Integrity for the Race

by | Jan 11, 2012 | Spirit-Led Living

running-race

God wants to develop His character in us so we can persevere for the long haul. Yet how he does it is often anything but easy.

We are not born with integrity. Integrity is something that is developed in our lives through the choices we make every day.

Integrity
is an internal standard and conviction. It is having a sensitive
conscience before God. The more sensitive your conscience is, the more
in tune with the Holy Spirit you will be. As you follow your conscience,
you will develop integrity in your life. True character and integrity
are revealed in the choices you make when no one else is around.

Integrity
is very similar to the process a horse goes through to harness its
tremendous strength and power. Integrity involves a process of
brokenness. But when we yield to this process, God’s power within us is
able to reach its fullest and highest potential.

Just
as it is vital that a rider builds a bond of trust between him and his
horse to make the horse easier to train, so our trust for God enables
Him to train us by His Spirit in the most productive and life-giving
way. When we submit to God’s dealings in our lives, He gently breaks the
areas of our stubborn wills that need to come under submission, and He
empowers us to reach our maximum potential. As areas of self are broken,
God’s power within us becomes harnessed to produce the greatest results
through our lives.

The
key is having a heart that can endure the test of extreme pressure and
time. Many people are born with God-given strengths and abilities. They
are graced and gifted by God with certain capabilities. They start out
strong; they are sprinters who appear to be the ones who will finish
first.

But when the test
of time sets in and the pressure builds up from a long-distance race,
their hearts burst. Their triumph ends in tragedy, taking many other
people out in the process. The well-known healing evangelist Kathryn
Kuhlman observed this and noted, “Whether life grinds a man down or
polishes him depends on what he’s made of.”

Power for the Long Haul
God
doesn’t want us just to start strong. He doesn’t just want us to be
champions at short races. He wants to create in us the ability to run
fast and hard for the long haul. He wants to undergird His power in our
lives so that it will carry us all the way through to the end. Integrity
is what will keep your heart strong and enduring. Integrity is what
will ultimately qualify you to be a thoroughbred champion. It’s what
will empower you to run your race and win.

We
have been created to be vessels of God’s power. Developing a life of
integrity is crucial to harnessing, maintaining and increasing God’s
power in our lives. When we only focus on the gifts God gives us and
neglect the process of cultivating a life of integrity, we can become
disqualified in the process. Integrity will be our keeping grace!
Integrity will enable us to carry God’s power for the long haul in our
lives. Integrity is produced through brokenness.

Smith
Wigglesworth, a man powerfully used by God in the healing ministry,
testified, “Before God could bring me to this place, He has broken me a
thousand times.”

Brokenness Brings Victory
Let’s
look at how power is released through brokenness in a strategy the Lord
gave to Gideon in Judges 7:16-22. In this portion of Scripture, Gideon
divided 300 men into three companies. He put into their hands trumpets
and empty pitchers with torches of fire inside them.·

When
they got to the edge of the enemy’s camp, they blew the trumpets and
shouted, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” (v. 18). When they blew
the trumpets they also broke the pitchers in their hands, releasing the
fire that was hidden inside.

In
their left hand they held the fire; in their right hand they held the
trumpets. When the sound of the Lord was released through their shout,
the Midianite army turned on itself and fled before Gideon and his men!
The battle and victory were won.

It’s
interesting that both hands were occupied with a torch and trumpet.
Neither hand was free to hold a sword. Why? Because the sword was in
God’s hand.·

The
principle here is simple. When the vessel is broken, the fire is
released. Combined with the sound of the trumpet, the enemy is sent into
confusion and defeated. When we are broken and release a sound of
praise to God, our enemy is defeated. God’s power is released on our
behalf through this divine strategy.

True
brokenness releases the power of God in our lives. It enables God to
fight our battles for us, so the enemy is completely defeated. True
heart integrity comes as a result of godly brokenness.

Leading With Integrity
Two
men in the Bible clearly demonstrate the power of brokenness and
integrity. Saul and David were both imperfect. Both made mistakes. Both
sinned. One had his power taken from him. The other was able to maintain
it in his life. One had integrity. The other did not. What was the
difference?

Saul made a
lot of mistakes as king. He fell into insecurity, jealousy, anger,
hatred, pride, rebellion, fear of man and witchcraft. He was an
imperfect vessel. Yet when he was first called by God, he was humble and
lowly in his own eyes. But pride soon took over his heart.

When
the prophet Samuel confronted his sin, Saul freely admitted it (1 Sam.
15:30). But in his next breath he asks to be honored before the people.
Saul was not truly broken or repentant before God. He had a worldly
sorrow. He was sorry that he got caught. He was sorry for the
consequences he now had to face.

But
he still cared more about his own reputation than he did about hurting
God’s heart. His heart was not pure. It was not truly broken or
repentant. He was still seeking honor before men.

A
fellow minister whose ministry has substantially grown and who now
reaches the masses told me about how his first pastor publicly shared
from the pulpit that he was sorry for how he had been in the past. He
wanted people to know that he had changed and was not the same person
any more. Under his years of ministry there was a wake of wounded and
hurt people left on the sidelines, including my friend.

For
years his pastor had used control, fear and anger to manipulate the
people he was called to serve. After losing a lot of people from his
church he came to a place of brokenness. He wanted people publicly to
know he had changed.

Then
my friend received a private email from the pastor. In the letter he
wanted to know why he hadn’t received more public recognition and honor
from my friend. This email came at the same time he was publicly sharing
his supposed brokenness from the pulpit.

Like
Saul, this leader had a type of brokenness but still wanted public
honor and recognition. It was not godly brokenness. We must be careful
we don’t deceive ourselves about the sorrow we feel.

Let’s
look at David’s brokenness. Like Saul, he made some bad mistakes when
he was king. He committed murder and adultery. Yet God called David a
man after His own heart. How can this be? How can a man who commits such
horrible things be after God’s heart? When David was confronted for his
sin, we see his response in Psalm 51.

David
was not concerned about his reputation. He was concerned about grieving
God’s heart and losing God’s presence in his life. His relationship
with God was the most important thing to him. It was because of his
godly brokenness that he did not lose the kingdom; nor did he lose God’s
power in his life.

He
sinned, but he received forgiveness through godly repentance. Even
though he still faced consequences for his bad choices and actions, he
didn’t lose his relationship with God or his authority and power. Godly
brokenness brought restoration in his life.·

The
integrity produced in David’s heart through his testings—including both
the ones he passed and failed—caused God’s power to be harnessed,
maintained and sustained in his life, maintaining his kingship.

David’s
response meant everything to God. Even though he failed at times, he
won in the end because he really had a heart after God. He allowed God
to work integrity into his life.

Cultivating
a repentant heart is the essential key to living a life of integrity. A
broken and contrite heart will fully turn to God in weakness and
receive God’s strength to change.·

Integrity is an internal conviction that no one else can give you. It has to come from within your own heart.·

My
own personal goal in life is to be as transparent as possible so that
the person I am in front of people is the same person I am in private. I
can keep no secrets. My life is an open book.·

If
I ever feel I have grieved God’s heart in some way, I have to get
before God and pray until I feel my heart is clean. This constant sense
of repentance and brokenness before God keeps me in His presence. It’s
how I cultivate His presence and power in my life.·

As
we cultivate a life of integrity through godly repentance and
brokenness, we will harness God’s power in our lives for the long haul,
enabling us to finish our race strong all the way to the finish line.

Matt Sorger is
a prophetic minister who takes a practical approach to successful
Christia living. He travels nationally and internationally to minister
the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. His latest book is
Power for Life (Charisma House), from which this article is taken. Visit him online at mattsorger.com.

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