Today’s Reading: Acts 20:1-38 (additional reading: Psalm 148:1-14 & Proverbs 18:6-7)
Today’s message recognizes that there is a world of people watching us, and we need to be models of integrity. It recognizes that we are all examples to the world – some of us are good examples and some of us are bad examples; but we all have great influence on others, either for or against Christ! In 1 Corinthians.11:1, Paul tells the Corinthians: “You should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s.” That is a powerful statement of integrity, if you ask me! Integrity is defined: “A being complete; wholeness. An unimpaired condition; soundness. Uprightness, honesty and sincerity.”
INTEGRITY HAS ONE DEBT: To serve (“douleuo” = be a slave) Christ. (19)Paul W. Powell said, “God is more concerned about our character than our comfort. His goal is not to pamper us physically but to perfect us spiritually.” I believe Powell has it right. When we come to Christ, we do not put ourselves in a position to bargain or negotiate. “I’ll serve you if I don’t have my life threatened” or “I’ll serve you but don’t send me to Africa!”
Considering all that Christ has done for us, the debt that we have is to serve him “as a slave”! Paul faced some serious opposition, so it is not like he is saying “it’s a piece of cake to serve God!” Hardly! But the opposition or lack of it is not the determining factor for the person of Integrity: There is a debt to be paid – and I will pay it, no matter the price!
The great philosopher, Plato, lived more than 400 before Christ was born. Even then, he understood the meaning of integrity: “And yet, my friend, I would rather that the whole world should be at odds with me, and oppose me, than that I myself should be at odds with myself and contradict myself.”
That’s the question I must leave you with: Are you living like Christ? Are you a walking, living, breathing model of Christian integrity among the people God has given you?