of my world who I meet with regularly who are able to ask me any question they want about anything in my life. Accountability is important.
- Ask God to help you. The human heart is prone to self-deception (see Jeremiah 17:9). Ask God to search you and show you any crooked way in your life (see King David's prayer in Psalm 139:23-24).
- How have you developed integrity and character in your life?
- Share a practical example that has helped you form your character.
- Have you asked someone to share accountability with you? How was this beneficial?
- What early warning systems or boundaries do you think are helpful?
- How can we help each other continue to live lives with integrity?