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Wisdom's Integrity

Updated: Apr 1


Blog title card; the topic is integrity
Wisdom's Integrity

Integrity is a word commonly used by schools, sports teams, corporations, and other organization wanting committed members. After all, for an organization to achieve excellence, its members must also be individually dedicated to that excellence. Integrity is an essential quality for success, for it refers to a disposition of wholeheartedness. Integrity is being complete or undivided at heart. Perhaps you’re familiar with the idea of a building’s having structural integrity. Here, the word describes a strong structure with no cracks in the foundation. An undivided building is a strong building.


Proverbs 19:1 uses our word to describe a person: “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips and is a fool.” This is not the only time Proverbs 19 describes a man of integrity. Rather, the entire chapter’s theme is the importance of having pure and not selfish motives. Proverbs 19 describes wholeness and unity of heart. For this reason, I’ve entitled Proverbs 19 “Wisdom’s Integrity.”


First, notice the words in verse 4: “wealth maketh many friends”. People that lack integrity attempt to make friends with someone who has wealth. They want to the friendship not because they’re actually interested in him, but simply because they’re wealthy. Their motives aren’t pure; they are selfish. It’s duplicitous. Similar ideas are presented later in the chapter. “Many will entreat the favor of a prince,” verse 6 says. A man without integrity wants to be friends with the prince because he’s powerful and well-connected. Befriending somebody for what they can do for you is rooted in selfishness and foolishness, and it lacks integrity.


Second, three verses in Proverbs 19—verse 5, verse 9, and verse 28— describe the same kind of person without integrity: a false or ungodly witness. A lying witness obviously lacks integrity. He knows the truth of a situation but he deliberately tells lies instead. He compromises his integrity because he has an ulterior motive. His agenda is something other than the truth. Despite his scheming, however, he will be punished. Verse 5 says, that his lying lips “shall not escape.” Verse 9 explains that one who “speaketh lies shall perish.” And verses 28-29 explain that, since this false witness fails to value godly judgment, there will be judgment for him. He deserves “stripes for his back” (v. 29). He deserves a beating. Proverbs 18:6 portrays a nearly identical idea; a foolish false witness “enters into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. Whether it’s stripes or strokes, a false witness brings a beat-down upon himself. If he isnt’ physically beaten, certainly life will beat him up as he continues to bear false witness against the truth of a situation. The false witness certainly lacks integrity.


Third, consider the caution of Proverbs 19 against foolish words. This warning is a repeated theme in the book of Proverbs. Verse 27 is a command to stop listening to voices that are promoting error. Instead, we should embrace the “words of knowledge.” The world’s ideologies, such as evolution, humanism, and much of modern psychology, are full of lies. False religion specifically, and liberalism generally, promote words that cause many young people to err, as verse 27 says. Godless philosophy is the devil’s agenda, for he is the ultimate one who lacks integrity. He is also the ultimate personification of foolishness. The devil knows the Word of God, yet he uses the world’s ideologies to cause people to err from the truth. John 8:44 describes the devil as “a liar and the father of it.” All the way back in the garden, he showed his lack of integrity by deliberately misquoting God‘s word to beguile Eve. His lack of integrity was also on display when he tempted the Lord Jesus in Matthew 4:1-10. Once again, he deliberately misquoted the words of God in Psalm 9 for the sake of his evil agenda. Proverbs 19:27 instructs us to avoid the foolish words of the world’s ideologies and embrace wisdom’s “words of knowledge.” In wisdom’s words we learn integrity.


These warnings are not idly given. Remember that, according to Proverbs 19:1, it is better to be financially broke than to be wealthy, if you have to lose your integrity in order to gain that wealth. It’s better to be broke at the bank than it is to be broken in your heart. Similarly, verse 22 states that “a poor man is better than a liar.” It’s better to be a poor man than to be a liar. Integrity is so valuable! Your integrity is much more valuable than money, popularity, or power. Protect it.

 

The above article was written by James C. Johnson. He is the pastor of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at strengthforlife461@gmail.com.


Every Tuesday, SFL publishes relevant Bible-based content. Check back next Tuesday to read the next SFL article.

 

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