There is a portion of American Christianity that is hard at work trying to convince the rest of American Christianity that the primary job of the Church is to feed the poor. Okay, that's limited, but they're really interested in the social gospel, not the Gospel. They will point to passages like this: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God ... But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full" (Luke 6:20, 24). They ignore the fact that this does not say, "Help feed the poor" and use it to point out that poor people are important and rich people are ... wrong. The main problem is that the vast majority of those who are arguing that the poor are heaven-bound simply because they're poor and the rich are
Every good Christian knows this fabulous verse. In fact, likely all I have to tell you is the reference and you'll be able to quote it: Romans 8:28. That's right. "God works all things together for good to those who love Him." Great verse. Wonderful promise. It's not a contract; it's a promise. God does it. It doesn't require anything of you. God does it. How easy can it be? And yet, every good Christian would likely have to admit if he was to be honest that when unpleasant events occur, our first response is not "Wow! I wonder what good God is going to work this into! I can hardly wait to see!" We know that we are commanded to "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (James 1:2) , but we don't, do we? Some better than others, for sure, but as a whole we're just not so good at this. You see, we are inconsistent, and for me it destroys the message.
"Consistency" is the concept I've been waving, but there is another term, a better term. If you took basic math in high school, you learned the term, "integer". An integer is a whole number. It has no fractions, no decimals. It is one number. It isn't a part of another number. If you take the number 1.5, for instance, it's midway between 1 and 2. It is, in a sense, part of two numbers. Integers are whole numbers in themselves. The word is also the source of our word and concept, "integrity". Integrity is technically "The quality or condition of being whole or undivided." You have integrity when your entire life is whole ... undivided. When your life and your beliefs and your words all line up, you are a whole, you are consistent, you have integrity. That's why there's no plural for the word. It references only one.
What about you? Are you a person of integrity? Does your life match what you say you believe? Does your life match what you say? Are you consistent in what you preach and what you do? If not, are you aiming for it? Are you aware that a lack of integrity goes a long way to destroying the message? Something to think about.