How do we become people of biblical integrity? How do we train our children to do the same? We can raise our kids to have honor and high morals, be reliable workers and kind friends? It starts with a commitment to living a life of integrity in everyday situations. Download this month’s study at MomStrong International and join us!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Acts 18:27-28
Resources Mentioned In Podcast
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey everybody. This is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast. I am so glad that you’ve joined me. Today is Wednesday, August the 7th. This is episode number 802. We’re going to be talking a little bit about the issue of integrity and why it is so important that we have it as God’s people.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
So can you guys believe it is already the 7th of August? I can’t believe it. There’s so much going on right now and the culture is so much happening in the news. Summer’s almost over. We’re getting ready to go back to school. Moment of silence.
Maybe not. I won’t start until after Labor Day around here, but I just want to encourage you as we look to a study for the month of August at MomStrong International. We’re going to be talking about integrity and why, as God’s people, we really need to have it if we’re going to be effective stewards of the gospel.
A couple of things coming up: I wanted to let you guys know I will be in Kansas City at Abundant Life Church for my women’s event Faith that Speaks, this year’s theme is Miracle Worker: The Life Changing Power of Following Jesus. And if you haven’t checked it out yet, if you’re unfamiliar with my women’s conference, can I just encourage you? Ff you’re anywhere near Kansas City, Missouri, come on out. It is a day that will literally change your life. Bring your Bible, bring your friends, come planning to be encouraged. I also want to let you know that we are almost ready to start announcing the winners of the giveaway that we are doing to celebrate our 800th episode of the podcast. So if you guys listened on Monday, you heard my husband and I talking a little bit about how the show started and sort of where it’s going—it’s kind of our way of saying thank you. And so if you haven’t entered the giveaway, I want to just encourage you to do that. There’s three ways you can do it. We’re giving away three gift bundles and you can enter to win each one of them. You can enter on Instagram @HeidiStJohn, and all you really need to do is tag me and then talk about the podcast. You’ve got until Friday, just two more days. So get tagging and I’m going to announce that winner in particular on Instagram.
The next way to enter is by going to iTunes. Go ahead and search for the Heidi St. John podcast and leave a review. If you’ve already done that, just take a screenshot and then share it on Instagram. And finally, MomStrong International: If you’re not a member over there, I want to just encourage you to come on over because not only have we reached a milestone with the podcast, we’ve topped 13,000 members at MomStrong International. So to enter for the third giveaway, just follow these steps: Go to MomStrongInternational.com and either create your free account or log in, click on the chat room, then type your reply to the question marked 800 giveaway. It’s that simple. So remember submissions are open through Friday, August 9th and then we will start announcing the winners. If you want to find out what’s in those bundles, go to Heidi St. john.com/podcast and then click on the show notes and you guys can see what we’re giving away. I think we’re going to be really stoked, so we’re happy about that.
All right. Right now we are starting our first week of study for MomStrong International. I want to let you guys know how this works in case you’re not familiar. The way that these work is that we study a new topic and we start on the first Monday of every month. So this year, the 1st of August fell on a Thursday. So our study began on August 5th, and so every Wednesday I try to go over a little bit of what we’re talking about.
And listen you guys, you’ve heard me have guests on the show over and over and over again that keep pointing you back to walking with the Lord — so I want to just encourage you, if you haven’t become a member at MomStrong International it’s very easy to do and then you can download this study and you’re going to find that this is not milk-toast study. We are going to really encourage you and teach you how to study God’s Word for yourself. And so check it out at MomStrong International.com, it’s a great time for you to plan a fall study group. You guys could start now or you could start in September. You can apply to be a leader with MomStrong International. And really what our heart is, is to see you become equipped so that you can know the Word of God and defend it. Ken Ham said last Friday with me that one of the largest issues that we’re facing in the church today is a biblically illiterate church. A church who doesn’t know God’s Word and can’t defend it. We don’t know apologetics. And so that’s part of what we’re doing at MomStrong International. So check it out. Invite a friend.
This month at MomStrong International we’re studying the issue of integrity. And oh my goodness, if ever there was a time for us to have integrity in the church— now is the time. So before we get going into that, would you guys take a moment? Let’s come before the Lord in prayer.
Father, I thank You for Your Word. I thank You Lord, that You’ve said that Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. And Lord, we are living in a dark world and the path seems really dark right now and we need Your light. And so Lord, as we talk a little bit about integrity, what it means, and why You want us to be men and women of integrity— I pray, Lord, that You’d speak through me. I pray, Lord, that I would be an instrument that would be used by You to encourage people to walk in right relationship with You. Lord, I pray that you would encourage me. I know Lord, that sometimes I can get discouraged and sometimes it’s tempting for me not to be in Your Word myself, Lord, and to think I can do it on my own. And so Lord, I pray that You would help me even right now, as I teach this study. Lord, I pray that You would be speaking to me too. We don’t need to hear from the world anymore. Father, we want to hear from you. We love you Lord Jesus. I pray that our lives would be examples of what it means to follow Jesus. And it’s in Your name I pray. Amen.
All right you guys. So what comes to your mind when you hear the word integrity? I can think of things immediately that don’t come to my mind. I think it says a lot about my personality. I think immediately. I just think integrity. We could sure use a bunch of that in the church right now, right? The church has been rocked with scandal lately, not the least of which has been Josh Harris, a heartbreaking situation. I have a lot of thoughts on that of which I’m not going to go into right now. But I think one of the things that we’re learning, and you’d think we’d have learned this before, but clearly we haven’t— is that we shouldn’t put our trust in people.
We should put our trust in the Lord. The Bible says that God does not change. There is no shifting shadow, the Lord does not change. The Bible says that the grass will wither and the flower will fade, but God’s Word will stand forever. And as men and women, we need to believe that what God said in His Word is absolutely true. And we need to be men and women of integrity. So rather than putting our trust in men, we put our trust in God— then we live out what we know to be true in His Word. Does that mean life’s gonna be easy? No. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that I think life’s going to be pretty hard. But you know what? God gives us the strength to be men and women of integrity through the ups and downs.
We need it. Integrity in machinery is strength, reliability, and consistency. So we count on the integrity of a ship when we leave and go out into deep water, right? We count on the integrity of our car engines when we buckle our children in and drive across town. And so this month we’re going to continue our study in the fruit of the Spirit and we’re going to talk about how the Spirit is manifested in our attitudes. Love, kindness, and goodness— these impact the development of integrity in our lives.
Warren Wiersbe teaches: “Integrity means that your life is whole, that your heart is not divided. Jesus said, ‘No one can serve two masters’ (Matthew 6:24). That’s integrity. Duplicity means trying to serve two masters. Our Lord also said that nobody can look in two directions at the same time. If your eye is single, then your body is full of light. But if your eye is double, watch out. The darkness is coming in (Matthew 6:22-23). If you look at the darkness and the light simultaneously, the darkness crowds out the light.”
So how do we become people of integrity? How do we train our kids to become men and women of integrity? Often I hear from women who are discouraged and even frustrated trying to teach their children to be men and women of character in the culture right now, but as I’m always telling you guys—we can’t give our kids what we don’t have. If we want our children to be people of integrity, it starts with us. We can raise our kids to have honor and high morals. We can raise them to be reliable workers and kind friends. But Oswald Chambers identified something very important when he said: “Jesus Christ is not teaching ordinary integrity, but supernormal integrity, a likeness to our Father in heaven.
Kent Hughes shared some weighty information when he said “…for the Christian, the most chilling fact is this: there is little statistical difference between the ethical practices of the religious and the nonreligious. Doug Sherman and William Hendricks, in their book Keeping Your Ethical Edge Sharp, note Gallup’s statistics that 43 percent of non-church attenders admit to pilfering work supplies, compared to 37 percent of attenders. Seventeen percent of the unchurched use the company phone for long-distance personal calls, but 13 percent of those who attend worship do likewise. But is this true of real Christians? we may ask. Sherman and Hendricks answer yes. The general ethical conduct of Christians varies only slightly from non-Christians, with grand exceptions, of course. Sadly, Christians are almost as likely as non-Christians to: falsify their income tax returns, to commit plagiarism, to bribe, to obtain a building permit saying “that’s the way the business is done”, to ignore construction specs, or illegally copy a computer program. We steal time, commit phone theft, exaggerate about a product, and tell people what they want to hear.”
How do we reconcile these statistics with Jesus’ calling to be a city on a hill whose lampstand does not go out? Jesus declared, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). No one lights a lamp and then covers it—why would we receive the goodness of Christ and then cover it by allowing a lack of integrity to permeate our lives?
So this month you guys, we’re going to study integrity for the whole month. This is a great month for you guys to bring your teens into the study with you, and let’s allow the Holy Spirit to teach us about His fruit of kindness, love, and goodness, so that our integrity will shine through our lives and we will glorify Jesus! That’s really what it’s all about. We want to bring glory to God in everything that we do. You’ll notice as you download this study, we’re going to give you lots of opportunity to give feedback to write in the study this time, and we’re going to be just doing a little bit of self-examination. I wonder what would happen if we were more concerned with what we were doing in the privacy of our own homes, than we were about what other people were doing in the privacy of their own homes. I think our lives might look a little bit different, and in the Psalms we read two different versions that help us gain a good understanding of what it means to live a life of integrity.
So if we live a life of integrity, that means that we demonstrate integrity in the everyday. So listen to this from Psalm 15 “O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? 2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. 3 He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; he swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 he does not put out his money at interest, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.” Psalm 15 NASB
So first you see it in the NASB and now you’re going to hear it in the NLT.
“Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. 3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. 4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts. 5 Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.” Psalm 15 NLT
So when we abide in Christ, then the Bible tells us exactly what it’s supposed to look like. So I’m going to have you looking in Acts 8 with me this week. We’re going to be talking about what it means to have integrity at work at integrity and integrity in our ministry. And we’re going to be talking about what it means to have integrity with our friends and even with our children. Because guess what—your kids can tell when you’re not people have integrity. And as we parent, we need to do so with integrity in mind. But how do we train that into our kids? Pastor Adrian Rogers wrote “A child delights in what he has. A youth delights in what he does. An adult delights in what he is. The more mature you are, the more you will desire to be something—not just to have something or to do something, but to be something. What do you desire to be today? Someone who is known for the way they dress? The deals they close? The house they live in? Or do you want others to know that you have a pure heart—a heart that is utterly devoted and surrendered to God. Matthew 5:8 says, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.’”
So you guys, parents, we’ve got to learn to proactively train our children to move through the stages until they are grown and responding as adults who are pure in heart. So I’m going to ask you a question—Are your kids age-appropriately in one of these phases? If someone is lagging behind, pray for wisdom in how to help them move forward in maturing. We want to encourage our children. I’m going to send you back to Psalm 26 so that you can write down the four actions, or verbs, that David asks of the Lord. David’s going to show us how to become men and women of integrity and how to teach our children to do the same because it’s not enough for us to know it— we want to be able to pass it onto our children. You guys, integrity means a visible consistency in our hearts and our lives.
The consistency that we’re talking about is exactly what Ken Ham and I were talking about last Friday— it’s grounded in the Word of God. When we know the Word of God, then we will also know what it means to live a life of integrity. Integrity is something that’s universally valued, but if our hearts aren’t rooted in God’s Word, if it’s not grounded in the gospel— then we’ve got nothing to anchor that integrity to. This is because true integrity comes from the heart of God. It comes from the one who made us. And since we’ve been made in His image, we reflect His integrity in our lives when we walk with Him. When we walk with Him, we glorify God and we lift up His reputation and His faithfulness.
I opened up the podcast today by saying how thankful I was that the Word of God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And as we talk a little bit about integrity this month, I’ve just been really burdened to pray for integrity among the leaders that I know. I’ve been thinking a lot about Josh Harris, what’s been going on on the news, and my heart is just breaking because the Harris family is from my neck of the woods. We love these guys and we know that they’re hurting right now. And I got to thinking— what is happening in the church that has made us so vulnerable? Two are falling away. What has made us gain a reputation of not being the men and women that we claim to be? And honestly you guys, when when things are hard, when the mortgage payments are coming in, when your kids are driving you crazy, when you’re dealing with things that you thought you would never have to deal with— it will show what was actually in your heart. When we decide to follow Jesus, it’s not enough to just say— we’re going to follow Jesus. We have to grow in the Lord, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m encouraging you so much to follow along with me at MomStrong International.
We are putting an awful lot of time and resources into writing these studies for you, not for fun. We’re doing it to help you grow. We’re doing it so that we can be men and women of integrity and we can help our children become men and women of integrity. We cannot be men and women of integrity and we can not be young people who exhibit God’s heart— unless we truly know His Word. We want the Lord to help us in our character so that we can be true and honorable, so that our deeds can be right before the Lord, so that our hearts can be pure. We want to be lovely and gracious. So much of what’s happening around us right now, particularly when it comes to women, does not demonstrate a loving, gracious Spirit that comes from the Lord.
And we talk a little bit about this in the Bible study of this month and how our influence affects everyone around us. And our actions are speaking so much louder than our words, that the weightiness of our actions is breathtaking. And we talk a lot about Philippians 4:8 and what we are supposed to be thinking on, and what our hearts are supposed to be reflecting on. But I want to ask you today just to think for just a moment with me. Does your life reflect the gospel that we proclaim? Are we pointing people to Christ simply by who we are? Is our life marked by integrity? Are our friends around us see our actions that line up with the heart of Jesus that we’ve talked about, or are they seen as walk out a walk that doesn’t match the talk?
I want to encourage you to examine your own heart bravely. Invite the Lord. David said— Lord, search me, try me, see if there’s anything in my heart that doesn’t please you. I know when the Lord’s talking to me. I know there are issues, things I deal with, because I’m just like you guys, things I deal with in my life that I can just hear the Holy Spirit saying— Heidi, no, no, no, no, no. Come back. Your straying a little bit too far over there. Come back to me. Sometimes I choose to not listen. Sometimes I willfully ignore the Lord and we want to be very careful not to do that. We want to be like David and say— Lord, help us to examine our hearts. The Lord wants to change us from the inside out and when He does that, when the Lord of Heaven’s armies comes in, you guys—your life will never be the same and you will have the integrity of spirit and of strength and of action that God wants you to have.
I hope you guys had been encouraged by the podcast today. If you’re enjoying the podcast, please do us a favor— and actually you’re leaving reviews right now is going to get you entered for a drawing that we’re going to have on Friday. But I want to encourage you leave reviews for the podcast over at iTunes. We would love to hear from you. You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org, or can write to us. We love you guys. I want to just encourage you, keep walking with the Lord, stay in His Word so that you can know it and rightly defend it. We love you guys. Thank you so much for listening. Stay faithful, and I’ll see you back here on Friday.
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Heidi St. John
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