The current culture is in a leadership crisis. The lack of integrity in all aspects of modern culture has created a leadership vacuum. This lack of integrity has created divided loyalties, hypocrisy, and ambiguity. This crisis is not limited to the culture but it has infiltrated the church as can be seen by scandals that have rocked the Church in American in recent times. Every thing from high profile pastors being caught in martial infidelities to the local level where church financial officers are guilty of embezzling church funds. Integrity stresses the importance of unity of the personality and wholeness of the person. For leaders to be effective, they must have influence. To have influence, they must have integrity. To have integrity, the leader’s words must match her actions.
Strength of character is not won overnight. It is a rare commodity in a world focused on instant gratification. The modern world is lacks role models of integrity. The meaning of integrity has been corrupted by culture. With reality shows promoting values antithetical to the idea of integrity, it is no small wonder that people no longer know the meaning of the word. To test one’s integrity individuals must simply ask if they are being true to themselves, their leaders, and their followers.
Paul addresses the issue of integrity in leadership in his letter to the Ephesians. The book of Ephesians is unique in the New Testament canon as it is one of two letters Paul writes to churches that are not in theological turmoil. It is a brief letter composing six chapters which can be easily read in fifteen minutes but take a lifetime to digest the lessons contained within it. A simple outline of the book shows that the first three chapters deal with theological discussions centering on the believers position as being “in Christ.” Being in Christ assures the believer her position in Heaven. The earnest of this promise as the King James Version puts it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This means the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of the believer’s position before Christ. With this in mind, the question arises as how a believer is to live. This can be shown through the context and content, illustrations, and applications.
Context and Content
In the first eighteen verses of chapter one, the Apostle Paul points out the unity of the Trinity in the matter of salvation. Paul sums it up as the Father selecting, the Son saving, and the Spirit sealing the believer. He furthers this theme in pointing to salvation being the result of grace. Believers who were strangers to the covenant of God were brought near by the blood of Christ and thus becoming members of the household of God. Paul describes this as a mystery. With the theological groundwork laid, Paul begins in chapter four to urge the unity of the church. He calls all Christians to walk in a worthy manner.
In verse one of chapter four, Paul is literally begging when he uses the word “beseech” (NKJV) to ask the Ephesians to walk in unity. The focus of the believer is to be God. When the church focuses on God and the calling He places in the believers’ lives, it can accomplish great things. This is known in the secular world as teamwork.
Each member is gifted by God for a specific purpose within the Kingdom. All believers are one body. Paul uses the illustration of the church as the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. This is a powerful metaphor. Just as the human body is not as effective a biological machine if it is missing a member, the body of Christ is not as effective a spiritual machine if it is missing a member. Though modern medicine has made it possible to replace a thumb with a big toe, that toe is still not as good at doing the thumb’s job as the thumb was. Believers are brought into the body through the redemption offered in the blood of Christ and are made new creations. With the realization of what was accomplished at Calvary, the believer should strive not to grieve the Holy Spirit and one of the ways the Spirit is grieved is by dissention in the church.