February was designated Black History Month. Many noteworthy Black men and women were intentionally honored for 28 days, due to their outstanding contributions to society. Since March is Women’s History month, many women will be celebrated for their unique contribution to society.
Sojourner Truth, Fanny Crosby, Mary Bethune McLeod, Mother Teresa, and Rosa Parks are examples of women of integrity who made spiritual, historical, educational, social and humanitarian contributions within society. In the scriptures, Esther, Deborah, Ruth, Mary (the mother of Jesus) represented Biblical examples of women of integrity. They were history makers! Now, Priscilla Shirer, Serita jakes, Joyce Meyers, Christine Caine, and countless others are modern day examples of highly esteemed women of integrity. They are female role models who are representing the kingdom and impacting the world for Jesus.
As a Christian woman, I especially respect and give deference to Mrs. Edna L. Vann (aunt), Mrs. Claudie M. Johnson (maternal grandmother), and Mrs. Madelon J. Curtis (mother). These three beloved female relatives purposefully taught and modeled before me the fundamental truths about being a woman of integrity. I expressly heard them repeatedly say, “Please God. Tell the truth. Keep your promises. Add value to the lives of others.” Aunt Edna, gram, and mom helped me to understand that integrity is who I am and what I do. Dr. Steven C. Riser stated that, “integrity is not optional.” Integrity matters! The women of influence in my life often taught me that integrity is the remedy for inconsistency.
What is integrity? There are many definitions of integrity. Generally speaking, I agree with those who define integrity as an inner sense of wholeness (not dividedness), authenticity, and honesty. Only Jesus makes us whole. We are altogether complete in Him. Women of integrity possess strong moral principles. Women of integrity do the right thing, no matter the setting, or situation, even when no one is watching.
Without a doubt, God has watched over me since my birth. However, on January 29, 1978, I made a definite choice to become a woman of God. Then, I realized that the Lord not only watches, but upholds and helps me to live a life of integrity. Shortly after I accepted the gift of salvation from His hand and heart, I saw a sign that read, “If you were convicted for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Integrity is a piece of the convincing evidence. That question convicted me! It caused me to seriously rely on God more, as I resolved to live within the boundaries of integrity.
Why is integrity important, especially among women?
Integrity precedes credibility. Women yearn to be believable and credible throughout life. All women can aspire to be honest, moral and good. However, it is the Lord who empowers individuals, particularly women in this case, to actually live an integrous life. Integrity is important among all, particularly women, in that it is a quality that glorifies God. Integrity is an aspect of God’s own character. We are made in His image and likeness. He is light and life. Our society is directly influenced by a spirit of darkness and death. Jesus (the Son of God), chose to do right, no matter the cost. He is trustworthy. Although unbelievers challenged His reputation, His character was always intact and His motives were pure. He exemplified a servant leader.
Virtuous women live in the strength of the Lord. Integrity is a byproduct of virtuous living. The Lord is glorified in the life of a woman of integrity. The blood of Jesus cleanses us whenever we “miss the mark” and fall short of His excellent way. Women of integrity are not sinless, but, thank God, over time they sin less and less.
The Spirit of God empowers us from the inside out. The Word of God guides us toward integrity. The Bible is filled with counsel and examples of women who lived lives of integrity. Pastor and author, Rick Ezell commented that integrity influences and impacts those around us in both a positive and powerful way. Most men love, protect, and respect the women of integrity in their lives. If they marry a woman of integrity, typically their own reputation and life is enhanced. Invariably, children and families benefit by the presence and influence of women of integrity (mothers, aunts, cousins, family, friends, etc.) who serve God, and love, nurture, and support them. Integrity helps others to know what to expect of me.
As a women of God, our private and public “face” ought to be the same. If this is not true, confusion exists and communications can become corrupt rather than edifying. Practicing transparent communication among family and friends is essential. Likewise, accountability, especially among women of integrity, is important. Mentoring relationships can serve to help build integrity among women.
Relationships are valuable. The rhythm of our relationships count. The scriptures says that if we walk with wise persons, then we become wiser. In the same manner, if we keep close company with those possessing Godly integrity, then we are inclined to become more integrous. ”As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens the countenance of their friend.” Proverbs 27:17. We all have blind spots. It is vital that we receive and heed feedback from each other.
Constructive feedback can help to build integrity in our lives. Integrity is not automatic, it is birthed and built over time through especially through trials, tests, and challenges. Integrity will not allow us to become slaves to people, feelings, impulses, or circumstances. Consistency really is a companion of Godly integrity. Integrity helps us to earn the trust of others.
Proverbs 11:3 states that Integrity guides me, but perversity destroys me. Proverbs 10:9 states that when we walk in integrity, we walk securely. On the other hand, whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Integrity is not easy but it is worth it and it is rewarding. Integrous women have no fear of being found out. His peace constantly settles us.
Globally, the importance of being a woman of integrity is priceless! Solomon said in Proverbs 31:10, the price of virtue and integrity is “far above rubies.” Its values increases moment by moment. Although many of us recognize and are grateful for Women’s History Month, women of integrity, the world over, are rare, and should be held in high esteem daily. Sisters who submit to the Holy Spirit, obey the Word, and endeavor to imitate Him should truly be celebrated!
“God works in me (us), giving me (us) the desire and power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
A truth written by Dr. Lisa C. Chavers.