Thursday, April 17, 2008

some call it a riot... i call it integrity

Well regionals is coming right up! Most of our speech and debate prep is done, but I think I need to prep my mind spiritually. The tourney we are going to has been dubbed "the RIOT." I have no idea what this stands for, but I'm sure it'll be fun. As good as that is, I don't want to go just for the fun. On the other hand, I don't want to go just to win. Earlier this week I was thinking how I kinda need a goal to strive for. I had been thinking alot about integrity and thought it might make an interesting goal. Besides that, in TP debate and in DUO, I am working with a partner. For us to do our best, we need to be of one mind. In the same way, I need to be entirely committed to God.
I have to say, though, that before this week I thought integrity was the same thing as wisdom... so, first, lets clear up what integrity is!

According to the American Heritage Dictionary:
in·teg·ri·ty (ĭn-těg'rĭ-tē) n. 1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code. 2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness. 3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.
Looking at the definitions right now, I think number 3 is the closest to what I'm envisioning. Yes, I will call this, at least to myself, the integrity tournament. What does that mean for me? I want to avoid getting caught up in the little things of the world, instead keeping God in my heart. I'm going to be striving to do God's moral will at this tourney. Not that I don't seek to grow in Christ outside of tourneys, but at tournaments it's so easy to forget what I'm working towards, to get competitive, or to lose hope.
After doing a bit of fun, but thought-provoking, research I found that integrity has bunch of aspects and implications I didn't expect. Here's some of what I found:
1 Cor 15:58 - "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

In the ESV bible, the words "stand firm" are rendered "be steadfast." There's four things here, it seems. 1. Stand firm: don't back down. 2. Let nothing move you: what do you think nothing means? Since I have been crucified with Christ, I need to throw all of my sinful nature away. I cannot get carried off with jealously and discontentment. 3. Always give yourself fully to the work of the LORD: I need to dedicate myself to serving God and others, instead of my own desires. 4. Your labor in the LORD is not in vain: all the things I do that honor God have a purpose. He will work things out exactly to his amazing, big-picture plan. Basic lesson: stay firm on your commitment to God.
Neh 7:2 - "I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do."

Wow, this guy got put in charge not because of his awesome leadership or communication skills, but because of this one-mindedness and fear of the LORD. Pretty cool, huh?
Rom 15:5-6 - "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Besides being steadfast to God, I need to have unity with my partner in debate and DUO. Now I really like this verse because it gives me not just the mandate of unity, but also the reason for unity. If we want to communicate Christ and glorify Him, we need to be as one - otherwise we'll give off conflicting messages. This really seems to be speaking to what sort of attitude we have while competing and the way we carry ourselves in the rounds. I must seek to be united to better glorify God.
Tit 2:7-8 - "In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."

I am an example to others. I am not saying that in a way that makes me better than anybody else. I am simply reminding myself that nothing I do goes unwatched. It is imperative that my example is a good one, that it reflects the hope that I have in Jesus. I am to be such an example that anybody who doesn't like what I have to say will find my words and actions irreproachable and irrefutable. That's a tough job!
Col 3:1-4 - "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

So, here is the conclusion. If I am girl of integrity, my life is in Christ and it is all about Him. I need to set aside my desires to do well and to have fun, in view of what God has done for me and my role in glorifying Him. I want to give Jesus my whole and undivided attention, whatever the name of the tournament, whenever I'm in His world.
{and hope does not put us to shame}