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The First Battle

Proverbs, chapter 4, provides excellent insight into the young and emerging as well as the old and experienced! While it offers practical steps to avoid potential pitfalls, Solomon gets to the core of all ethical issues when he says;

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
While life and leadership provide many challenges, require that difficult calls be made, and provide both opportunities and distractions, these, and the many other external challenges we face, can only be won if we first ensure another victory is secured - The internal victory of integrity.

There are so many components to the external leadership tasks that victory, or survival, is often out of our hands. Because of God’s great mercy, there is a victory that we do have total responsibility for - the internal task of maintaining our integrity. This, says the writer of Proverbs, is most important because who we are and what we do flows from our hearts, and all our external behavior and decisions come from what is inside us.

If our heart is guarded against the temptations and trials that seek to corrupt it, then we are better positioned to respond, in Godly ways, to the external situations that life brings. If we lose the battle for our heart and corruption enters, then whether we win or lose on the external decisions is irrelevant. The victory that God longs for us is not for prize, prestige, or possession; it is the victory of a heart that is entirely his. It is this kind of heart that the eyes of the Lord roam the earth looking for (2 Chronicles 6:19).

Recently, I have been faced with many external challenges that were out of my control, and, quite frankly, I had no idea what the right outcome was or would be. What I can control, though, is how I respond internally to these challenges. When they come, do I react with honesty or deceit? Do I keep things above the line or seek to manipulate or politic through the situation? Do I respond with love, openness, and vulnerability, or… not?

The first battle we must all win, regardless of the external challenge, is the internal battle for integrity.

Win it.

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