Why integrity isn’t just about what happens behind closed doors

Google defines integrity as “the state of being whole and undivided” and “having strong moral principles”. Now, one thing is to have a principle, another thing is to live it out. Integrity is attractive and  definetly a main ingredient to good character. Character is a term we throw around a lot, but I’ve honestly struggled with understanding what it actually meant. After reading some old notes and putting a little thought to it, I ended up with this conclusion – character is the way we think, feel and behave. The behavior part seems obvious and almost easy. It isn’t hard to behave nicely, but if the processes in my head doesn’t mach my actual actions I don’t think I’m walking in integrity. I usually hear people say, that integrity is how you act behind closed doors, but I want to take it further. Integrity is about what happens in you closed mind. If I want godly character I need to have godly thoughts.
That’s kind of discouraging, huh? My thoughts go in all directions all the time.
There’s no way to control our thoughts – at least that’s what we often think. But! Last week I wrote about how God doesn’t waste his time asking us to do stuff that is impossible, so when 2 Corinthians 10:5 says

 “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”

I think that it’s possible. We can bring every thought to Christ, look at it in his light and the more we do that, the more our thoughts will become like his. It might seem a little excessive but our brain work is crucial when it comes to character building. Even though it might seem indifferent as long as your behavior is great, I really think it’s important because “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of”. Thoughts and feelings are inseperable and in the end our thoughts determine our feelings which – for most of us – affects our actions. This is why integrity isn’t just a matter of “would you do it if no one was around?” it’s a matter of “would you think that if other people could read your mind?”.
I want my character to look like Jesus’ and that’s probably going to be hard work, but also joyful and fun because God is good. When I try to take my thoughts captive and bring them to Christ I don’t have to be afraid – I just get to enjoy his intimate, radiant love, and in the end that is what changes me and creates accordance between my prinicples and my actual life.

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