I often ask myself what it really means to live a life of integrity. Does it simply mean, leading your family well? Does it mean that I don’t look at pornography and lust after women who are not my wife? Or does being a man of integrity mean that I’m a good father to my children and husband to my wife? Yes, yes, and yes! However, living a life of integrity above all else requires one major thing . . . a decision. If you’re struggling with certain areas of your life, then you have to decide once and for all to make a change.
When we go down the wrong paths in life, we collect chains. Lust, anger, addiction, fear . . . these are all chains that hold us back from everything God has intended for us. I lived a good portion of my life bound up by the chains of addiction, lust, anger and fear and it nearly destroyed my marriage, my career and ultimately my relationship with God.
The Bible teaches us a great lesson about being tied up in chains and finding the freedom we all long for. It starts in Acts 12 where Peter has been locked up for preaching about Jesus. Peter was stuck there in prison with 2 chains tied around his hands and guards standing watch over him. I would say things looked pretty grim for Peter. If I were in his situation I’m pretty sure I’d feel hopeless, BUT . . .
7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
An important piece of this story is right there in the first sentence. When the angel of the Lord appeared, a LIGHT shone in the cell. Peter was surrounded by darkness. Not just literal darkness, but I’m positive he was doubting everything in that moment and feeling pretty low. When we’re feeling our lowest and our circumstances have us feeling defeated, simply invite God into your situation. Where God is, there is light. I John 1 says “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
Once God makes himself known in our situation, He tells us to act. In this story, the angel tells Peter to get up. As soon as Peter stood up, the chains fell off his wrist. Do you think the chains would have fallen off if Peter refused to get up? Would God have rewarded him if he decided to remain in his situation? I don’t think so. God is calling us to get up. We don’t have to sit in our junk anymore. We can get up and move!
10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it.
Once we’ve made the decision to get out of our situation, God calls us to follow Him. God doesn’t bring us out of something without leading us towards something. As Peter followed the angel, he walked past the obstacles that were previously keeping him there. He left the chains behind. He left the guards behind. Then God opened the gate for him to enter into the city and away from his bondage. God will open up doors for us when we choose to follow Him.
An incredibly significant part of this story comes after Peter is broken out of jail. He went to Mary’s house where all his friends were and knocked on the door.
13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
When your life changes and you’ve made the choice to live a life of integrity, you may have to endure the doubters. People may not believe you’ve really been delivered. When I made the choice to change my life, my wife didn’t believe me for one second. It wasn’t until she saw my actions that she began to believe.
So you may have to sit outside knocking for a little while, but don’t leave. Stay there and eventually they’ll come to the door and see that you’ve been set free!
If you’re interested in learning more about my ministry and how you can begin living a life of integrity, please contact me here or comment below. I love connecting with men who have a desire to live a life of integrity.