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Integrity is one of the least talked about issues in the body of Christ, primarily because most people have adopted an "I-already-know-that-stuff" attitude.

Ironically, these are the same people who lack integrity!

How many believers do you know who are dishonest, lie, steal, cheat and treat you worse than sinners do when you get on their "bad" side? Their lifestyles outside the church walls don't match the facade they put on during service.

I don't mean to sound self-righteousness or have a "holier-than-thou" attitude, but let's face it. You cannot deny the fact that many congregations have become tolerant of sin.

It is no surprise that there are probably just as many church members who cheat on their taxes, use profanity, fornicate or have adulterous affairs as there are non-churchgoers. Lying, gossiping, gluttony, and backbiting are just a few of the other sins of which many believers are guilty.

It's sad to say that many Christians have become so desensitized to what is right and wrong that they attempt to justify actions they know aren't godly. More often than not, these kinds of "saints" are the ones who quickly find faults in others. They love to dig up everyone else's "dirt," but they aren't living clean themselves.

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the Bible call that hypocrisy?

Gateway To Godliness
Integrity has to do with purity. If a man or woman claims to be a follower of Christ, then he or she must make a commitment to live a pure life. There are no gray areas when it comes to Christianity. Either you live by the rules of Christian conduct as outlined in the Bible, or you deal with the consequences of sin.

You can't compromise and half-do what the Word of God says. Christians are not called to live "half-way" lives. Suppose God chose to half-way bless, half-way heal, or half-way save us from eternal life in hell. That is certainly something to consider!

Hear my heart; I am not trying to be critical. I pray that all believers own up to their own actions. However, instead of admitting that they have "messed up," some blame God when they experience all kinds of "hell" in their lives.

You must live right in order for you to live right.

In other words, you must live as a righteous person in order for positive changes to occur in your life. God can and wants to do great things in the lives of His people, especially those who make a quality decision to live pure. He has made available to you His supernatural power to affect change in every area of your life; however, it's going to take purity to make the power connection. I believe that everyone is capable of living pure. Let me explain.

The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy, his spiritual son in the ministry, to "...keep thyself pure" (1 Tim. 5:22). Read 1 Timothy 4:12 to further understand Paul's instructions: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

In my Bible, the heading above 1 Timothy 4 reads, "Instructions for Godly Living." This tells me that Paul's counsel concerning purity was designed to help his spiritual son develop godliness, or God-likeness. In essence, Paul told Timothy that purity is a gateway to godliness.

With this in mind, think back to what Paul said in 1 Timothy 5:22, "...keep thyself pure." The implication is that it was Timothy's responsibility to pursue godliness by living pure. Neither Paul nor God could make him do so.

That is why Paul went on to inform him that a man must "purge himself" of anything that would make him dishonorable and of no use to God (2 Tim. 2:19-21). Therefore, it stands to reason that as Christians, living completely pure is not an impossible feat.

Time To Let Others Know
If you expect to become "fit for God's use," then it's going to require that you purge, or separate, yourself from any and every ungodly contaminant—be it a person or thing.

This may mean cutting out certain activities or cutting off certain relationships that you know aren't helping you to become a better person.

For example, tell your gossiping friends or relatives that you are a Christian who is serious about living Christ-like. Let your coworkers know that you are genuinely saved and don't have time to listen to their sexual exploits at break time.

Most of them are probably over-exaggerating anyway just to prove their prowess.

Regardless of who it is, if a person brings the worst out of you, then you need to make changes in your friendship. You don't need to associate with people who think it's okay to use profanity or "bend the rules" every now and then. That's situational ethics—times when you are willing to compromise godly standards if and when the situation calls for it. Forget that!

As a Christian, you have no business allowing your ethics to be based on situations. Situations have a tendency to change frequently. Neither should you compromise certain issues that the Bible clearly defines as ungodly.

Homosexuality (not the homosexual) is still an ungodly lifestyle. Premarital sex is still not God's will for mankind. Lying, jealousy, pride and strife among believers are still not okay in His eyes.

You may not be a murderer or thief, a rapist or drug addict; however, in God's eyes, living a pure life must be exemplified in every area.

Therefore, examine your life for areas where you may have compromised certain biblical principles. Regardless of how small they might be, purge yourself of anything that could hinder you from living pure before God. When you do, you will realize that even though humans aren't perfect, we certainly have the capability of living pure lives before God!

First published in the May 2003 issue of
Changing Your World Magazine
Creflo Dollar Ministries All rights reserved.

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