What does it mean to have integrity? Someone that has integrity is one who is sound in their position. A good leader must have soundness in his leadership. Another definition of integrity is adherence to a code of values. A good leader will always stick to or adhere to the code of values for what he or she is standing.
Let’s look at the Executive Oath of Office:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”
Not only does the President of the United States preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, he even adheres to a dress code. Have you ever noticed the dress code of the President of the United States? It is common to see them dressed in a black, gray or blue suit always paired with a white shirt and a solid color tie of their choice. This is done to create an image of how the President of the United States is supposed to look when in the public eye. Also, this sets a standard or code of values to which those upcoming Presidents may adhere in the future. Again, I say, a good leader will always stick to or adhere to the code of values for what he or she is standing in their leadership.
Last, but not least, good leaders will posses completeness. In order for a leader to be considered to have integrity, he must complete the task before him in his or her allotted time.
Paul was a good example in this when he said “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
What about our greatest example? “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).
When Jesus made the statement It is finished – It was as if he had said: “I have executed the great designs of the Almighty God – I have satisfied the demands of His justice – I have accomplished all that was written in the prophets, and suffered the utmost malice of my enemies; and now the way to the holy of holies is made manifest through my blood.” It was an awful, but glorious finish to His earthly ministry. Through this tragic death, God is reconciled to man and the kingdom of heaven is opened to every believing soul.
So, just like the President of the United States takes an oath of office, we as God’s people must accept our oath of leadership with integrity.
An oath is a solemn appeal to God as a pledge of sincerity. Does the word sincerity sound familiar? It should. When each Church of God member took the oath or covenant, we said that we will sincerely promise in the presence of God and these witnesses that we would accept this Bible as the Word of God—believe and practice its teaching rightly divided—the New Testament as our rule of faith and practice, government and discipline, and walk in the light to the best of our knowledge and ability; and each one of us answered, “I will”.
When we took our covenant before God it wasn’t administered to us so we could remain followers, but it was administered for us to become leaders. When we accept our covenant with sincerity, then and only then, is when we will become leaders with integrity.
There should come a time as Christians when we should not only be followers of God, but we should become laborers with Him. When we become laborers with Him, we become leaders with integrity.
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).
Even Jesus knew that there would come a time when His disciples would cease being only followers of Him and become workers (laborers) with Him even in His absence.
Read Matthew 16:14-19.
Church, we don’t have to receive an appointment or have a title or position in the Church to become leaders. Think about it for a moment. Jesus chose twelve and it is not mentioned in the Bible what their appointments were or even their positions (with the exception of Judas as treasurer). All we know is that they were disciples and apostles who were given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. What are we today but disciples who should be making disciples according to Christ Jesus. If we somehow bind this fleshly nature here on earth, surely it will be bound in heaven, and if we loose the Spirit here on earth to make disciples (become leaders), surely this spirit will be loosed in heaven.
In our text Scripture we find that Paul gave young Timothy good sound advice regarding leading with integrity.
“These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:11-16).
Let’s face the facts. We, the Church today, must have soundness in our leadership. We must also understand that our leadership must stick to or adhere to the code of values written in God’s Word. It is imperative that we continue in the doctrine, for if we do so, Paul says we will save ourselves and them that hear thee.
That sounds like Leading with Integrity!
Excerpts reprinted from the Arise Shine Publication May 2010