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The Essential Ingredient for a Godly Life, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
January 4, 2022 7:05 am

The Essential Ingredient for a Godly Life, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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January 4, 2022 7:05 am

Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity

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Today, Chuck Swindoll describes the essential ingredient for a godly life. What does it mean to live our lives with integrity? It means that we are verbally trustworthy. We speak truth. We do not lie. We are privately pure. We hide no shameful secrets. We live no double life. Chuck Swindoll has been teaching and preaching for more than 60 years, and integrity is one of his favorite themes.

In fact, one could assume that it's become a hobby horse of sorts. But in reality, integrity is a reoccurring subject, not because of Chuck's endorsement, but because it's an essential ingredient for a godly life. Well, today on Insight for Living, we have the privilege of starting a brand new teaching series. Given the challenges of the new year ahead, Chuck has titled his study Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity. My Bible is open, and I invite you to open yours to Daniel chapter 6. These first few verses are magnificent reminders of how God had his hand on one man, really the only Jew in the group.

The others are Gentiles, and there is prejudice against him for other reasons, as we will see. And Daniel stands firm in integrity. I want to read for you the first part of his chapter, Daniel 6. I'll be reading from the New Living Translation.

You follow along in the version you use as we look into the scriptures together to be illumined. Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king's interests. Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel's great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs.

But they couldn't find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, completely trustworthy. So they concluded, our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion. So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, long live King Darius. We're all in agreement, we administrators, officials, high officers, advisors, and governors, that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next 30 days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human, except to you, your majesty, will be thrown into the den of lions. And now, your majesty, issue and sign this law so that it cannot be changed. An official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked. So King Darius signed the law. But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.

You're listening to Insight for Living. To search the scriptures with Chuck Swendoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. Chuck titled his message, The Essential Ingredient for a Godly Life. Over 62 years ago, I walked onto the campus of Dallas Seminary. I was a first year student, only a few months out of the Marine Corps. Talk about a contrast from a Marine Corps barracks to classroom at Dallas Seminary.

It was really, really a contrast. And there I found myself sitting at the feet of some of the finest, teaching theological truths that sent me into the heavenlies. As I began to drink it all in, I realized this is a place to learn it and I must take it from here to a lifetime of ministry. I gleaned from those four years a biblical knowledge, a system of theological thinking, as well as, if you will, a box of tools that I would take with me and it would be my responsibility to keep them sharp, to use them regularly, to teach myself the truths that others had been teaching me.

For a whole lifetime lay before me. I also left with a reminder that there were a few of that small faculty at the time who had touched my life deeply. Two or three of them had become mentors. And to this day, I can quote for you some of the things they said to me even six decades ago. What a difference those men made in my life and still make in my life, though they are all past.

They've all died. But their words live on. It occurred to me during the time I've been away that there was a course no one could teach because this particular truth is not learned in a classroom.

I realized that even keeping my tools sharp as I would use them regularly in my own study would not provide me with this quality that would be essential for life. Not just for ministry, but for life. And that essential quality, that one ingredient that must be a part of any life that is to be known as a godly life is integrity.

Integrity. I don't know that I heard the word used that much during my theological training or even today. I listened closely to the news as you did as the whole event of 9-11 was brought before us on the television screen. I think I heard the word used and I was listening for it.

I heard it maybe twice, perhaps three times. It isn't something one talks about as much as it is lived out. Could you give a definition of it?

Let me help. Quoting from the late Warren Wiersbe in his book The Integrity Crisis, here's an amplified version of the definition of integrity. He writes, the Oxford English Dictionary says, the word comes from the Latin integratas, which means wholeness, entire-ness, completeness.

He continues, the root word is integer, which means untouched, intact, entire. Integrity is to personal or corporate character what health is to the body or 20-20 vision is to the eyes. A person with integrity is not divided, that's duplicity.

Or merely pretending, that's hypocrisy. He or she is whole. Life is put together and things are working together harmoniously. People with integrity have nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

Their lives are open books. The Bible says much about integrity. 27 times in the New American Standard the word is used.

22 times in the NIV. 16 times in the King James. Proverbs is especially fond of the term. Such verses as he who walks in integrity walks securely but he who perverts his ways will be found out. Proverbs 10-9. And again, the integrity of the upright will guide them but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

11-3. And again, many a man proclaims his own loyalty but who can find a trustworthy man, a righteous man who walks in his integrity. How blessed are his children after him. Proverbs 26-7. How magnificent to have had a mother and or father who walked in integrity. It stays with you through life.

At least the memory is there, though they may pass. I've always loved the last few verses of Psalm 78. God chose David his servant and took him from the sheep foals from following the ewes with suckling lambs. He brought him to feed Jacob his people and Israel his inheritance. So David fed them according to the integrity of his heart and he guided them with skillful hands.

I've sat alone and pondered how great it must have been to live in the kingdom of David. Not a perfect man because integrity doesn't require perfection. It just requires character. It doesn't mean you never fail. It means when you fail, you acknowledge it. What does it mean to live our lives with integrity?

Here are some of those character traits worth remembering. It means that we are verbally trustworthy. We speak truth. We do not lie.

We do not put a spin on the report or the story or the statement. We are privately pure. We hide no shameful secrets.

We live no double life. It means we are intellectually honest. We're not guilty of plagiarism, what we write, we wrote.

We didn't copy from someone else and not give them credit. We check our facts so that what we state as fact, we can back up from another reliable source outside our own. It means we're ethically clear and clean. We have nothing to hide or fear. We're thorough. We have the highest business practices based on honesty. We do not blame others for our wrongdoings or our bad decisions.

We own them. We do not fail to admit our failures. We're openly vulnerable.

A person of integrity acknowledges his or her own weaknesses or lack of knowledge. If we don't know, we say, I don't know. We don't fake it. We don't deny or cover up our inadequacies.

We acknowledge them. We make no attempt to impress others or to make a name for ourselves. We're morally pure and relationally fair. We refuse to participate in acts of corruption, though everyone else does so. We do not. We do not commit acts of deception or manipulation. We don't use people or take unfair advantage of them because of our powerful title or position. Note, the more powerful one's position, the more the need for self-awareness and the greater the need to check up to determine one's own checkpoints and restraints. No one else has to put a restraint on us. We do that on ourselves.

When you consider a life like that, you take a deep breath and ask, is anyone qualified? Of course. Of course. God's never given a standard we're not able to live up to. He empowers us. He enables us. He smiles on our actions when we live like that. Even though we may be the exception rather than the rule, he finds great delight when his people walk in integrity, which prompted me to begin a series on walking in integrity through times of adversity.

In answering the question, can anyone live up to it, I decided to begin with a man who did so. His name is Daniel. Daniel was a prophet, yes, also just a man. Not part angel, not semi-perfect, just a man. Before you talk yourself out of thinking you could live like Daniel lived, pause and remember he's human just like you are. Even though there is no sin recorded against him, he's sinful.

He's depraved, born with a sinful nature. But he stood out above the others because of his integrity. People who have integrity always do.

They always do. The back story of Daniel's life is the Medo-Persian Empire, which was vast, governed by a king named Darius. And because a vast kingdom is often corrupt, financial misdealings, lack of honesty, people you can't trust, Darius decided he would set up a plan to keep his empire as clean as possible. So we read in the first verse that he decided to divide the kingdom into provinces, 120 of them, and to appoint a high officer to rule over each province. Your Bible may read, strange word, satraps.

It's an old Persian word for governor. He appointed 120 to govern, one each per province, and on top of that, he chose three to watch over those 120 translated administrators to supervise the high officers and to protect the king's interest. So Darius decided, if I'm going to keep any kind of control on the kingdom, I've got to have people I can trust. So he carefully chose these 122 people, really 123, but one stood out above the others.

We read that Daniel proved himself more capable. If you're a teacher in your classroom, you have a student or two in that category. They just stand out. If you're a coach, you have a few athletes who stand out.

Sometimes they're so good, they earn a scholarship to college or they get on the Olympic team. They stand out. If you're in business and you have an employee who just seems everything, seems to do everything right, follows the directions, thinks creatively, is responsible, diligent and all the above, that person stands out. That's what we see in Daniel. Daniel stood out. In fact, we read because of his exceptional or great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire, much like we would think of a prime minister. So Daniel would be the one, even not only over the empire, but over the other 122 officers. Now, let's take off our rose-colored glasses. Let's look at this realistically. What do you think the other 122 thought of that?

You think they go, good for Daniel. That is terrific. Are you kidding? They were eaten up with jealousy, envy. Even though they may have known intellectually that he outdid them in most areas, they didn't want him to be promoted over them. Even though it says he possessed an extraordinary spirit, quite likely included a great work ethic. He was competent. He was honest. He was accountable. He gave attention to details and priorities. He was loyal to authority.

He probably was great in relational skills, and so that didn't go unnoticed. The king decided I'm going to put him over all of them. The news of Darius's plan quickly spread among those 122 others, the governors and the supervisors. There's a mixture of resentment and envy and jealousy.

It never fails. So what did they do? Well, we see it in action, verse 4, then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs. So they began to rifle through his files. In today's terms, they checked his computer. They went through the details of his life. They asked other people about him. It was like an ancient 60 Minutes investigation on Daniel's life. Probably he knew about it. What's interesting to me is that we read not one word of Daniel's panic.

He's not afraid. Remember, when you have integrity, you have nothing to hide. There's no dirt to find. There's no scandal to uncover.

There's no payola. There's no self-serving. So Daniel doesn't have some kind of knee-jerk reaction against this to cover up his wrong real quickly. There isn't wrong going on. He's living in integrity. Integrity is like a warm, thick blanket on a cold night.

It gives you comfort and security. So they couldn't find anything. They were frustrated.

End of verse 4 says they couldn't find anything to criticize or condemn. Pause and imagine. Put yourself in Daniel's sandals. Let the investigation go on around the way you do your business. Handle your finances. What you view on the internet. How you conduct your life when no one is looking.

How you handle your expense account when you're on the road. All of these things are very real. We read that they couldn't find anything to criticize or condemn because he was faithful, responsible, completely trustworthy. There's much more about Daniel's character that Chuck Swindoll wants to show us. He's talking about the essential ingredient for a godly life, and this is Insight for Living. To learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at insightworld.org.

Well as a compliment to this brand new teaching series, we'd like to point you to a helpful resource. Chuck will be citing many of our biblical heroes to build a strong case for integrity, men like Daniel, Noah, and Joseph. And he wrote a book that ties in naturally with this topic. It's titled Joseph, a Man of Integrity and Forgiveness.

We believe this book will help you understand how to integrate personal integrity into the everyday issues of your life. One of your fellow listeners recently left a message for Chuck. Her husband and sons have served in the military, and she said, Chuck, thank you for your service as a minister and as a Marine, and thank you for your wisdom. As a high school teacher, it's been tough the last few years, and I just keep showing love, grace, and mercy to my kids.

It's hard. But through your books, I understand the Bible so much more than I ever had. Chuck's biography on Joseph is titled A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness. To purchase a copy, call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to insight.org slash offer. You often hear me say that Insight for Living is made possible not through the purchase of books and other resources, but through the voluntary donations of friends like you. And our monthly companions play a significant role in advancing our mission. To become a monthly companion, call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or follow the simple instructions at insight.org slash monthly companion. Join us when Chuck Swindoll describes the essential ingredient for a godly life, Wednesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, The Essential Ingredient for a Godly Life, was copyrighted in 2021 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-02 07:12:09 / 2023-07-02 07:19:48 / 8

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