“You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers” 1 Thessalonians 2:10
Few of us today think the way Paul did. Here, he invited other believers to judge his life—to be witnesses of whether or not he was living with integrity. We’re more likely to be offended if someone questions our integrity than to invite them to examine it. So, what was Paul’s motive? Why did he choose to live in a glass house?
Paul was constantly aware that how he behaved would impact and influence others. Yet, rather than resent this fact he welcomed it. Paul wrote, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). And, “in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example” (2 Thessalonians 3:9).
What kind of example did Paul set? Well, just look at the words he used to describe his life—devout, upright, blameless. This had nothing to do with self-promotion. Paul was so aware of the life of Christ within him, that any other way of life was unimaginable (Philippians 1:21). And because he was conscientious of the divine standard, his aim was to please God, not other people.
This kind of life can seem unattainable if we mistake blameless for perfection. Being blameless is simply living in such a way that accusations die for lack of evidence. In other words, what you say with your mouth is walked out with your feet. When it comes to living with integrity, this is where the rubber hits the road.
Let’s be honest. Younger generations are leaving church because there’s a general lack of authentic faith in American Christianity. They don’t see truth being lived out. What’s said at church on Sunday often isn’t a reality at home on Monday. We don’t have to invite family members to judge our faith; they’re already perfectly positioned to do that!
So, how do we follow Paul’s example of living with integrity? First, examine whether your outward behavior is in conflict with your spoken beliefs. Secondly, ask God to make you more aware of His presence in your daily life, and of how your words and actions influence others (1 Corinthians 8:9). When being a Christian changes from being a motto to being your mission, any other way of life seems unimaginable!