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The Secret Self

Who are you when no one’s looking? God doesn’t expect you to never make a mistake, but He calls you to be your true, authentic self—and that means committing to a lifestyle of integrity.

by Charles F. Stanley

 

It doesn’t take much to realize honesty isn’t valued in our society today. Sure, people talk about the need for transparency in government and business. But in everyday life, a great number of folks still live as though deception is a necessary part of being human.

Think about your own experience: how often have you justified stretching the truth for any number of reasons? Perhaps you wanted to avoid the awkwardness of giving your honest feedback to a friend or colleague. Or maybe you tried to cover up a bad decision. Friends, this isn’t how God wants us to live. He’s given us a better way. 

The apostle John wrote, “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Keeping our feet on this lit path means living honestly in every aspect of life.

From the way we deal with relationship conflicts to how we handle job responsibilities, what we do—and how we do it—matters to God. Though we may find it possible to deceive the people in our lives, God is never fooled. He sees the reality of our hearts with the utmost clarity.

Take a moment to survey all the blessings the Father has given you—everything you’re working so hard to build and protect. A lack of integrity so often brings ruin to these things, and if it doesn’t catch up with you on this side of heaven, you’ll have to face the Lord in the life to come and answer for your decisions. 

So who are you? Are you a person of integrity? When the doors close and no one else is around, are you the same person you present to others? You can’t afford to ignore these questions. There’s simply too much at stake.

What does integrity look like?

In God’s eyes, honest living is a major issue. He wants believers to be characterized by integrity in their relationships, finances, work, and every other area of life. Therefore, we need to understand what it means to have this character quality. In Psalm 15, David gives a concise picture of a person of integrity and describes the benefits of letting honesty permeate our lives.

First of all, integrity is essential for a close relationship with the Lord (Psalm 15:1-2). Since dishonesty and duplicity create a barrier in our fellowship with God, only those with an honest heart and upright behavior can draw near to Him and experience the closeness He wants with us.

Integrity is displayed by our actions, but it begins in the heart (Psalm 15:2). David describes it as a lifestyle of walking in truth and doing what’s right. But integrity isn’t just about what we do; it’s about our heart. Before we can be honest and upright externally, we must be authentic internally.

Integrity influences how we relate to others (Psalm 15:3-5). Christians should be known as good neighbors and trustworthy friends who don’t gossip, spread slander, hold grudges, or seek revenge. To the best of our ability, we are to keep our promises, treat others fairly, and not take advantage of anyone. We should also be discriminating in our associations, knowing that sinful lifestyles drag us down. Instead, we need friends who know and honor the Lord.

Integrity gives stability in life (Psalm 15:5). When we live honestly, we have no fear of “being found out,” because we’re authentic inside and out—no duplicity, no covering up. Even if we suffer for telling the truth, we will not be shaken, because we’re standing on the solid ground of obedience to God.

Does your life resemble the person in Psalm 15? Although God doesn’t expect you to do everything perfectly, He does want you to desire and strive to become who He designed you to be—a person of integrity.

Why do we give up our integrity?

Perhaps the simplest answer is that we lack trust in God. Scripture gives us a clear idea of how we should live, but when we focus on our fears and selfish desires, we may be tempted to use deception to get what we want or avoid what we don’t want.

Satan is always looking for ways to keep us from seeing deceit in our lives. He’s quick to supply excuses: It won’t hurt anyone. No one will ever know. Nobody’s perfect. However, if we really want integrity, we must be willing to examine our lives to see if any subtle forms of deception are hidden there.

The time to make decisions about whether you will lie or tell the truth is not in the moment of temptation. Using God’s Word as your guide, determine beforehand how you want to relate to others, do your work, and handle finances. Then when situations arise that tempt you to lie, you’ll be firmly rooted in your convictions.

 

Types of deception

Insinuations: Gossip and slander often begin with indirect comments about another person, which give an impression of wrongdoing. 

False impressions: When we want to manipulate a situation in order to present ourselves in a good light, we either embellish the truth or omit part of it to shape the other person’s perception. 

White lies: Our culture puts lies on a sliding scale. When they seem unimportant and carry no serious repercussions, we call them “little white lies.” However, what we’re really trying to do is bring God’s standard down to our comfort level. But the Lord doesn’t assign colors because all lies are equal in His view.

Partial truth: When we tell the truth but omit some integral facts in order to gain an advantage or protect ourselves, it’s still deception. For example, if you are trying to sell your car, but you fail to mention it has a bad carburetor, you have deceived the buyer. Sure, wasn’t an outright lie, but withholding that vital information could harm the other person and benefit you.

 

Integrity must be sought and maintained.

The only way to walk in integrity is to follow Christ instead of going your own way. Lies and manipulation may seem like the quickest route to getting what you want, but they lead only to more trouble. The one way to guarantee a good outcome is to obey the Lord and trust Him to work it all out. Even if honesty causes loss or hurt at the moment, it will result in the priceless character trait of integrity. 

After reading this article, did you sense the Holy Spirit revealing any hidden deception in your life? If so, the first step in weeding it out is admitting that it is sin. God wants you to deal with it and change course.

His motive is not to condemn but to bring you into the blessings of obedience. After confessing the sin of deception, take the necessary steps to insure that you stay on the path of integrity.

In the end, when you choose to live without integrity, you’re deceiving only yourself. Someday all that is in darkness will be exposed (1 Cor. 4:5). With so much at stake, isn’t it time to begin making the pursuit of integrity a top priority? Your future depends upon it.

 

 Do you know God? 
If you want to live a more authetic life, one marked by integrity, start with getting to know more about Jesus here.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


19 comments
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  • August 21, 2013 05:01 AM

    by

    Dr Stanley, am Strongly touched by this Word's teaching today and its Changing my Lifestyle.
  • July 26, 2013 10:16 AM

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    Thanks Dr.Stanley... good to know the truth about lies...it's a blessed article!!!
  • July 22, 2013 06:31 AM

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    this is a great article! lots for me to.work on and continue my growth in christ. your ministry is a true blessing. anja saint simons island
  • July 20, 2013 02:05 PM

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    I needed this & am going to pass this on to my friend who needs it as well in light of a conversation we had this week.

    Thanks Dr. Stanley for always sticking to the true word of God!
  • July 19, 2013 05:05 PM

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    Integrity trully deals with the heart. Truth lies within the regions of the heart of which Gods Holy Spirit points to and uncovers, dismantles and restores Integrity.. makes you get down to the knitty gritty, once reviewed and acknowledged in the light of Holy God and His ways.. we see .. smell.. and taste the difference between Truth and lie, Right and wrong,. What amazes me is when one layer is uncovered, cleansed and retored.. theres another layer soon to rise. But my true and heartfelt desire is to keep being unclovered, cleansed , restored , renewed and refleshed and only God through Christ Jesus and the love and comfort of the Holy Spirit which indwells me. For God to care so much for me as though at the beginning of time one sting of web was thrown from enternity for me to reach an catch me.. so awesome. thats why when I look at the world today, I know to look at Lord and seek his will for my way to walk, talk, and live this life. Thank you In Touch , Dr Stanley and staff,
  • July 16, 2013 10:17 AM

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    This is a very relevant subject matter for this culture that we are living in today. Thank you for your thoughts.
  • July 15, 2013 01:40 AM

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    God is a wonderful Healer! The timing of this artcle is spot on during this very difficult time. Though we can all benefit from this article, it is also amazing how many people have brought up the subject of NPD. This is also what drew my attention to the article. Not only have I lived my entire life dealing with a NM, I am presently dealing with lies being sowed about me in their desperation and fear of being exposed. I have chosen to cut mysel off from the malignancy and not care to defend myself...stir the pot. Still there is a significant amount of pain involved. I found some support groups for victims such as myself, which helps, but true peace came when I received this article. The affirmation of God's presence during this time has blessed my spirit.
  • July 12, 2013 11:16 AM

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    I enjoyed this teaching because we truely have to continue to look at integrity. Because we live in a word where its ok to do anything, even damage the character of others without a second thought. Thanks for the scriptures taking us to GODs word on integrity.
  • July 09, 2013 05:46 PM

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    I needed it. Thank you Dr. Stanley.
  • July 07, 2013 10:13 PM

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    My grandmother always said, "You can hurt a person with the truth but you can kill them with a lie"
  • July 07, 2013 10:08 AM

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    My mother thinks that "little white lies" are okay to say every once in a while to avoid arguments. Now I know the truth and make my momma see it too!
  • July 06, 2013 09:58 AM

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    I'm blessed by this article. Thanks very much Dr Stanley.

    - Kaiser Ballecer, Philippines
  • July 05, 2013 11:47 AM

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    first of all God and the Holy Spirit convicted me to state a sin against another because I do have hurts that were caused at their hand, yet God prevailed and brought truth to light, so I cannot complain about the season that I went through because God was so in evidence. Secondly, I work with narcissistic personality disorders, and people with this disorder are always trying to make themselves feel bigger then they perceive themselves, it is a sickness of hurts, that do not lead to a life of happiness. So all of us are on a continuum of keeping things from our self, because it is painful to view or because we are protecting ourselves and cannot really see it at all no matter how many others point it out to us. It is like Dr. Stanley says, before we accept Jesus we cannot see ourselves the way God does, after we accept Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins His work in us, convicting us, nudging us, towards what is Christ-like behavior, thereby attracting the attention of others so that they hopefully start to want what we have and ask questions. We are none of us perfected, only Jesus was the perfect Man without sin. We can only strive towards being more like Him. Let us pray for anyone who is so narcissistic that their hurts hurt others. It is us, all of us fall short of the Glory of God, let us each increase our personal integrity to find our faults, become convicted of them, seek forgiveness, and spread the love of Christ to others. Bless Dr. Stanley for his truths and way of teaching so that I can understand the message.
  • July 05, 2013 09:54 AM

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    I am happy I read this today. I have been convicted in certain areas, where I would not normally feel conviction, but I did so today, after reading this article. Thank you for putting it out there and causing me to examine my heart and my integrity.
  • July 03, 2013 11:22 AM

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    Dr Charles , I love listening to your sermons. I have taken notes and passed it down
    to my friends and relatives. Thank you Dr Charles. I pray for your good health. May
    GOD Bless You.

    Shirley, Sri Lanka
  • July 03, 2013 12:01 AM

    by

    I'd love to give this article to every narcissist out there! They have a false self and a true self. They do everything they can to suppress their true selves. Problem is...they even believe their lies. They don't know their doing anything wrong...and it's always someone else's fault.
  • July 02, 2013 09:46 AM

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    This has begun a cleanse process for me entirely. I have begun to look at me and decided to fix me and be an example for others. Thanky you Dr. Stanley. Your teachings has and is a blessing to me each week.
  • July 01, 2013 11:31 PM

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    Charles Stanley Thank you for the sunday services. May God Bless,
  • July 01, 2013 04:49 PM

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    Integrity is a lost trait. Instead of the meaningless curriculum that fills the institution of education good Godly character should be taught as part of citizenship education.

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