Everyone – both believers and non-believers – wants to see positive change in their life. There’s a multi-billion dollar “self-help” industry that caters to this universal longing. So why is it that genuine and lasting change so rarely occurs?
Here’s why. Imagine an iceberg. The iceberg represents all that we want to change in our lives. All to often, we only deal with the tip of the iceberg – the part of us that is visible to others. When we try to project a false image or cover up what we don’t like about ourselves, we neglect what is beneath the waterline – the most significant part of who we are.
In order to experience lasting change, we must learn how to live authentically. Authentic living means that our words and our actions tell the same story on a consistent basis. When you’re committed to living authentically, you’re able to recognize and own the mistakes and failures that take you off track and get down to the real work of correcting them where it matters most: below the waterline.
Here are three reasons why you can’t afford to live a life apart from integrity:
- Relationships — with God, ourselves and others — are impossible without integrity. The psalmist wrote: “LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart.” (Psalm 15:1) Being a person of integrity begins with getting real … with ourselves and with God. Having a sober self-assessment is essential to being honest with others. Without it, you will spend a lot of time trying to justify your actions to God and lying to yourself.
- Peace is impossible without integrity. Col. 3:15 states: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart…” The “peace” described in this passage refers to the Spirit of God confirming that everything is OK. When we avoid important issues in our life we often seek peace through things like eating, drinking or even a busy lifestyle. In doing so, we numb the Spirit’s work in our heart.
- Impact is impossible without integrity. God put you here for a purpose, and that purpose may have a profound impact on someone else’s life. That person may be your neighbor, friend, or co-worker. Whoever it is, if your words say one thing and your lifestyle says another, they will only see hypocrisy. In this sense, living without integrity diminishes all of the ways that God wants to uniquely use you to help others.
Remember, having integrity doesn’t mean being perfect, but it does means being real. It’s admitting, “I don’t have it together but I am in progress and I’m accepted by Christ.” If your words and actions don’t tell the same story, I encourage you, right now, to ask the Lord for forgiveness and seek His grace and power to live a life of authenticity. He longs to help you do this because He loves you.
This week, we’ll begin the series, “Authentic.” In it, we examine what it really means to be a Christian. We’ll learn how to live a lifestyle of faith, develop a dynamic, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, and how to portray Christ’s love and character in everyday activities. We’ll also learn how to find out if we’re growing spiritually. It’s my prayer that you’ll learn to live in ways that reflect what a genuine relationship with the living God is really like.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge`
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip