Monday, January 16, 2012

A life of integrity

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Amos 5:16-27

TO CHEW ON: "I hate, I despise your feast days,
And I do not savour your sacred assemblies ....
But let justice run down like water
And righteousness like a mighty stream." Amos 5:21-24

Here and in many other places, God stresses the importance (to Him) of justice and righteousness. How do these qualities look in real life? Here are a few examples from the Bible:

  • In Israel it was fairness to women in a society that considered them ineligible to inherit land (Numbers 24:1-8).
  • It was also expressed in defending the poor, orphans, afflicted, and needy (Psalm 82:3).
  • The Queen of Sheba saw King Solomon and his just, righteous rule as God's loving provision for Israel (2 Chronicles 9:8).
  • The psalmist, having lived by standards of righteousness and justice, was bold to ask for God's help (Psalm 119:121)
  • The writer of Proverbs considered living a life of righteousness and justice more acceptable to God than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:3).
  • In the New Testament, it included paying ruling authorities their due—whether that was taxes, customs, respect, or honour (Romans 13:7).
  • Paul interpreted it as paying fair wages to one's workers (Colossians 4:1)
God still wants us to live lives of integrity, that is, lives characterized by justice and righteousness and from which these qualities overflow: "Let justice run down like water / And righteousness like a mighty stream." As a comment in my Bible expresses it:

"Outward religious forms have no value unless faith is lived out daily. Love and honor God in every way so that the life flow of the holy Spirit will pour out to those around you." - Leslyn Musch, "Truth-In-Action Through Amos," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 185 (emphasis added).

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to live a life of integrity, characterized by the justice and righteousness that are part of Your very essence. Amen.

MORE: Keeping your word

Living with integrity (with justice and righteousness) may not always come cheap. Michael Hyatt discovered that when a client confronted him with an expensive promise made by a former colleague on behalf of the company for which he worked:

"Several months ago, a former executive at our company made a commitment to a third-party via email. It is obvious that he didn’t research the cost of his promise, nor did he get anyone else’s approval. I was not aware of the obligation until the other party brought it to our attention. When I learned that the commitment was north of six figures, I gasped ..."

What would you have done in this situation? Find out what Michael Hyatt did, and why, in "Keeping Your Word."

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