What’s Your Profile Say?
A few years ago, I opened my first Everyone’s Connected home page, or otherwise known as an EC page. While I knew about the EC phenomenon, I didn’t really get into it until some of my youth kept asking if they could connect to me. So, I opened up my own page and have been learning a few tricks along the way. One thing I always do is look at a person’s profile page to learn more about them. I have found in virtual conversing, whether it is internet chatting, instant messaging, or blogging, some do not always tell the truth about themselves in their profile page. What once was a tall, dark, intellectual, and kind millionaire turns into a short, barely-out-of-sixth-grade, voice-still-crackin’, still-riding-a-bike-to-junior-high boy. All of this because someone finds out that your profile page doesn’t match your true identity. What many do not realize is that even in the virtual world, people that lie on their profile page are eventually found out in the process of conversation.
Even if you do not have the internet (If this is you, welcome to the twenty-first century.), you are creating a profile page for the world to view. Your profile page is the things that you let others know about you; a Christian, a friend, etc. Unfortunately, not everyone’s profiles match their real life. Some say they are Christians, but do not live it. Some say they are moral, but have no restraint when they get on the internet. I could go on and on. All of us know people like this in our lives. In fact, you can tell a lot about yourself by what you are tempted to put on your profile page.
Paul knew of this temptation when he wrote to Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12). In the original translation, the word conversation meant life. First century Christians did not separate their conversation from their life; it was the same. So this verse could be re-written to mean be an example of the believers, in word, in life. Paul was admonishing Timothy to make sure his life matched what he said. Paul was making sure that Timothy had the most important attribute of Jesus Christ—integrity. If you could seek one thing this year, seek Christian integrity. Integrity is making sure that what you say matches what you do. It is making sure that your profile page counterparts with your life.
Why is it more important now than ever to have integrity?
- Integrity is necessary to be apostolic. So many people have tried to say that they are apostolic that many do not even know what apostolic means anymore. Apostolic means that we do what the apostles did. They were not impressed with careers, money, position, and lots of bling-bling. They wanted their life to mimic the life of Jesus Christ. They knew that if their message was going to have integrity, their life must match their profile. If we want to be apostolic, we must do what Jesus did. I know it sounds simple, but that is why people are tired of religion. Most Christian’s lives do not match Jesus’ example. Even Jesus challenged his listeners by saying, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:37-38). An apostolic person seeks to mimic the life of Jesus and His followers.
- The unbeliever is not stupid. Many times we think we can pull the wool over people’s eyes. Just as someone’s flaws in their profile will eventually find them out, so will your life prove if you have integrity. It only takes time. An unbeliever knows when someone is just like them. Many knew that Jesus was different because his actions were completely in sync with his words. Do not fool yourself; others know if you are real.
- Our integrity casts an impression of Jesus. If the unbeliever doesn’t believe that you have integrity, then they will not believe that your God has integrity. No longer do people look to lists and charts to know if they will follow God, they look to us and ask, “Would the world be better if there were two of them?” So our integrity is directly connected to the message of Jesus Christ.
- Our integrity defines our destiny. If what we think impacts our words, and our words impact our actions, and our actions impact our character, then our character will definitely determine our destiny. Where your life ends up at the end of the seventy to eighty years that God gives you (and even your eternity) will be determined by the integrity of your life right now. So make every choice matter—from where you spend your money to the friends you choose.
What are some practical steps to develop integrity in my life?
- Start right now! Make your very next decision a Christ-like decision and follow the example of the Bible.
- Be full of the Holy Spirit and practice spiritual disciplines. There are many good people with good traits, but true integrity can only come from being full of the Holy Spirit as discussed in Acts 2. This spiritual experience will lead you and guide you into all truth. A daily prayer life will help you stay focused on the things of God and will stir up the gift that God has given you.
- Let your testimony hold you accountable. This does not mean that you have to stand on the lunch table screaming, “God will destroy this school in thirty days if you do not repent!” (Although I want to be there if you do it.) Your testimony is making your words match your actions. For example, if I sit next to a person on an airplane and we start conversing, I always weave in the fact that I am a minister and that I am happily married. This action holds my integrity out for someone to test; my testimony saves me from making wrong decisions. Be the first to appropriately tell someone that you are Christian or that you have made moral decisions. For in a time of temptation, that testimony will hold you accountable and in the end save your integrity. If your whole school knows that you call yourself a Christian, you will be less likely to make a regrettable decision.
This generation is going to do things and see things in God that no other generation has experienced. New ideas and the rapid shrinking of our globe through new technology show exciting horizons for the kingdom of God. But, the only way that the followers of God will differentiate themselves from all of the other “brands of religion” is if we focus on the right thing first—our integrity. So check your profile page and edit anything that doesn’t match Jesus Christ; you will never regret it.