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  • Writer's picturePastor Nathan Lipscomb

The Power of Integrity

Proverbs 19:1, "Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool." 


In the vast realm of literature written to impart wisdom, the book of Proverbs stands out. It stands out because of it's inspired nature. Many other volumes of wisdom copy its sound advice. I find it interesting how often I hear someone quote a proverb from the Bible without realizing it. Proverbs 19:1 bears within itself an important truth that is not limited by the age in which it is read. It sheds light on the significance of integrity. Integrity holds immeasurable worth, surpassing material wealth or deceptive speech. Let's take a look at Proverbs 19:1, its timeless wisdom, and its relevance to us today.


Understanding the Meaning of Integrity

At its core, integrity refers to the qualities of honesty, uprightness, and consistency in both actions and principles. You can see quite a contrast here between the person who is poor, but has his integrity intact, and the person who uses deceit in an attempt to produce his own success. It is a virtue that is far greater to be desired than a higher social-economic status or increased wealth.


This definition highlights the point that integrity is of immense value, yet it can be possessed by any individual. It is very possible that my seven-year-old can have greater integrity than his dad, the preacher. One thing I appreciate about young children is that they are genuine. What they are feeling at that moment comes through their words and actions. As adults, we are more careful to guard what of ourselves is seen and heard by others. This is why sometimes, our church family may have a very different opinion of us than our families might have of us. This also may be why our children do not share our outward religion, but instead, they copy the real walk that we have with God. Honesty, uprightness, and consistency in our relationship with God, both in the church and at home, is the essence of integrity for the Christian.

The Enduring Worth and Source of Integrity

Our society is fixated on material success and superficial achievements, but these things fade away so quickly. Our integrity cannot be taken from us, nor can it be given to us. Our integrity is supposed to be an unshakeable pillar that bears us up under the scrutiny of time and trials. However, listen to how David reveals the source of his integrity in Psalm 41:12, "And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever." David doesn't take credit for his own uprightness. He credits God for being the pillar that bears him up! How can something so valuable and delicate be placed into the hands of a country shepherd boy?


Job, during his time of trial, refused, time after time, to remove his worship and faith from the God he loved during the good times. He said, "till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me." When his wife gave up, and when his friends fretfully misunderstood the meaning behind his trials, Job, who also didn't understand, decided that if all else was taken from him, his love and service to God must continue. He must be real. He must maintain his integrity. This was of exceeding great value to him and could not be removed from him, despite Satan's best efforts. In this, God was greatly pleased with Job.

The Relevance of Proverbs 19:1 Today

I am faced daily with moral compromises and ethical dilemmas. Am I willing to say something for a job that I wouldn't say otherwise? The simple fact that others probably will never find out may be enough to induce us to compromise. Is it alright for me to make small moral concessions in seemingly unimportant areas in an effort to accomplish a seemingly important goal? Proverbs 19:1 remains profoundly relevant to us today. True success, in God's eyes, cannot be measured solely by financial wealth or accolades. It is intertwined with our character and the choices we make in our daily lives. I am still faced with the dilemma of being a half-hearted Christian; of being sure to keep up the pretense of a good preacher, while compromising to my flesh before God and my family. We are involved in so many activities in this day and age, that it only increases our opportunities to compromise.


Evaluate your priorities and align them with biblical principles that have stood the test of time. Then, determine that you will stand upon these principles, regardless of what trials, emotions, and failures may come; and failures will come. Rise back up once more, seek forgiveness from God who is "faithful and just" in His forgiveness. Others may see your failure, don't hide it. Let them also see you repentant and forgiven. Let them see you press on toward the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus yet once more. Let them see God get ahold of your heart and use you greatly! This may inspire them to repent, seek forgiveness, and live with godly integrity as well.

Proverbs 19:1 speaks volumes about the immense power and significance of integrity. As Christians and witnesses in this world, we must prioritize honesty, uprightness, and consistency in our actions and principles. We must be genuinely like Christ.


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