They say that integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. For the Christian, I think it goes a step further, because we know that there is always Someone who’s looking. Knowing that God is faithful to discipline those He loves (Hebrews 12:6) and the fact that we will one day give an account for our deeds here on Earth (2 Cor. 5:10; Matthew 12:36) can be compelling motives for adjusting our behavior. However, knowing that God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6) should also propel our actions. We may not see those rewards here on Earth – they may be of the eternal and permanent variety – but we know that God has promised that doing the things He commands will reap blessings in our life – either in this one or the next.
So we must consider, what does God bless? It’s not just those actions that conform to the standard beliefs on what is considered “good” or “justified”, but I believe that God wants His followers to conform to a higher standard. God’s standards means we pay our debt, even when there may be a legal way to get out of it, because God wants us to be keepers of our word (Matthew 5:37, James 5:12). It means that we admit what we’ve done wrong, even if the best chance for “getting off” is to make a case that justifies our actions, because God wants us to respect the authorities that He’s put over us (I Peter 2:13-17). It means that we love those who are difficult to love because by this, people will know that we are His (John 13:35). We do all of this not just because we know that God commands us to do so, but because in one way or another, He will bless us through them, and it will cause our lives to glorify Him.
When the best thing is hard to do, it’s often easy to settle for something else that could be considered “right.” May we instead judge our actions by whether it’s the God-honoring thing, believing that He will bless that which brings Him the most glory.