Read that again.
I can’t say it’s a word I’ve pondered before, but wow— what magnitude.
This Sunday, Pastor Sten helped us consider the real role of integrity in our lives, and most of all, its role
when it is inconvenient and it will certainly cost us in some way. He helped us understand that there is
an important difference between intention and integrity. Perhaps we almost always “mean well,” but
are we truly convicted and ready to sacrifice if we have to? Are we incorruptible in our faith?
This past weekend at Midcurrent, we heard more about the story of Daniel and his friends, as they
continued to face the conceited control of King Nebuchadnezzar. Quick recap: In the event where the
King erected his own 90ft golden statue and demanded everyone bow to it when the trumpets played or
be burned in the fire, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were convicted that they will not worship any
other figure but their God. When they refused to bow to the King, he indeed ordered his soldiers to
throw them all into the burning furnace. Upon doing so, the King acknowledged a 4 th man had joined
them and all were untouched by the flames.
There was another in the fire. You know who it was.
The catch is, we can’t always be sure our convictions will result in a miracle such as this. Shadrach,
Meshach and Abed-Nego weren’t certain either, but they trusted God so deeply, that if these flames
were their destined conclusion, they were at peace that it would be in His glory and by His guidance.
They knew that God could save them if He so chose to, but that even if He didn’t, their faith in His plan
remained steadfast. These men displayed integrity in their beliefs, no matter the obstacle. They had
resolved their loyalty long before they were tested. In this, we can see that difference between
intention and integrity is the readiness to sacrifice for our resolutions.
We know it’s pretty easy to justify our behaviors – we’re experts at it. When the risk is low, or no one
would ever know, or we had to defend ourselves to avoid pain, our peers don’t often fault us for making
choices to dip out or shy away from the hard stuff. In fact, our peers tend to enjoy the company, so we
can all feel justified in poor choices together! Strength in numbers!
But again, there’s a catch: no one but you can hold yourself accountable to acting with integrity and
unfortunately, we probably won’t have these raving fans cheering us on when we’re quietly reflecting
on our own lives in the end. Our relationship to God is our own to honor and maintain.
Ok, what kind of sacrifice are we talking?
Does it matter? (No.)
Integrity is not circumstantial.
Be it embarrassment, financial loss, isolation or giving up control, no consequence is worthy of
trading for your heart. We know what Jesus would do. We have been shown the way and now
we must live bravely in his confidence.
So, what do we do when we’re afraid?
Rejoice in His companionship through the hard times.
Seek our faith community that will support us in the image of Jesus, and remain humble to the
challenges God knows and intended to place on our path.
Thankfully, there are also musical artists that have helped us find the words:
“Another In The Fire” by Hillsong United is a great resource to help us wrestle this topic:
There’s a grace when the heart is under fire…
…And should I ever need reminding how good you’ve been to me, I’ll count the joy
come every battle, ‘cuz I know that’s where you’ll be.”
Have you made a promise you’ve been pressured to break?
Have you witnessed corruption and later wished you would’ve done something about it?
Are you prepared to make sacrifices for your beliefs when truly challenged?
Dear God, please help us to recognize what we’re here to learn and when we must contest the
circumstances. Show us how to stand firmly in your name. Amen.