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Lives of Integrity

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And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 ESV)

Yesterday we learned that growing in love by studying God’s word allows us to set proper priorities. Today we see that it also allows us to live lives of integrity.

Paul tells us that when we become people who are overflowing in love and have our priorities set straight we will be both “pure” and “blameless”. At first glance one might be inclined to believe that Paul is talking about perfection here, but he is not. None of us are perfect [Romans 3:10, James 3:2, et. al]. Rather, each of these words describes a different type of integrity.

The word “pure” refers to an internal integrity that only God can see. It comes from the Greek for holding something up to the light to see if it is flawed. Just like today we’d hold a one-hundred dollar bill up to a light to see if it is real, in ancient times they would hold pottery up to the sun to see if it had any cracks in it that had been repaired. Since God is light [1 John 1:5] only He is capable of examining our internal purity.

Someone who is “pure” in this sense has a good conscience before God. He isn’t perfect. But he is living his life by following God’s commands the best he can. God does not command perfection. But He does command that we live lives that are sincere and devoted to Him.

The word “blameless”, on the other hand, refers to an external integrity that others can see. Someone who is blameless lives outwardly in such a way as to be a model to others. The original Greek word means “to not to cause others to stumble”. Her behavior doesn’t cause others to sin. When she does sin she admits it – she doesn’t cover it up or pretend she didn’t. Her actions therefore, while not perfect, don’t cause people to distance themselves from God.

We can live pure and blameless lives if we are filled with the love of God and if we are living for the right reasons. Instead of living for our own selfish gain, we must be living “for the day of Christ”. Some day this life will end – not just for ourselves but for others. Someday we will have to come face-to-face with Jesus who will examine our lives to see whether we lived in such a way that helped people find Him or whether we lived in such a way that caused people to not want to know Him.

If we live our lives constantly aware that there is an eternity we can live lives of integrity that will be honoring to God and examples to others.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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