Instead of edging God out, Jesus instead calls us to the integrity of heart –to exalt God only. He calls us to make decisions based on what the right thing to do is. We know what’s right because we study His Word, and His examples teach us. We align our values, our choices, and our leadership to bring glory to God and to lift up Jesus as our leadership role model.
When faced with integrity forks in the road, we ask:
- Will Jesus be disappointed if I do this?
- Will making this choice bring glory to God?
- Will this store up treasure in heaven?
- If we advocate for this issue, how will it serve as an example of integrity-based leadership?
- How will this statement align with my Biblical values?
- How can I serve this person?
There is a scene in the movie Les Miserables in which an ex-convict, Jean Valjean, has just been released after nineteen years in prison. Rejected by innkeepers who do not want to take in a convict, Valjean sleeps wherever he can. A Catholic Bishop takes him in and gives him shelter. In the middle of the night, Valjean steals the bishop’s solid silverware and flees. As he is about to take the candlesticks as well, the bishop discovers him. Valjean hits the bishop in the head, fleeing as he leaves behind the candlesticks. He is caught, but the bishop rescues him by claiming to police that the silverware was a gift and, at that point, gives him his two silver candlesticks, chastising him in front of the officers for leaving in such a rush and forgetting them.
After the police leave, the bishop tells Valjean, “With this silver, I have bought your soul. I’ve ransomed you from fear and hatred, and now I give you back to God.” It is a beautiful picture of the power to serve. The bishop could have had Valjean arrested; he could have been angry over the affront to his dignity or fearful of Valjean as a convict. He could have been too proud to allow Valjean to stay the night. Instead, he did not think of his own needs. He challenged Valjean through serving him – and in doing so, exalted God only.
When was the last time your choices exalted God only?