Integrity. It is one of the most important characteristics of a follower of Jesus. He saved His most stinging indictments for those who hypocritically acted on the outside as if they were religious when on the inside they were distant from God. Jesus wants us to be people who live out what is true about us on the inside.
I once heard a speaker talk about the fact that God created everything with integrity – that what is true about it on the outside is true about it on the inside as well. He gave the example of bananas. If you go to the store to buy bananas, you buy them sight unseen. You never actually see the bananas before you buy them. All you really see is the banana peel – the part that you don’t even eat. But based on the condition of the banana peel, you know exactly what kind of banana you are getting. You can tell if it is ripe. You can tell if it still needs a couple more days to be just right. And you can tell from the peel if it is time to just use that banana for banana bread.
Everything in creation has integrity – except for people. Because we have sinned, we are broken. And we are afraid for people to really see us for who we are, so we hide, which is just what Adam and Eve did when they sinned. They did not want to be seen for who they really were. And neither do we.
But the good news is that God loves us just as we are, and we don’t need to hide. Not only that, but He wants to give us grace to transform us from the inside out so that we can really live from hearts of integrity. He wants us to be real, to be honest with Him about who we are, and to follow Him from the heart.
This semester in our Student Leadership Institute (SLi), we are going to be working with the 8th graders on sharing their stories about their faith journeys. And we want them to be real, to be honest with themselves and others about where they are and what they believe. To look seriously at the claims of Jesus to see if they are living
Wherever they are now, we want to encourage students – and have them encourage each other – to take a step closer to Jesus and allow Him to transform their lives day by day from the inside out. Let’s pray together toward that end.