What does the Bible say about integrity?

Integrity is incredibly important, and the Bible has a lot to say about it, but what exactly is it? The dictionary defines integrity in a few ways: "1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY; 2: an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS; 3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS."

Having integrity is similar to having good character, but goes beyond good character in that it is defined as incorruptible, sound, and complete. Integrity is the encapsulation of having good character that is unwavering and consistent. For Christians, as we continue on in our walk with Christ we should see our integrity increase as evidence of our spiritual transformation and growth (2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 2:12–13).

Godly character can be evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit in the life of a Christian (Galatians 5:22–23). Integrity is consistently living with good character—honesty, faithfulness, reliability, morality, self-control, etc. Integrity does not depend on how easy or difficult your personal circumstances may be.

The Bible has a lot to say about integrity. One of the big messages we see throughout the Bible is that integrity enables us to persevere. In the story of Job, we see a situation where all that Job loved and had worked for was taken away from him. His children died, his crops and riches withered away. His health was poor. Everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. It was Job's integrity that kept him from doing as his wife recommended, cursing God and dying in his hardship (Job 2:3, 9–10). Later on, he again asserted the importance of his integrity: "till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days" (Job 27:5b–6). Job's integrity enabled him to persevere through extenuating hardships until God restored what had been lost.

What does the Bible say are the results of having integrity?

  • "The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!" (Proverbs 20:7).

  • "Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out" (Proverbs 10:9).

  • "Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall" (Proverbs 28:18).
  • "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them" (Proverbs 11:3).

  • "May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you [God]" (Psalm 25:21).

  • "But you [God] have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever" (Psalm 41:12).

  • Across cultures and time periods, there are frequent instances where corruption not only runs rampant, but is even rewarded, bringing greater power to those who engage in it. Integrity is morally incorruptible, and people of integrity will not be bribed or swayed based on what sort of gain may be in it for them if they were to compromise (Proverbs 28:6).

    Jesus is our perfect example of integrity. After He was baptized, He spent forty days and nights in the wilderness where He was tempted by the Devil. His integrity held firm in the face of extreme temptation, even being offered all the world's kingdoms and glory (Matthew 4:1—11). Jesus was able to overcome temptation and maintain His integrity through speaking the Word of God.

    Second Corinthians 8:21 says, "For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of man." As Christians, our goal should be to have a clear conscience and live out of sincere faith, with our integrity as evidence of our love for God and others: "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love" (2 Peter 1:5–7). Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who accomplishes this work in us (Philippians 2:12–13; Romans 8:28–30).

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