Friday, July 29, 2011

Earning Trust (Part 1)

Who can stand under the purification process of God?

Who can remain unchanged through the fire of God?

Isaiah asked these questions and then answered them with a list of TRAITS for the kind of people who can STAND in a crisis.

Isaiah 33:14-16 The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling seizes the godless ones. [They cry] Who among us can dwell with that devouring fire? Who among us can dwell with those everlasting burnings? 15He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises gain from fraud and from oppression, who shakes his hand free from the taking of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes to avoid looking upon evil. 16[Such a man] will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; water for him will be sure. (amplified)

INTEGRITY - the Leader's LIFE and WORDS must match.
  • "He that walketh righteously and speakth uprightly."

What is integrity?
  • Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
  • Moral soundness.
  • Honestly.
  • Freedom from corrupting influence or motive.
  • Uprightness.
  • Rectitude.
  • The quality or condition of being whole or undivided.
  • Completeness.

A sitcom included an interesting statement "I learned about integrity from my father.  He had five wives but never missed an alimony payment."

When integrity is present in a leader - it's great. 
If it's missing it's terrible.

Five Steps to Strengthening your Leadership Integrity

1. Determine to never do anything privately that wouldn't pass public scrutiny.
  • Movies, TV programs, computer, etc.
  • It's amazing what people will do when they are 100 miles from home.  Always remember, even if people can't see...God can see.
  • Watch your "P's" & "Q's" - keep your testimony in tact.
2. Determine to never do anything the Scriptures frown upon.
  • Copy the lifestyle of many Bible heroes.
  • Even though the Scriptures may be silent on a certain subject, the Holy Spirit will direct you in your "knower" (innermost being) on what is acceptable. 
  • You cannot teach the "10 Commandments" to others if you yourself are not keeping them.
3. Determine to never do anything that will bring shame to the Kingdom.
  • We are children of God and citizens of the Kingdom.
  • We have reputations to uphold.
  • Even the world knows what a believer is supposed to look and act like.
  • At the end of the day, if your behavior causes others to stumble, both believer and non-believer, you'll not only shoot yourself in the foot with an impossibility to lead but you'll end up causing the work of God to lose credibility in the eyes of present day skeptics.
4. Determine to never do anything that will rob you of your self-worth.
  • God made you.
  • You are His creation.
  • If we make choices that cloud our Godly reflection we will lose our self-worth.
  • We are the watchman.
5. Determine to never do anything that will make you vulnerable to Satan.
  • Don't be a casualty in ministry.
  • Watch for landmines.
  • Steer clear of areas you may have struggled with before coming to Christ. (i.e., alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, partying, immoral relations, etc.)
  • Even if you feel "confident" that you're "past the ability to be tempted" - the Bible teaches us to not put any confidence in the flesh.
  • We aren't helping our situation if we put our flesh in a "familiar" area of previous struggle.

Integrity is a MAKE or BREAK characteristic.  Once it's's extremely difficult to earn trust again.  It is possible to earn it again in the process of TIME...because time is the GREAT LEVELER.  However,  to do so, one must remain humble, teachable and willing to accept full responsibility of their actions.   The process of restoration (Galatians 6:1) can be a beautiful example of GRACE and a pattern from which to follow in the future.