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What story?

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." (Maya Angelou)  As we draw our first breath at the moment of birth, we begin to lay out a legacy by which we will someday be remembered.  Some of us write our life story with glamour, goodness, or even humor. Others find their pages riddled with sadness, disappointment, and dismay. All of us have a "story", but some of us discount the value of the story we have within!

The memory of one who lived with integrity brings joy, but the legacy of a wrongdoer will rot away.  (Proverbs 10:7 VOICE)

Most of us think of integrity as honesty.  To live a life which bears the hallmark of honesty is truly a great thing, for way too many things in this world are fake.  To go through life unencumbered by the weight of being someone you are not is truly a gift and a legacy I think our youth of today need to see modeled.  There is so much vying for our hearts these days and so many things we can compare ourselves to which are not really accurate or righteous measurements by which we should draw any conclusions about our worth or value.  The worth of a man should be measured by one thing alone - the value of a life given on our behalf because God saw value in each of us as his own!

To some, a life of integrity may be living by "principles".  The rules one chooses to keep often determines the direction of one's life.  The right set of principles leads to better choices, but even the most principled life can be lacking in one thing which matters - relationship with Jesus.  You can never replace the value of being loved, cared for, and watched over. For those who think "principles" alone will be enough to say we have left a great legacy I'd like to throw out a little challenge for you.  Principled-living is good, but even the best of us violate a principle once in a while.  What we really need is a life of principle and grace - the combination is overwhelmingly awesome!

There are also those in the camp of saying a life of integrity is simply a life of purity.  Purity can be sought in many forms ranging from choosing to live a "purely vegan lifestyle" to dedicating one's self to the monastery.  Purity is an outcome of choices made, but even then purity is not something "mastered" on our own.  The life of purity is best "managed" by one who knows what purity really is - Jesus.  Purity suggests one is free of anything which "pollutes" or "corrupts".  Honestly, I haven't been able to live without those things apart from Jesus in my life.  Even with him in my life, I find I still struggle to avoid the things which pollute or corrupt!  I stand a better chance of avoiding them when I walk with him, but they are still there all around me.

The story we allow to come forth from our lives really takes form when Christ is at the center of it.  Just sayin!

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