Living an Integrated Life

Today I read 1 Timothy 5-6, Titus 1-3, and chapter 6 in Integrity. As I read this morning one of the things that struck me was the importance of relationships and making sure you are leading from a place of integration instead of compartmentalization. In both Timothy and Titus, Paul is laying out the importance of choosing leaders who lives model what a follower of Jesus Christ should look like. He talked not only about their personal spiritual lives, which is very important, he also talked about their home lives and the importance of running the home as a representation of what it means to run a church. If you can’t run your home, then your ministry will reflect that inability. Not only that, but you will constantly be distracted by the problems of home and, as is the case for many men, you will probably spend more time with the ministry and neglect your home because that is where you feel the most respect and sense of accomplishment. With those distractions it is only a matter of time before a leader will burn out or crash and burn in their personal life.

Then Paul goes on to model this concern with living and integrated life and seeing how you would normally live your life through the lens of our faith by sending Onesimus back to them who was a run away slave. He tells them to treat him like they would treat Paul himself. Paul recognizes that he was problem for them in the past, but lets them know about this man’s changed life and that he needs to be respected as a brother and in Christ and given a chance. Paul stands up for this guy even in the debts he owes his masters by telling them that he will repay Onesimus’s debts himself and then reminds them that they owe Paul their very souls due to the ministry he did there among them.

What struck me about this was the way in which Paul was a man worthy to follow. Not only did he come and lay down the agenda for the church and lead a very aggressive church planting ministry, he also was real and vulnerable with people and showed that he loved them and would step up to the plate for them if they needed it. Here was a slave who deserved to be punished harshly and have fines levied against him for his disobedience and Paul, one of the apostles, goes to bat for him and puts his own reputation on the line for him. I bet this slave felt so loved, supported, and validated there was no way he was going to do anything to let Paul down and I bet he lived an inspired life as a result of that support. I pray that I am a man who inspires people that way and lives and integrated life where people know my weaknesses and know that I have their backs and will support them when they need it. As the Integrity book said, the balance of strength and vulnerability those are the traits of someone with integrity. I pray that my home life and every other aspect of my life will always be integrated to the person people follow as Pastor is the same person at home and everywhere else in his life. There is true freedom and trust in having no hidden issues or hiding how you feel at various points in your life as long as those things do not burden or distract others from the mission and call (appropriate vulnerability).

Lord, please help me to be a man whose life models the gospel no matter what snapshot people see. May even my failures be evidence of grace that points others to you. I know I can do nothing apart from you even though I try to sometimes. Please help me to depend and rely on you more. Help me to be a man of integrity. Amen.
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