Favor is providence; divine momentum towards the things that we are meant to do. Favor is the smile of God as He opens doors, breaks down walls, and places us in greater spheres of influence. Integrity is the stoutness of our structure, our own personal resolve to let our decisions be aligned with our values. It is essentially the sum of our choices and the consistency by which we make them. Below we will look at how favor needs integrity to provide its foundation, inspire its growth, and ensure that it is passed on to the next generation.
Though favor and integrity are separate entities, it is virtually impossible for one to be sustained without the other. To put it quite plainly, the favor that God places on our lives will give us influence, but it is the integrity of our character that will allow us to thrive under the weight of greatness. Just like a skyscraper cannot stand without a strong foundation, integrity will keep us from crumbling when the pressure is on.
Favor Will Get You There; Integrity Will Keep You
It’s funny how favor works sometimes… We’ve all seen people experience promotion in life. Whether it’s as simple as getting a raise at work, or as extravagant as writing a song that explodes on the charts, boosting the artist into the spotlight practically overnight. Favor has a way of drawing attention! There’s nothing wrong with attention, but the sad truth is that for every “zero to hero” story, there are many more scandals and stories of celebrities caught in the midst of moral self-destruction.
Do we say this to scare you away from influence? Absolutely NOT! The point is that often we don’t know how or when God will promote us. This makes our everyday choices and the values that we abide by all the more important. Because whether you like it or not, those choices will become habits, those habits will become lifestyles, and those lifestyles will be magnified all the more when you are put in a position of influence. Integrity protects us, allowing us to thrive, even when the stakes are high and the pressure is at its greatest.
Integrity fortifies our foundation, making sustainable growth possible.
Integrity Is How You Grow in Favor
When you have rock-solid integrity, it provides a foundation for you to grow in favor. Luke 16:10 comes right out and says it: “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” That verse is from the parable of the servants, and the context of the parable is this: when the Master comes back and finds that the faithful servants have grown the money he left them, he puts them in charge of cities. That’s a bit of a leap in promotion! “Here, you made me an extra thousand bucks; now go run Chicago for me.”
Jesus is illustrating a principle. It doesn’t matter how much favor you have or how much you’re in charge of now – if you steward what you have now with integrity, you will be ready to handle any level of promotion when it comes. If you’re honest about $5, you’ll be honest about $5,000 or $500,000 – because integrity is a heart issue; it’s a core value that doesn’t alter with your circumstances. Integrity will even protect you against attacks that try to tarnish your favor. The Good News translation of Psalm 55:22 actually says: “Leave your troubles with the Lord, and He will defend you; He never lets honest people be defeated.” Obviously, God loves you no matter what you do, and He is always ready to forgive, but integrity actually protects God’s favor on your life. And it protects His favor on the lives of your children, too.
Integrity Passes On an Inheritance of Favor
David – everyone’s favorite worship leader – is perhaps the greatest example of a life lived in integrity and a life rescued by God’s grace. While Saul spent years hunting David through the wilderness, David spent years proving his integrity by refusing over and over again to take the kingship by force. He would not gain power in an underhanded or dishonest way. His integrity in that area was rock solid – but, as we see from his later life, there were cracks elsewhere in his foundation.
David grew and grew in leadership favor – expanding the kingdom of Israel to a greater size than it had ever been – but he had difficulty in his family relationships (rebellious sons, an affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent death of a child). But here’s the kicker – David repented for his failings in the area of integrity and God restored him, even giving him Solomon as an heir, through Bathsheba. From the get-go, Solomon had incredible and unparalleled favor as a leader: Israel flourished in wealth and power, he continued to expand Israel’s territory, people from all over were pleased and awed by his wise leadership. The integrity that David showed in stewarding the favor of God resulted in an even greater inheritance of favor being passed down to his son.
Jesus “grew in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52) and so should we. How are your daily choices preparing you for greatness? Are there any specific areas of your character that God is highlighting in this season? As much as God loves boosting us into our dreams, he cares for us way too much to let us go forward unprepared and unprotected. That’s why integrity is an essential to leading a lifestyle of worship.
What are your favorite verses or stories in scripture that illustrates integrity and favor? Please share in the comments below.