Proverbs 10:9 “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”
What would you say is the single most important characteristic of a person who wants to be successful and make a difference in the world? Some would say intelligence. After all, knowledge is power in numerous ways. Others argue it is intensity, that spirit of conquest supplemented with a passion that becomes contagious. Yet others propose that it is insight, good old common sense accompanied by the ability to clearly perceive certain issues.
The Bible suggests that the most important quality in success is integrity. You will eventually become known by your integrity or the lack of it. We have all known people along life’s road who possess extraordinary intelligence but no integrity, and they are no longer in the race. Others with great intensity and passion but little integrity have ended up the same way. The same result is true of people with great insight but no integrity.
The thesaurus equates integrity with such words as “honesty, completeness, and incorruptibility.” Integrity begins in your private world; the part of you that’s known only to God and yourself. Then it shows up in your personal world; the part of you that you reveal to a small circle of intimate family members and possibly a few friends. After that comes your professional world. Here people know you by your product, your work ethic, or your skill set. And they all ask the same question: “Can I trust you?” Finally, your integrity shows up in your public world. So here is the question: Do you have integrity?
Proverbs 20:7 “The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.”
Extensive research has shown that there are in fact six ingredients which are always found in lasting success:
Information – If you don’t stay informed, you will be left behind.
Intuition – This is sometimes referred to as “to know in your knower.”
Initiative – This is when you are willing to step out in faith and act on what you know intuitively.
Intentionality – This is when you are willing to set specific goals and timelines for reaching them.
Intensity – This calls for more than starting power, it requires staying power.
Integrity – This is the glue that holds all of the previous five things together. And it’s rooted in that private life you develop alone with God.
We often hear architects, engineers, and builders say talking about the ‘structural integrity’ of a building. What do they mean? Simply that the external visible public beauty of a tall skyscraper relies on its private, unseen foundation that is dug deep into the earth and solidly constructed. It is that hidden ‘life’ of a building that brings structural integrity.
Likewise, it’s the hidden life of a fruit tree – the unseen root system that digs deep into the earth – that produces those juicy, delectable fruits.
The same is true for you. Integrity must be rooted in your private life. Don’t wait until you’re thrust into the public arena before paying attention to your integrity, for then you will have waited until it’s too late.
Your talent may bring you success, but it takes character to protect and maintain your success. The truth is that when your integrity is rooted in your private world, it’s reflected in your personal world, your professional world, and your public world.