Now when it comes to integrity, Christ is our perfect example because there is no fault or failure in him. But there is a man in the Old Testament that has always stood out in my mind and inspired me as a man of integrity, and he is a good model to follow — I’m talking about Joseph.
We know his story, how he was sold into slavery by his very own brothers. Ordinarily in a situation like this, a person would be bitter and hold a grudge. Jealousy was the motive behind this act, but integrity is not something that is associated with how people treat you, it is what you are in spite of how people treat you.
Now in this story we find that Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, a high ranking officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there. But the Bible says that “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand.”
The Bible says “that Joseph found favor in his master’s sight … so that he made him overseer of his house and all that he had, and the Lord blessed the Egyptians’ house for Joseph’s sake; and he didn’t know what he had except the bread that he ate; he trusted Joseph just that much. Joseph conducted himself with integrity. He took care of his master’s business as if it were his own and God blessed him.
My community friends, before you can claim that promotion on the job, you’ve got to serve with integrity where you are now. That’s what God will use to push you up. Integrity will take you places. Look at Joseph — his integrity is tested. God put him to the test. He was a handsome man and you have to understand that even though you may have integrity, everybody doesn’t have it! His master’s wife tries to entice him to come and have an affair with her. But Joseph refused. She keeps advancing on him, and when she caught him alone she grabbed his coat and he ran and left it in her hand. Now in a situation like this, integrity don’t bargain with the devil and it doesn’t play with fire. Joseph got out and held on to his integrity.
Anybody can do wrong and anybody can enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. But it takes a real man or woman to walk in integrity. Integrity does not go along with wrong. It does not compromise with wrong. It does not look the other way. But it stands firmly on its conviction. Let’s be like Joseph. Integrity honors God and God will honor integrity. Let’s walk in integrity.
The Rev. George T. Ellis is pastor of Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.