The Golden Gate Bridge is very quickly identified by most people. What most people don’t consider, though, is how much goes into designing something like that. It is about 1.7 miles across and 90 feet wide. How do you design something that long, over water, and then drive cars and trucks over it for years.
It is absolutely essential that the different points where the weight is handled work like they should. It is important that each piece of metal do what it is supposed to do. If any piece of that support fails, the whole bridge is in danger of collapsing.
Integrity literally means that something is sound, complete, or whole. It is something we rely on when we cross a bridge.
But when we talk about integrity in our lives, how does that look?
It could be summed up as “being real.” Even more than being real, though, integrity is being complete. It means understanding that you belong to God and that what you do reflects that. Integrity is being all in or all out, but never in between.
Old Testament Joseph was a teenager, 17 years old, when his brothers, out of jealousy, sold him. Joseph ends up as a slave, but God is with him all the time. God gives him some influence and he ends up being important during a time of famine later on.
One story highlights Joseph’s integrity. It is the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Potiphar was a big shot in Egypt and Joseph was his slave. It does not take long or the integrity of Joseph’s life to be obvious to Potiphar. A life of integrity comes from a real relationship with God.
A Relationship That is Seen: Obvious to others by not for others
God was at work in the life of Joseph. Poitphar liked that so much that he put him in charge of his home. There was blessing on Potiphar as a result of this. Joseph was not afraid to live out this relationship because God is real and mattered to him. But, notice this was not done so that people notice. It was just a natural thing.
When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. – Genesis 39:3-4
If you have a relationship with God, people will notice. God is after your heart and a real relationship. Real relationship involves time together and people notice as a result. Joseph was just living his life as a follower of God, not ashamed, and Potiphar liked it. This was God’s blessing for sure.
A real relationship with someone will have an influence on your life, good or bad. God is no exception to that.
A Relationship That is Alert: On Guard Against Potential Sin Traps
Joseph is a young man with a lot of power, but he kept his guard up and kept God first.
and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” – Genesis 39:7
Potiphar’s wife thought he was quite the hottie and she wanted him.
How easy it would have been for him to give in. In fact, it says that she did this day after day after day. I mean, that was certainly a temptation for him. But, what does he do?
And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. – Genesis 39:10
He avoided her! He stayed away. He was on guard and recognized the sin trap.
We learn from Joseph that a real relationship with God actually directs your life.
A Relationship That is Confident: Trust that God will not Leave and Will Honor Obedience
Obedience is hard work. It is not popular. Sometimes you will end up taking blame or getting into some hardship just for doing the right thing. Joseph understood that this whole thing was a matter of obedience.
He knows that he could not do such a wicked thing because it would not be loyal to his master and it would be evil, sin against God. So he was willing to take whatever happens to him as a result of this, even if it meant he would lose his job .
She claims that he attempted to rape her and he ends up in jail. What an awful story. Or is it? Notice that God was with him and once again showed him favor.
the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. – Genesis 39:21
The Lord was blessing the obedience of Joseph and this relationship with God, being real, had influenced all areas of his life.
We are encouraged that God does not ignore our obedience, even when we might feel like we get the raw end of the deal from each other. You can trust Him. You can follow Him. You can boldly declare your allegiance to Him alone. Don’t hold pieces back, let Him have all of you. You can trust Him.
Are you for real?