We live in a world that is striving to marginalize moral values and void basic societal standards of right and wrong. Granted, there are some “gray areas” of liberty where one man’s opinion is as good as another. For the Christian, the Word of God is the ultimate standard in matters of truth, life and moral judgment (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In a pragmatic world, the Christian has the reality of divine absolutes—not the opinion of man, but the verdict of God. Ponder the following as examples of absolutes.
1) A man is either honest or he is dishonest. A dishonest man is honest some of the time; however, an honest man has integrity and will be honest at all times.
2) A man of integrity will always speak the truth–he will not lie. A liar may occasionally tell the truth; however, he will lie when it is convenient.
Today’s proverb contrasts two men that are diametrically opposed to one another when it comes to integrity.
Proverbs 21:8 – “The way of man [natural course of a man’s life] is forward [perverse; crooked] and strange [criminal; guilty]: but as for the pure [righteous], his work [deeds] is right [upright; straight].”
Proverbs 21:8a states a universal truth– “The way of man is forward and strange”. Someone has observed, “The best of men are sinners at best.” Man is born a sinner and his natural path and journey follows a crooked course apart from God (Romans 3:10-12). A man’s conscience might be enlightened by principles instilled in him by his parents; however, his natural bent is spiritually wayward. The prophet Jeremiah stated a similar observation:
Jeremiah 10:23 – “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”
The second man in our proverb is identified as “pure, his work is right” (21:8b). He is a redeemed man whose soul tender to the convicting work of God’s Word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He is a changed man (2 Corinthians 5:17) and his heart and affections are for the path that is sincere, pure and righteous.
Psalm 37:23 – “The steps of a good man [a just, upright man] are ordered [directed] by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”
Someone reading today’s devotional desires to be a man/woman of integrity. You sincerely want the Lord to direct your path and be pure and right in His sight. If that is you—it begins now, with an honest, transparent sincerity before God Who searches the heart and knows your every thought (Psalm 139:1-4). As we close today’s challenge, I invite you to take time and sincerely pray:
Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
When it comes to integrity, you either have it or you do not!