All of us want to leave a legacy we’re proud of, but we’re not always sure how to start. In this excerpt from the True Virtue Bible Plan, we’ll discover that it’s not as complicated as we might think.
Most of us cringe at virtue signaling because it’s often a misalignment of someone’s behaviors and beliefs. If a person says something matters to them, but their life doesn’t reflect that priority, it’s hard to take them seriously—which comes down to an integrity issue.
Integrity can take a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy, and it’s one of the most critical qualities of our character. That’s why one of our value statements as a church says, “If we live with integrity, nothing else matters. If we don’t live with integrity, nothing else matters.”
If we lose our integrity, we lose our influence, and we lose our ability to leave a legacy—at least one we won’t regret. We see this play out far too often when good leaders lose their legacy after a single bad decision. Yet, no one sets out to destroy their integrity. So why does it happen?
The virtue of integrity is easy to value but difficult to validate. As you think about your integrity, consider these questions:
- Do your beliefs match your behaviors?
- Would other people say you have integrity?
- Do the people who know you the best love you the most?
- Does your private life match your public persona?
These are tough questions because it reveals whether we’re virtue signaling or really living out our values. So what does it really look like to live a life of integrity and leave a legacy you won’t regret?
Samuel gives us a pretty good example. He was a leader who served his people well—so much so that, toward the end of his life, he asked whether anyone had any complaints against him. The response was:
“No,” they replied, “you have never cheated or oppressed us, and you have never taken even a single bribe.” 1 Samuel 12:4 NLT
Wouldn’t it be incredible to leave a legacy of integrity like that?
So how do we do it?
There’s not some quick, tweetable, three-step process. But every time you make the decision to do the right thing because it’s the right thing, you’re building your integrity muscle. The virtue of integrity doesn’t come with a special formula but rather a lifetime of faithfulness.
When we invest time on our integrity, here are some benefits we’ll see as a result:
1. Integrity opens the door to deeper intimacy with God.
2. Integrity serves as a clear guide in a complex world.
3. Integrity gives you constant peace in your heart because you’re not trying to live a lie.
4. Integrity leads to respect and influence—opening doors for you to one day leave a legacy you’re proud of.
So, what is your integrity worth? Better question: What do your actions say your integrity is worth?
Ultimately, the value of your integrity determines the value of your legacy. And here’s the good news—even if you’ve missed the mark in the past, you have an opportunity in the present to refocus on the virtue of integrity.
Here’s a prayer for you as you pursue a legacy of integrity:
God, I want to leave a legacy of integrity like Samuel. Show me any areas in my life that miss the mark, and guide me as I work toward a life of integrity. Lead me away from temptations, and give me the discipline and desire to do what pleases You. In Jesus’ name, amen.