Creed of Personal Integrity

I will make my own path, I will follow my own rules and if necessary will die for what I know is true.

Todd Beal

What is your path; is it yours or predefined by someone else? What borrowed rules have you claimed for yourself; yet they’re not meant for you because they break you down, not build you up? Why do you believe what you believe: is it true or is it your security blanket? Are your proclamations true, or do you just ardently believe in them? Sure, you may choose to die for what you believe, but is your belief based on faith; does it give you life, even now, or is it merely self-justification by death, a gross violation of eternal life?

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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14 Responses to Creed of Personal Integrity

  1. Case in point are the terrorists who flew the planes into the World Trade Center: No one can deny they ardently believed in what they were doing and that they expected a great spiritual reward for what they did. But was it based on truth? Beliefs have great power to both build and destroy in this world, but beliefs in truth increase that power exponentially, as that power goes beyond the puny power of humanity and becomes allied with the divine. THAT kind of power that saves, purifies, and changes human nature.

    It’s fascinating to me that even an atheist with no acknowledged belief in deity can still sacrifice and die for a principle–and leave the world a better, safer place for those who remain despite no hope of a reward or continued existence. True principles, believed to be rooted in God or not, whether it be democracy or the simple concept of personal freedom, have been enough to inspire even the godless to great acts of heroism and sacrifice.

    I know people who have joined the church I belong to at the cost of being disowned by every member of their family. I’ve heard stories of parents jumping in front of oncoming vehicles to save their child. What greater truth than the value of human life, especially of the young and helpless? How about the unnamed man who jumped in the frigid Potomac after the DC airplane crash to save as many people as he could, even though he knew he wouldn’t make it out alive? Sometimes the truth burning within us is more powerful than the survival instinct all animals have. That’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us the offspring of God.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Michael,

      You certainly addressed an important point, the truth that spurs us to instinctive right action. The scenarios you provide of humans sacrificing their own lives to save someone else, for even a stranger, is yet another example of truth manifesting in all areas of life, not just the spiritual or the practical. This harks back to our discussion on discerning truth: How Do We Test for Truth and the comments on Freedom – Receiving Truth Well-Spoken. Truth is truth and manifests from within God himself, the author of truth, all the way down to the practical end of truth, as an irrefutably true algebraic equation. And of course, why wouldn’t truth manifest in all facets of creation? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is truth, and because he created everything through himself, truth must necessarily be the universal foundation of creation. So, when someone sacrifices his/her life for a total stranger, we see truth in action, just as Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for us. We are made in his image (his likeness) and therefore truth compels us to save another who is also made in his image.

      However, it is one thing to act upon the truth inherent to our created design, but quite another to accept into one’s heart the Living Truth, as freely given by Jesus Christ himself. The former is truth as humanly manifested by our created design; the latter is truth as manifested by accepting its living author, the living truth, into our heart. The former makes us the human offspring of God; the latter remakes us, from the inside out, into God’s spiritual sons and daughters. Without the latter there is no hope for true integrity, no base for authentically building our life, only a trial and error filled existence that ends on a physical deathbed. Upon which time we are compelled to ask, “Is this all there is?”

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  2. Lance Ponder says:

    A lot to think about. Michael did an excellent job unpacking thoughts. I’ve had my beliefs turned inside out more than once and so now I’m much slower to adopt beliefs. I try to test what I consider believing whenever possible and to the extent possible. I continue to fail, but I also continue to learn, grow, and get closer to truth. Truth is big. Too big to say, “Ahah! I’ve Got It!”

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Lance,

      | Michael did an excellent job unpacking thoughts. |

      I concur.

      | Truth is big. Too big to say, “Ahah! I’ve Got It!” |

      I have learned this over the past fifteen years; Truth is not a concept in that we can ever hope to wrap our arms around it. Truth is real and alive, and requires only three things of us: first, accept it/him into our heart; second, know and recognize its signature, allowing us to see it wherever and in whatever it manifests; and third, live by it, obey it in all ways.

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      • Lance Ponder says:

        I love the way you lay that out. Three is such a powerful number, even in ways you wouldn’t realize.

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        • Todd Beal says:

          Lance,

          Thank you.

          | Three is such a powerful number, even in ways you wouldn’t realize. |

          Yes, yes, and yes! It is so rewarding and awe-striking to see the significance of the number three everywhere I look: inherent to the number three is the triune relationship of God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each to each other as three distinct and unique personages unified within one being, God, the eternal “I AM”, the Trinity, after which we were designed; the three-fold existence of freewill living beings – God, angels, humans; the three epochs of time – pre-flood, post-flood, Millennium; divisions of created life on earth – humans, creatures, vegetation; divisions of the human being – mind, body, spirit; Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver; the Biblical Old Covenant, New Covenant, and permanent reconciliation unto Christ; human muscle structure – two adjacent muscle structures overlapped by a moderating/equalizing third muscle structure for regulating balanced motion; three major divisions of the brain – forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain; three divisions of inanimate creation on earth – ground, seas, sky; three divisions of time – past, present, future; three divisions of polarity – positive, negative, neutral; divisions of the family structure – father, mother, child; divisions of organizational structure – leader, management, laborers; organization of US government – executive branch, legislative branch, judicial branch; symmetry – left, right, middle; action – initiate, complete, sustain – on, and on, and on!

          And to think, it is all made possible by God’s triune structure. Wow!! Man, that invigorates me beyond words! What a rush to know that everywhere I look and within everything I think, is made possible by God manifesting his all-powerful personal structure universally within the very fabric of creation!

          Thanks for mentioning this Lance. What a great time of personal reflection on the perfect order of God’s personal structure as witnessed in his creation. Not too much gets me going like this, but I’m telling you, this does!

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  3. Team Oyeniyi says:

    @Michael – “even the godless”? What do you think we are, exactly? No different to you as far as integrity goes, just we don’t believe in Gods. Would you be impressed if I wrote “even the godfearing can be…”? I think not. 🙂

    In response to the post, integrity is a characteristic that some people develop and others do not. It is developed over time. I borrow nothing and accept full responsibility for my decisions. I make my own path.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Robyn,

      | …integrity is a characteristic that some people develop and others do not. |

      While this is certainly true, consider the different ways we humans try to instill integrity. We naturally uphold the principle of integrity as the pinnacle of personal achievement, regardless of the arena. The mafia, for example, twists the underlying truth of integrity with their philosophy, “Loyalty to us in all your ways develops your integrity. If you kill whom we want you to kill, rob who we want you to rob, never violate our rules, and never snitch us out, you have integrity.” Is this integrity? Another person will say, “Saying what is really on my mind and not beating around the bush is integrity.” Yet, in so doing, this person repeatedly, irreparably, hurts the very people he or she loves the most, and all in the name of honesty, integrity. Is this integrity?

      By default, each one of us, according to our unique personality and internal personal condition, develops our own version of integrity for better or worse. But, by definition, integrity inhibits damage or destructive compromise. We inevitably violate integrity when left to our own natural ideas of it. Case in point; integrity is a provision of truth, and within truth no contradiction exists. If your and my versions of integrity contradict each other, either yours or mine, or both, contradicts truth and is therefore not integrity but the compromise of integrity. Integrity does not hurt or destroy, but instead insures against it.

      Sure, we can individually and collectively strive toward a life-enhancing set of ethical ideals or principles, but without truth in our heart, Jesus Christ, those ethics are merely cosmetic – a fragile attempt to protect each other from what really resides inside, our destructive nature, a blatant contradiction against truth. Without Jesus Christ, without truth, there is no integrity, only attempts at achieving it.

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      • Househut says:

        You were doing so well there, right up to the point where you decided to tack on your imaginary friend at the end.

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        • A. C. Baker says:

          And how sad, boring, and drab life would be without the Imagination that sees beyond. My Imagination can see outside the lines on the page; see deeper than the page, itself; and It can create colors I can’t conceive to bring beauty where ugliness scars perception. I love my Imagination.

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          • Househut says:

            Glad to see you admit that your beliefs are nothing more than making yourself feel good.

            The real problems start when you try to bend the real world into following the dictates of your imaginary friend.

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            • A. C. Baker says:

              Dude, you SO miss the point. You go ahead and take an atheistic/naturalistic worldview approach to life, like Dawkins and his friends, who won’t admit it’s possible to have a God create things, but think panspermia is scientific. Personally, I, based on my observations, will side with C. S. Lewis and the like. I know Aslan by his other name, the one he has in this world (reference to The Dawn Treader).

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  4. A. C. Baker says:

    I came and checked out your blog, tonight. It has been a long day of work and then preaching. Now, my head is hurting from over-thinking. This is too deep for someone who has to wake up at 5 a.m. to drive a school bus.

    Seriously, Todd, I really appreciated your comment on my blog. It came at a time when I was, let’s just say, VERY discouraged. I needed that boost more than you’ll ever know. I am serious when I say that you were divinely led to send it when you did.

    As for your site, I don’t really know what to think…I’m too tired, I guess. On the other hand, it seems that there are a lot of smart people here, at least beyond my IQ. And by the way, my name is Anthony. Pastor, preacher, reverend, or whatever is not necessary. I use A.C. because it reminds me of C.S. Lewis, R.C. Sproul, etc. I hope to write a book on legalism in the next year or two, so I need an “intelligent” name, don’t you think 😉

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Anthony,

      Thanks a lot for stopping by and commenting. I have really enjoyed reading your well-reasoned comments on Heather’s blog, especially on her recent post, Question of the day: “strong drink”. I have never met a person other than you who so adamantly opposes legalism, but at the same time doesn’t do it out of rebellion, only as a means to point people away from bondage and toward Christ. That is very encouraging to me, and inspires me to dig even deeper in my relationship with God.

      Regarding your statement about this site, everyone is welcome here. Sometimes we debate, sometimes we encourage each other, and sometimes we just explore new territory, but truth is always the focus.

      About your book Anthony, your first name is a strong name, and a marketable one; one that would work well with a first-rate authoritative book on legalism. I recommend using Anthony C. Baker and let the book speak for itself. Legalism is a hard topic that feels very cold and unapproachable to most individuals. Using A.C. may come across as remote or distant, whereas using your first name will appeal more personably to your readers. Anthony C. Baker comes across as both personable and professional; a quality that is lacking in most conversations about legalism.

      Thanks again for stopping by. I look forward to your return visit.

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