They’re dropping like flies…politicians, sports figures, businessmen, church leaders. It seems anyone who experiences any modicum of success faces the integrity issue at some point. Why does it appear that fewer and fewer are passing the test? Not many have articulated the problem more clearly than C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man: “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”
In other words, we are a dis-integrated people. Our words don’t match our deeds. When our values are challenged, our quick abandonment reveals the shallowness of our roots. We have not built our house on the bedrock of integrity.
Scripture provides a blueprint for those who desire to hold fast to their moral principles and are tired of swimming in a culture of compromise. It’s found in Genesis 39. You’re familiar with Joseph…sold by his brothers to slave owners who took him to Egypt. Although a slave, he so impressed his master, Potiphar, that he was soon elevated to the highest position in his household. Then came the test…
Potiphar’s wife wanted him, and she tried again and again to lure him to her bed. His resistance to her seduction models integrity. First, Joseph realized that all sin was sin against God. “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (verse 9). His first responsibility was to the audience of One and he knew it. Second, to the extent he could, he removed himself from even being in the presence of the temptation. “And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her” (verse 10). Next, when all else failed, he got out of Dodge… “he ran out of the house” (verse 12).
But perhaps the greatest test of integrity came to Joseph when standing firm in his convictions landed him in jail. Rather than letting the bitterness of injustice push God aside, he kept his heart open and “the Lord was with him” (verse 21). Joseph maintained his integrity by refusing to view his circumstances in a way that would have been disloyal to the God he knew.
We can reflect the same kind of integrity in our seasons of temptation. We can be those whose words and deeds are in sync. We can reclaim our heritage of being men and women, as Lewis explains, with virtue—no matter the cost. And we know how…
We have a blueprint to follow.