Two Keys to Maintaining Integrity


Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” —Job 1:8 NLT

I’ve been reading the book of Job lately. It’s not easy reading. Job, as you may recall, did everything right and ended up with all sorts of horrible things happening to him without any cause or reason that he could see or understand. Ever felt like Job? Ever tried your very best to get it right and still see a crumbling and tearing apart of what you have carefully built? Job was right there with you. Probably worse. He lost all his wealth, all ten of his children, his health, and the support of his wife. Yup. That just about covers … oh, everything that we believe matters, right?

What has always fascinated me about Job is the way he maintained integrity despite his dreadful condition. He endured so much and yet the Bible tells us that “In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God” (Job 1:22 NLT). Okay then. What exactly did Job do that was so powerfully right? Well, God tells us what he did and what God admired in Job. God says he was “a man of complete integrity.” What did that mean? God listed two keys to that integrity. First, Job feared God, and second, he stayed away from evil. Let’s unpack that today and see what we can learn from Job.

Fear God – When we “fear God” we recognize just how immense and grand and glorious and powerful and almighty He really is. Or at least we grasp that to the depths of our ability to understand. No one can fully comprehend God. He’s just too big. Too holy. Totally beyond our capability to define or explain. But that very recognition of our inadequacy in knowing Him completely is part of what leads us to fear Him and honor Him and fall to our knees in awe of Him.

Integrity is living sincerely—no subterfuge, no artifice—just being the real deal inside and out. True through and through. The primary way we live as people of integrity is to live with a right understanding of the grandness of God. Once we begin to grasp His majesty, we live in the humility of knowing we are His creation and His sheep, and He has the full right as our Creator and Maker to tell us what to do and to shape us as He wishes. That has to start with knowing our place in the world. We are created beings blessed to have been given life and purpose. We serve a magnificent and holy, holy, holy God. And that is true when life goes well and when it doesn’t.

Stay Away from Evil – The second part of God’s definition of integrity mentions the other reality in our current world. Evil exists. The Bible tells us it is an active presence and, in fact, originates in a fallen angel, Satan, and those who fell with him eons ago. This evil is not passive. Satan is a “ … roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8b NLT). A real being is out there, and basically out there to get you. That’s sobering.

God pointed to Job as one who stayed away from evil. Ever been tempted to see “how close” you could get to the line where evil lurks? Ever watched questionable things on TV or chosen “little sins” that seemed too minor to worry about? Yeah, me too. That is not staying away from evil. That’s playing with evil. Not a good idea at all. Job knew better. He stayed away from evil. He chose to do what was good and right and pure when people were watching and when they weren’t.

For example, Job’s regular practice was to offer sacrifices on behalf of his children, meeting with God often, asking and praying for His mercy on his household. It’s the ancient version of a quiet time, right? Job had no written Word to study at that point. In fact, Job’s story is considered to be one of the oldest in the Bible, happening long before Abraham and Moses and covenants and laws. Way, way back near the beginning of time, a man lived who met with God regularly. This man chose to worship and honor and fear God and to stay away from evil. “ … He [Job] would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of [his children]. For Job said to himself, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular practice” (Job 1:5b NLT).

Job maintained integrity and, indeed, continued to cry out to God for help. Would I be as loyal as Job? Is my faith strong enough to endure multiple blows and endless tragedies and still believe the truth that there is a God and He is good and right in all His ways? I do not know. I would totally need to rely on God’s strength, that is for sure. In any case, I am awfully glad for this story. I am reassured that not all bad things that happen to me are because I was at fault somehow. And I am reminded that God is God in good times and in bad and that someday I will see Him face to face and all doubts and hurts will fade in the light of His glorious Presence. In the words of Job, let’s celebrate this truth today:

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
I will see him for myself.
Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
I am overwhelmed at the thought!”
—Job 19:25-27 NLT

Father God, help me to know You more and more so that I see You and revere You and tremble at Your grandness. Help me to stay away from evil, choosing instead to cling to You. Bring me into Your Presence each day, dear Lord, reassuring me that despite Your majesty, You also have brought me close to You, as Your dearly-loved child. I know that You, my Redeemer, live and someday I myself will see You. I am overwhelmed by that thought. Thank You that this is true whether my life circumstances are wonderful or miserable. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

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