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Singing Psalm 26 on walking with integrity

The whole premise for walking with integrity is that God is real, sincere, honest, holy, kind, and does not change. He ought to be more real to you than whatever is going on around you, and you have every reason to believe what he says more than you believe anything else.

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” ~ 1 Peter 1:13-16

Walking with integrity is being holy.

Singing Psalm 26, you humbly walk with your God. Absolutely nothing can separate you from his Spirit of adoption and from his love.

“ And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies…For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:23, 38-39

Who is walking with integrity — and with whom?

The Lord takes you by the hand, starts, and keeps you walking with integrity. You are walking close to Jesus when you are walking with integrity.

Jesus shows us what our humanity is to be.

He displayed the best qualities of men and women in his servant leadership and in his humility.  

In his submission to the Father, Jesus redemptively and graciously accomplished salvation for his people on the cross. Jesus humbly entrusted each of his people to the expanded personal care of the Holy Spirit for their direction, counsel, guidance, and comfort once he returned to the Father.

You find Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Moses and the prophets, and David and others whose stories are recorded in the Bible mostly walking with integrity.

A few examples of those consistently or notably walking with integrity in the Bible are Enoch, Job, Joseph, Elijah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Nathanael.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” ~ Romans 15:4

“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” ~ Luke 24:44-47

Jesus is always walking with integrity. Those from all nations who follow him will be growing with each step they take walking with integrity. 

This is so because of his promise and his covenant oath, both unchangeable. He will never take back his promise to be with you.

When you know you have many holes in your understanding of who you are, what you are to do, where you should go, when, why, and how, you can either become anxious, angry, or you can pause with your eyes on the triune God and — hide yourself in Jesus. 

God sees you as he sees Jesus.

In Christ, you have walked, you will walk, and you are walking with integrity.

Jesus is integrity.

What does walking with integrity mean?

Walking with integrity is walking with Jesus.

Here’s what walking with integrity doesn’t mean:

  • Relying on yourself 

  • Trusting in yourself 

  • Making decisions based on your feelings

  • Denying yourself begrudgingly in pride in an attempt to prove your worth apart from God’s grace

  • Weighing the trials of life heavily and the joys lightly

  • Perceiving the sufferings from God’s hand abundant and the joys from God’s hand scarce

  • Seeing others as: transactional, what benefit you can derive from them, mere repositories for your pleasure or provision, a vehicle to gain money and/or happiness

Definitions of integrity:

  1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness

  2. The state of being whole and undivided

What walking with integrity looks like:

  • Relying on God

  • Trusting in God

  • Testing your feelings alongside the Word of God

  • Depending on God in your decisions and following his way when his counsel differs from your feelings

  • Denying yourself while humbly walking with your God to obey him and be a blessing to others

  • Weighing the joys of life heavily and the trials lightly

  • Perceiving the sufferings from God’s hand scarce and the joys from God’s hand abundant

  • Seeing others as: relational, people that might benefit from what you can provide for them, those you might receive pleasure and provision from, though not primarily (that comes from the triune God as he is pleased to give his means of grace often includes relationships with others) but incidentally as it might serendipitously providentially happen along the way, spontaneously, if at all, but not needed or expected, and definitely not exploitative

People can sound upright as if they are walking with integrity outwardly but inwardly look nothing like Jesus. What’s going wrong inside? They value the commandments of men more than the commandments of God:

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 

    “‘This people honors me with their lips,        but their heart is far from me;    in vain do they worship me,        teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

    You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” ~ Mark 7:6-8, 21-22

Walking with integrity you are not divided. Your allegiance is to the triune God alone.

Your allegiance to God can be perfect even while your feelings are confused and incongruous. You can trust the one who made you fearfully and wonderfully to reset you when you feel out of sorts, out of sync. 

You are whole because, though broken, you are hidden with Jesus who is whole.

Where are you walking with integrity?

“The integrity of the upright guides them,    but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” ~ Proverbs 11:3

You don’t compartmentalize where you are walking with integrity. Wherever you are, you are walking with integrity. 

You are walking with integrity at home, at work, at school, online, and in your thoughts.

You are walking with integrity when you rise, when you eat, when you play, when you sleep. You are walking with integrity when you train your feelings to happily submit to Jesus.

You gather with God’s people, his church, right at home with other broken and vulnerable misfits in this world together awaiting your Savior and pointing one another to him. You are walking with integrity as your feet willingly take you to join the congregation of God’s people to bless the Lord every time they meet as much as you are able.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” ~ Hebrews 10:23-25

“But I have set myself to walk    In my integrity;O deal with me in graciousness,    Redeem, and set me free. 

My foot now stands on level ground,    A place of uprightness;And where the congregation meets,    The LORD I there will bless.” ~ Psalm 26:11-12

You are walking with integrity by planting yourself where you can be fed and grow from the source of God’s Word where it all began.

The triune God makes his home with you.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.“ ~ Ephesians 3:14-19

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” ~ John 14:23

“O Lord, I love Your dwelling place;    Your house is my delight.The place in which Your glory dwells    Is lovely in my sight.” ~ Psalm 26:8

When are you walking with integrity?

You don’t pick and choose when you are walking with integrity according to your feelings or mood. It does not depend upon who you are with. You live your life before an audience of one. You are not living to please yourself or others but the Father. When you do this, you are free from chameleon-like behavior.

By the Holy Spirit within you, you are walking with integrity all the time whether you wait, go, or pause. You’re especially careful in circumstances involving conflict, when what you want conflicts with God’s commandments, where there is the potential for personal loss, in personal loss, or when your control over the situation is in question or is being threatened.

“But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” ~ Hebrews 10:32-35

And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” ~ Job 2:3

Job was walking with integrity and trusted God, who is not logical or illogical but alogical in the sense that he transcends logic, not that he lacks or is opposed to logic. The triune God and his purposes are above and beyond logic and reason, yet he reasons together with his people in his mercy and grace.

In Job’s sorrow and confusion, he kept walking with integrity. Though he understood not, he trusted his Lord had good awaiting him. Though faint in heart, he hopes in his redeemer.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! ~ Job 19:25

Job was walking with Jesus though he didn’t always perceive it. He did not know that Jesus, his redeemer, would take up a body whose skin would be destroyed to accomplish a great salvation including Job’s.

Why are you walking with integrity?

You are walking with integrity to please the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the one God in whose image you were made.

He is true to his word. Not one of his promises failed. Not one of his future-oriented promises will fail. You can count on his faithfulness, steadfast love, and his presence with you always. By this, the Holy Spirit motivates you to aim to be walking with integrity.

“Test heart and mind, I pray.Since I behold Your steadfast love;Your truth has led my way.” ~ Psalm 26:2b-4

He gives you the grace and truth you need to pass the test, and when you behold his steadfast love, his truth guides your way.

You are learning to fear God, which is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. You revere him because he is other, he is holy, he is worthy of your full allegiance. Walking with integrity is hungering and thirsting for righteousness knowing that you will be filled.

When those you are with choose a different way than walking with integrity, your feet are planted on solid ground with the Lord so that you can pull up alongside them as a fellow sinner and image-bearer. You see what you can do that might benefit them without becoming ensnared yourself.

You hate the sin in them the same way you hate the sin in yourself. You hate hypocrisy in them the same way you hate it in yourself. You steer clear of it in them and in yourself. You don’t see yourself as better than them. But you honor the Lord, being careful not to go along with them if they are not walking with integrity.

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33

Some people are not walking with integrity and are not happy with that. Others are not walking with integrity and couldn’t care less. The former are ripe to receive the gospel of Jesus. The latter might be moved to care.

Then there are those that are not walking with integrity and make it their aim to influence others who are walking with integrity to follow their ways and applaud those who turn away from trusting God. Even their false presuppositions are no match for the Holy Spirit of Christ. Just look at zealous Saul whom Jesus renamed ‘Paul.’

“Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” ~ Romans 1:32

It is not easy to humbly stand for the truth. This pleases the triune God that you desire to please him over others while at the same time wanting for others to be walking with integrity and living a life worthy of the redemption that is offered them in Christ.

Because his promises are so incredibly gracious, merciful, and compassionate toward you, this desire is not defensive under duress, but responsively offensive, full of adoration and honor toward one who would be so kind when kindness is so undeserved and unmerited.

Singing Psalm 26 you celebrate your identity and security in Christ. Why walk with integrity? Because he traded places with you. 

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” ~ Galatians 3:13-14

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” ~  2 Corinthians 5:21

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” ~ Colossians 3:3 

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” ~ Romans 6:8

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~ Galatians 2:20

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” ~ Galatians 6:14

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

His rewards are clear and generational.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity — blessed are his children after him!” ~ Proverbs 20:7

“For the Lord gives wisdom;    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;    he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,guarding the paths of justice    and watching over the way of his saints.” ~ Proverbs 2:6-8

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” ~ Proverbs 10:9

How are you walking with integrity? 

How does singing Psalm 26 about walking with integrity help you connect with God emotionally?

The triune God connects your thoughts, will, conscience, emotions, speech, identity, and how your body walks, with who he is. His Holy Spirit quickens your spirit so you are pleasing the Father, walking with Jesus, walking with integrity. He takes your fragments and makes you whole — spirit, soul, and body in union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

“Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands, and knows me, that I am the LORD, who practices, steadfast, love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’“ ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24

You are looking not for a transactional relationship with God, to honor him with your lips only, but for a personal, relational, affectionate, adoring relationship with God, walking with integrity from a heart of deep gratitude.

You are walking with integrity by asking the triune God to make you more like Jesus whose integrity you rely on as you take each step. You are following your great shepherd listening for his voice at all times.

Your teaching and speech come from listening to and conversing with the triune God in whose image you were made. You are inseparable from the Father of lights, the Son who is the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit who breathes that Word of life into his people.

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” ~ Titus 2:6-8

Does Jesus command you to deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow him because he wants you to be unhappy? Or does he know something you don’t know until you try it, until you first abide in his Word?

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” ~ John 8:31-32

This is where you get to trust him since it’s counterintuitive to lose your life for his sake trusting Christ to save it.

“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.’” ~ Luke 9:23-26

Jesus said this after Peter contradicted him, saying that this would never happen to him. Satan is all about wanting us to think for our own benefit, to save ourselves. Jesus would have none of it.

Instead, Jesus went ahead of you to make the way for you to get to the Father in himself as he sought to please the Father and not himself. He frees you to go against your sin nature and put that to death. He saves you to bear fruit that will last forever.

To be the best man or woman you can be in this wearying and burdensome world, Jesus said it is easy if you come to him. Follow him seeking to please the Father, not yourself, for he has overcome the world.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” ~ Galatians 5:16

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” ~ Philippians 3:12-16

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” ~ John 14:26

You will be proved right for putting your hope in Jesus who removes from you all sin, evil, guilt, and shame. Denying yourself to walk with Christ, you find God, you willingly and happily place yourself under his authority, and you find who he made you to be, your truest self.

You delight in the fullness of his lovingkindness, his steadfast love.

You adore your God, the triune God.

You are walking with integrity. 

“Vindicate me, O LORD,        for I have walked in my integrity,        and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.” ~ Psalm 26:1

February 14-24, 2023

 


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