There once was a time when personal integrity was something people were proud of and strove to practice. There once was a time when a person's reputation was protected and kept spotless, for it provided food on the table and cherished friendships. There once was a time when people took pride in perfect attendance, strove to be the best in what they did and shared the excitement when a companion achieved greatness.
We live in a dog eat dog society where people think only of themselves and will do whatever it takes to win, become rich or reach pinnacles of power and influence. We also live in a culture that breeds laziness, slothfulness, apathy as well as something for nothing and entitlement mentalities. Of course there are still plenty of people who are diligent, honest and take pride in a job well done; but their numbers are dwindling daily and replaced with indifference and even disgust in things like integrity.
Every day the world in which we live grows more perilous, ruthless, dangerous, frustrating and worthless. Every day more and more people throw in the towel, swallow their pride and become wards of the state or compromise every principle they stood for in order to survive. Compromise is the enemy of integrity. When integrity is compromised, through necessity or desire, a person loses the ability to look in mirror and not be repulsed by what they see.
It takes unbelievable guts to stand one's ground when everyone else folds under the pressure of need or greed. It takes incredible strength of character to refuse the advances of those who promise the moon but deliver only coal. It takes an unbending resolve to not yield to the temptation to compromise one's personal integrity.
It is tough for a Christian to witness both believer and unbeliever alike reaping the materialistic harvest that comes when principles are compromised and personal integrity is breeched. It is maddening to see hypocrites receive glory, praise and honor. It is aggravating to endure the outward pomp and circumstance of people who inwardly are either empty or deceived.
The Apostle Paul had to confront the leaders in the First Century Church concerning many of these things in the epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy. It is mind boggling to read about the level of deception, compromise and wickedness that ran rampant among the leaders of the church. 1 Timothy 6 is truly a wake-up call for anyone aspiring to leadership within the church.
Obviously there was a quick erosion of both the doctrine as well as the practical application of the Word of God in the First Century. As one faithful servant after another either passed away or returned to the ways of the world., the church suffered more and more. Paul issued the call over and over again for a few good men and women to rise up and watch over the flock.
There can be no room for fear, unbridled lust, greed or arrogance within the Body of Christ and specifically among those who lead God's people. Unless a leader is willing to be a servant, they are a fraud. Unless a leader is willing to forsake all to follow Christ, they will end up following their own desires or the empty promises of the world.
It takes great personal conviction, inner strength and commitment to remain faithful over a lifetime. I pray that we all renew within our hearts the decision we made long ago to wholly devote our lives to Christ no matter what sacrifice it involves or what demands are placed upon us.
Thank you and Blessings 2 You!