Weekend Reading: Intentional Integrity
The Book: Garnett Reid has written one of the most practical little books on the topic of personal integrity I have ever read. Intentional Integrity (2011, Randall House Publications) is a relatively short, easy read that focuses with laser-like precision on correcting the integrity deficit in today’s culture one individual at a time. At just over one hundred pages of text, Reid does not use unnecessary words to make his point.
In Intentional Integrity, Reid examines the life of integrity Job lived in the face of the profound situation God allowed him to experience. He concentrates on Job chapter 31 as Job’s oath, or defense of the life he has lived and how he commits to live out his remaining days.
As Reid examines Job 31, he identifies (and devotes a chapter each to) ten characteristics, or traits, of Job’s integrity:
Additionally, each chapter is laid out in a similar fashion. First, he examines the text and explains it within its larger biblical and historical context. Next, he describes the current struggle with that particular trait. Finally, he lays out a strategy to develop the desire characteristic in the individual’s own life. This method of writing makes this book incredibly practical.
The Point: By placing his trust and confidence in God, Job was able to develop the characteristics that lead to a life of integrity. It does not happen by accident, it is intentional (thus the title of the book). While the believer is called to live a life of integrity, we know it is not living this life that causes us to have a relationship with God. On the contrary, it is this relationship which should cause us to choose a life of integrity. Here is how Reid describes this:
Our longing for God in those times is radically different from the soul without Him, the sufferer on the outside looking in to the possibility of faith. For that person I must correct what threatens to be a fatal misconception. Job has touted in innocence at great length in this disclaimer. Like a skilled museum docent, he has interpreted an exhibit of integrity piece-by-piece – not as a disinterested guide, but as a fervent advocate. Do not think, however, that a person can begin a relationship with God simply by pursuing integrity through a blameless lifestyle. Please dismiss such a notion altogether from your thinking. The only way to meet God is through trust, a total dependence on Him as you take His word for what He provides. Integrity is the result of knowing God, not the means to know Him. It expresses our life in God. (emphasis his)
I think the main point Reid is making in Intentional Integrity is that in a relationship with God, and with his help, we can live a life of integrity by making the commitment in specific areas of our lives to live the way we are instructed in scripture.
The Result: This is a great little book filled with scripture and practical application. The reader is confronted with truth, but he is not left there. He is given real help in pursuing that truth and its application to life.
As a pastor and teacher, this book is helpful beyond the personal application. This would provide an excellent starting point for a preaching or teaching series. It would also be a great book for a Sunday school class or small group discussion. In fact, the only thing I think the book might be lacking is a series of discussion questions or conversation starters.
This is a book I would whole-heartedly recommend for anyone, especially those in any sort of leadership position (whether church, business, civic, family, etc.). It is an incredibly helpful book for life and ministry. Go buy it now!