Click to download the audio version of “Holistic Education: Integrity”

Cyrus Mafi - Chairman of Impact A Life FoundationGood morning friends and thank you for joining us for another session in ILF’s Holistic Ministry Education. I like to start our time together with a prayer to invite the Holy Spirit filling this space as we discuss today’s topic and for our hearts to be open and our minds receptive in God’s vision for us individually, for our ministry and for the communities that we server in Jesus name. God bless you.

We will be talking about *Integrity* today and why it is one of the most important pillars for a believer and for us as the members of ILF ministry.

Dr. Roland shared with us about an incident that happened in Makeni a few weeks ago. The government decided to move a generator (that was the lifeline of the city) to Freetown and to power Lungi airport in preparation for reopening the airport (for air travel following the COVID-19 pandemic). This move did not seem welcoming to the locals and resulted in days long riot that costed hardship, anger, resentment and ultimately the loss of several innocent lives in the process. Even though, the act of temporarily moving the generator to Lungi seemed logical on the surface, but because of the past buildup of distrust, unkept promises and the lack of care by the officials, the end result was tragic

I’m not a Politian, nor do I want to take sides in this example Friends, but rather hoping to demonstrate the importance of trust and the value of integrity in our actions. We, as people want to know that our leaders can be trusted.  We want to know that leaders will keep promises and follow through on commitments.  *Promises and commitments are significant*, We live in a time and perception that ethics are optional depending on our current circumstances.  We often are more concerned with convenience and performance.  We talk up the importance of character, but we have the idea that when things get tough, the rules can be changed, and commitments and promises may be discarded as we will.

But the Bible makes clear just how important our promises are.  Throughout the Scriptures, *God focuses on the fact that he is a God who makes and keeps his covenants*, that he can be trusted.*1 Chronicles 16:15* says “_He (God) remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations_”.

God can be trusted because he is trustworthy.  His character is trustworthy, and his word is trustworthy. He is consistent, accountable and faithful, evident in the bible and the history of mankind. Do you think if the integrity was evident in the officials’ action in our example,  if the promises made to the people was kept in a consistent bases and if the character of the leaders had reflected a caring and compassionate leadership, would the outcome been different? I like to think it would, wouldn’t you? Friends, this example is not unique to Sierra Leone and your government officials. it is a hypocritical character flaw that we all try to overcome at times, sometimes with our good deeds, often with our good words. And that’s the point: it always comes down to the issue of character, *biblical integrity is not just doing the right thing or saying the right word*; it’s a matter of having the right heart and allowing the person you are on the inside to match the person you are on the outside.  This is how God is.  This is how his people should be. And this is what his goal is for us, nothing less. For our actions and behaviors to always match Christ’s character and nature.

Are we there yet friends? Do our actions always reflect the nature of Jesus? Does our behavior reflect Christ’s character? I don’t know about you, but (*If I’m totally honest*), *my answer is NO, NOT ALWAYS*!  *Even as a Christian, I have let more people down and have repented more often than I can count*

So, who can we trust?  We have let others down and been let down by others because there is often a discrepancy between what we claim and how we live.  *The answer is a simple one…GOD*, because he will never let us down, because he never changes.  His promises are as good as his unchanging character: “_Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever_” As the writer of Hebrews says in *Hebrews 13:8*.

Jesus does not change.  The Living God does not change.  His love, his truth and his goodness do not change or impacted by external circumstances or conditions. Therefore, God’s character and the promises he makes are always worthy of our trust and commitment.  He does what he says, and his covenant love is always dependable.

This is fundamental in order to know what we lean against, what we can trust in and what we can pursue with all our heart. *The integrity of a living God, his steadfast character and his unchanging standard*.  It is therefore for us as Christians and members of ILF ministry, to learn, understand and practice the Biblical teachings of a high and holy ethic. As Paul tells Timothy in *1 Timothy 4:15-16* “_Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers_”.

Friends, even though, we never attain perfection in this life, there should be a progress toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  We will never attain it this side of eternity, but there should be a visible progress, evident to others.  Notice the two things Paul asks Timothy to watch for: your life and your doctrine.  In other words, we need to pay careful attention to our behavior and our belief.  Make sure they match. And ultimately *Constantly examine our self to see whether our walk matches our talk*.

Would you meditate on that? Would you take a moment and reflect on a time where you let somebody down or let down by somebody? How did it feel? How did you reconcile the guilt and the burden, and did you experience the grace of God and the freedom in forgiveness in the process?

In the end, we become what our desires make us friends.  Who we become reveals what we really desire. I pray that The Lord will plant the desire for who we become, to reflect the Character of Jesus. And that our interaction with others, individually and through this ministry, reflect the integrity, the love and the grace that God pours upon us every day. And as a result, may we sense the overwhelming holiness of our Creator, his steadfast love for us and the freedom in abiding in his saving grace.

Amen and God bless, thank you for joining us and looking forward to seeing you next week.