DAY 1: The Character List for Leaders1 Timothy 3:1–13; 4:12; Titus 1:5–9 For Week 8 of our series, the list(s) you will cover are in the Pastoral Epistles. These are three letters written by the Apostle Paul to his protégés and pastoral team leaders—Timothy and Titus. To both Timothy and Titus, Paul provides a character list overview of the qualities needed for those who will be in positions of leadership. For now, don’t worry about the specific meaning or roles related to the terms overseer, elder, deacon, or deaconess (women deacons). There is a diversity of terms used in the New Testament to describe people who had roles of leadership in the early church. What is consistent is the high standard of virtue these leaders MUST possess. You will find overlap, but create your own “word cloud” of virtues in the box below. The church and the world need leaders like this. When we don’t have leaders like this, organizations get into trouble. Pray for the leadership team of Living Word, that we would possess these qualities in growing measure. Hold us accountable if you see any of these qualities lacking. Always pray for leaders (1 Timothy 2:1–4).
DAY 2: The Meaning of IntegrityA Survey of Biblical Passages The English word integrity appears about 22 times in the Bible. Here are several of the most important passages. Each one is short. Skim read each one to see what it says about integrity and begin to compile a definition-description of integrity. 1 Kings 9:4 1 Chronicles 29:17 Nehemiah 7:2 Job 2:1-10 Psalm 25:21; 78:72 Proverbs 11:3 2 Corinthians 1:12 Titus 2:6–8 Here is how dictionary.com describes Integrity: (1) adherence to moral and ethical principles; (2) soundness of moral character; (3) honesty; (4) the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished; (5) in sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition; (6) internal consistency. Here are the synonyms from the thesaurus. The first set is about MORAL UPRIGHTNESS: honor, honorable, upstanding, good character, principles, ethics, moral, righteous, noble, virtue, decency, fair, sincere, truthful, honest, trustworthy. The second set is about CONSISTENCY: stable, durable, unified, whole, cohesion, undivided, togetherness, solidarity, soundness, sturdy, solid. Highlight any of the above words that describe you. Underline any words where you see improvement needed.
DAY 3: Above ReproachMatthew 22:15–23; 2 Timothy 2:22–3:5 You have two passages for today. The first is an encounter of Jesus with his enemies, the Pharisees. They want to trap Jesus with a conundrum that will put him a bad light no matter how he answers. However, the question they raise is a dilemma for them. Notice how they describe Jesus. What are the core qualities of integrity attributed to Jesus? We don’t usually think about Jesus having integrity, but he does! Look at the descriptions from Day 2 and ask about EVERY word—does it describe Jesus? The passage in 2 Timothy is another list. This list is not of virtue, but of vice. Look at all the vices that are listed. Jot them down below. What do you think as you look over the list? The lack of integrity means you are sneaky, shady, crafty, sly, deceitful, deceptive, dishonest, untrustworthy. You are unfair and unjust. You are inconsistent and unreliable. You vacillate. Paul says leaders, but really all of us, need to be ABOVE REPROACH (1 Timothy 3:2). It is the first virtue described for leaders. In your own words, what does it mean to be above reproach? What are the things that someone may be able to reproach you concerning? Pray for yourself, pray for the leaders of Living Word, pray for your organizations, that we would be full of integrity and above reproach.
DAY 4: Honest and “Legit”Ephesians 4:25–5:7 One of the longest moral-ethical teaching in the letters of the Apostle Paul is in Ephesians 4:17–5:20. You will look at the center section this week. Next week you will look at the rest of this passage. In Ephesians 4:25–5:7 most of the themes revolve around speech. Be honest. Be truthful. Be wholesome in speech. Don’t speak poorly of others. One of the most significant areas of integrity has to do with our words. It is easy to exaggerate, easy to spin things our way, easy to distort, easy to lie, easy to falsify, easy to leave out important details, easy to mislead, easy to give false impressions. Do you remember the old saying, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no”? Jesus said that in Matthew 5:37. How about “Honesty is the best policy”? Those words were first stated in that form in Jamestown, Virginia in 1599. But you find something similar in Proverbs 22:20–21: “Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve?” Whether it is the Boy Scout oath or being sworn in for your testimony on a court case, we should solemnly and joyfully tell the truth. When we speak in these ways we have integrity. One other theme in the passage has to do with honest labor and not stealing. That is also a part of integrity. Don’t cheat or steal from others (by the way, one of the 10 Commandments). Legitimate and honest work is part of integrity. Who has lost your trust because they did not sufficiently or consistently tell the truth?
DAY 5: Keeping CommitmentsPsalm 136; Psalm 37:3–6; Mark 14:49–51; Acts 15:37–39 I want to be kind and sensitive, but I also ask your permission to be frank. We are no longer very good at keeping commitments. There is a long list of reasons why we are no longer so good with this. The very cultural air we now breathe is mainly focused on the interests (and convenience and preferences) of the individual. When a commitment is no longer preferred, convenient, or desirable, then we don’t keep the commitment! When you make a commitment to someone or to something, it means you are “all in” concerning the specifics of the agreement. If you make a commitment to coach your kids’ soccer team, you just committed to being all in for the duration of the season. You may have added some qualifications up front, but if you did, that just defined the commitment you made. Now there are many others who depend on you to keep your commitment as it was defined and made. Commitment has been the foundation for stable relationships and for thriving groups of all kinds. When you’re not committed, then you stop showing up. When you’re not committed, you don’t contribute what you have to offer. When you’re not committed, you’re not doing your part. When you’re not committed and the going gets tough, you just stop going and you bail out. Marriage only works when there is mutual commitment to the marriage. The same for parenting. The same for work and for leadership. • Who are the people who depend on you to show up and do what you committed to do? • How are you doing on your commitments? • Are there new commitments you are considering? • Are there current commitments that need to be revisited? • How about your relationship with Jesus? Jesus always shows up and keeps his commitment to you. Are you showing up to be with Jesus? • Are you counting the cost of your commitments? (Luke 14:28) Integrity is all about commitments. Make good ones. Keep them and go the distance.
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