Sine cera was a term in ancient Israel that guaranteed a clay pot was “without wax.” Wax was used by salesmen to cover imperfections that occured during the firing. The retailer was passing off a defective product by deceiving the buyer. When we pretend to live a life “without wax,” we are demonstrating “insincerity.”
Integrity means completeness, no duality in what you say and what you do. The opposite of integrity then is hypocrisy. It’s been said that integrity is not only the way one thinks but the way one acts. Integrity is not wearing a cross around your neck, then coming to church, acting like a Christian, and then going home and being a mean (verbally cutting, hateful) or abusive husband, a disrespectful wife, or an uninterested parent. That’s duality, that’s hypocrisy, but not integrity. Integrity means that you don’t hold or profess you’re a Christian, but in your job you do a bad product, you’re rebellious against your boss, you gossip, you act unethically, and you lie…that’s hypocrisy. Integrity is what you are, reputation is what people think you are. You cannot be truly successful in life when you are disrespected by the living here because you lack integrity.
Integrity was so important to Jesus that He made sure He paid the temple tax and Peter’s portion as well even though He didn’t have to (Matt. 17:24-27). Integrity was so important to Paul that he made sure he had two other people with him when he was collecting money from the churches for the poor Christians back in Jerusalem. He wanted to make sure that no one could discredit him so it says he ‘took precaution’ (2 Cor. 8:16-20). Paul protected his integrity because it is that important. Samuel stood before the people he led for decades, and now at the end of his life, he asked that if he had taken anything from anybody, or cheated anybody, oppressed anybody, or taken a bribe from anybody, for them to let him know and he would make it right. It says that no one stood to say anything. In other words, no one had an ought against him because honesty, and integrity had permeated every area of his life. He held himself accountable to the people he led, and opened himself up to the scrutiny of everyone with whom he had ever had dealings, and no one had anything against him. Wow, that’s a life of integrity! We need leaders in the church like that today.
If you don’t have integrity it will affect you and your ability to lead and minister.
If you don’t have integrity it will affect those closest to you. It is awfully difficult for a woman to respect a man who will profess to be a Christian on Sunday, but live abusively the other 6 days. It is hard for a child to live in a home where there is duality.
If you don’t have integrity you’re also going to affect what you can do for God. God cannot truly use a man or woman who lacks integrity (see also Samson).
What do you do ?
You get your life straight.
You reconcile if you need to with those you hurt do to your duality.
You look at yourself in the mirror, and don’t leave unchanged.
You start crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s.
You start ‘taking precaution’ so no one can discredit you.
You’ll never be perfect but you work on never letting your life have holes poked in it due to a lack of integrity.
Always remember that having lived a life of integrity is one of the greatest statements that can be made about you at the end of your life. It’s also one of greatest evangelistic tools you have in your arsenal because people will be open to receiving the Gospel from a man or woman who lives a true life of integrity.
“A good name is to be desired more than great wealth.” Proverbs 22:1
I hope this has challenged and helped you in your walk with Christ.
Pastor Brad Tuttle