BY MICHELLE WILLIAMS, VOLUNTEER
A Good Name is the third ingredient of the Good Life. Living with integrity is the key to earning a good name.
Dave Rod opened the sermon with a quote from Abraham Lincoln: Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Jesus intends for us to live a good life that is flourishing, and to taste the joy of “casting a good shadow.” When you have a good reputation, people speak highly of you and welcome opportunities to interact with you. Building a good reputation requires the practice of moral integrity.
C.S. Lewis defined integrity as “doing the right thing when no one is watching.” Dave took it a step further and said that it’s also doing the right thing when everyone is watching, but that integrity has become out-of-date. Fewer and fewer people are doing the right thing in private and in public. Fewer people are casting good shadows because fewer people are living with integrity.
The reason that having a good name is an ingredient of the Good Life is that a few exclusive benefits are bestowed upon those who do. A person living with integrity enjoys the intervention of God in their life. God acts as their “bodyguard.” Their discretion protects them from those living in wicked ways; their wisdom leads them to a long life of prosperity. A life of moral integrity is a slice of the good life.
Dave closed the sermon with a list of practical ways to increase moral integrity. Privately, a person can practice confession with God. Journaling is a way to practice confession. A person may also engage in communion with God. Fasting may be necessary, particularly from suspect media and excessive alcohol consumption. Publicly, a person may also practice confession—which creates a sense of accountability. Engaging in the Way of Discipleship is also an excellent way to build integrity publicly.
To learn more about the Way of Discipleship, visit gracechurch.us/discipleship.
He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.
Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.
Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.