I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.
1 Chronicles 29:17
Integrity. It comes from the same root as integer, integral, and integrated. It means "whole, complete, of one piece." Integrity means living one life. It means that who you are at church, is who you are at work, is who you are at home, is who you are when no one's looking.
When you come to the end of your life, you're going to want to look back on a life of integrity. You're going to want to be able to say, "I was honest. I was fair. I kept my promises. I didn't cheat. I didn't fake it. I did my best to live one life."
When you come to the end of your life, integrity is going to matter a lot to you. So does it matter to you now? Are you striving to live a life of integrity?
Golf is a game of integrity (well, it's supposed to be, at least.) If you play golf, you keep your own score. Your golf buddies trust you to find your ball, hit it where it lies, and write down honestly the number of times you tried to hit the ball. If you're a person of integrity, that's exactly what you'll do. You won't cheat. You won't move the ball. You won't lie about your score.
But you might ask for a mulligan.
In the game of golf, a mulligan is a do-over. You tee off and the ball goes off into the woods. You look at your golf buddies and say, "I'll take a mulligan." Assuming they agree, your bad shot doesn't count. Like it never even happened. You get to start from scratch and take a whole 'nother shot.
In the game of life, God keeps the scorecard. And God's scorecard is completely accurate. You can't cheat, you can't move the ball, and there's no use lying about your score. If you've messed up, God knows.
But here's the good news: You can ask for a mulligan.
Jesus Christ offers the ultimate mulligan. More than just a chance to hit the ball again. A real do-over. A completely clean slate.
When Jesus died on the cross, he took your scorecard--with all its bogeys, double bogeys, and triple bogeys--and exchanged it for his perfect one.
And now if you will just ask -- if you will have the integrity to admit that you've messed up--and the integrity to ask for forgiveness -- Jesus will give you that mulligan.
Living with integrity does not mean being perfect. We're all sinners. Even people with integrity mess up. The difference is that when they mess up, they 'fess up. They don't cover up, they own up. They admit their mistake, apologize, and do whatever they can to make it right. That's integrity.
Are you a person of integrity? Are you doing your best to live one life? Is there anything you're trying to cover up? Anything you need to make right?
Anything you need to confess and ask forgiveness for?
Why not do it now?