Connect, Lead, Equip: Are You a Community Leader with Integrity?
In the Old Testament book of Psalms are a few brief verses about King David’s leadership. Remember David was the greatest King Israel ever had. Israel was at its historical height under his reign.
“He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them,” (Psalm 78:70-72, NIV).
“Integrity of heart” is a very meaningful description of his character and leadership style. David had a great combination of character and capacity (skillful hands). But it’s character that comes first. This word “integrity” carries the idea of wholeness, singleness, completeness, and being undivided. The word integrity may make us think of the term “integer” which we know means a whole number. It’s a number that’s not a fraction. The key manifestation or expression of good character is “integrity.” We might use words like authenticity or genuineness when we talk about integrity of character.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a great preacher. Thousands of people went to hear him preach at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. On one occasion he said, “You can write my life in the skies, I have nothing to hide.” Now, that’s character. That’s integrity. That’s a leader.
Character and integrity are developed. They’re built day by day as we who are followers of Jesus Christ allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, chip away the flaws, and bring out the character qualities He has designed for us as His followers. Our character is under our control. We call the shots when it comes to whether our character is strengthened or diminished. Below are four building blocks for building character.
4 Key Building Blocks for Integrity and Character Development:
- Knowing Our Hearts –
When the Bible speaks about the heart it’s referring to the center of our personality. It’s that part that speaks to us when we are quiet and we have thoughts like “Why did I do that? I shouldn’t have spoken to him (or her) that way.” The heart is the place of our thinking, feeling, deciding, and much more. It’s the central processing unit of our lives. Jesus said, “Happy are the pure in heart…” Pure means unmixed or unalloyed. It’s singular. The happy person has a single heart with no divided loyalties. They have a true, pure direction in life.
- Building on Truth –
Sound character must be built on more than self-determination or on the shifting moral standards of surrounding culture. We must have truth at the core or our convictions will unravel in times of challenge. Truth serves as the solid foundation that keeps character grounded. So, what is true?
For the Christian, God is the real thing. Everything He does and everything He says matches with reality. The Bible says, “God is true,” (John 3:33, ESV). Truth is what God does. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” God and truth are inseparable.
- Keeping Good Company –
We become like the people we hang around. Scary, huh? We know this when we are young, and parents warn their teenagers about this, but somehow we forget as we age.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals,’” (1 Corinthians 15:33, ESV).
We are susceptible to the negative habits of others. Our resolve may weaken and we may give in to what we don’t want to give in to. For those who struggle with sinful habits, we can’t hang around those who practice them if we want to be free from them. We need to have people around us who pull us up to a higher level of integrity and character.
- Being Accountable –
Accountability is simply making ourselves answerable for key areas of our lives to another person. It’s not policing, it’s helping. Together we’re stronger….
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken,” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV).
Will you utilize the above building blocks to sharpen your integrity and improve your leadership impact?