Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my mind and heart. For Your loving kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth. (Psalm 26:1–3—NKJV)

The world of men is full of misunderstandings, rivalries, estrangements, and tough choices. Even among the best of friends there is prone to arise something that becomes a wedge to drive men apart from one another. In this fallen world, loneliness, for both proper and improper reasons, can become any man’s companion. Women are certainly not immune from this affliction either. When loneliness becomes your companion and unsettles you, one of the first stabilizing forces, or clarifying filters, is integrity. A personal determination as to whether integrity is intact is necessary.

The character quality of integrity is uniquely equipped to have its voice heard during those “alone” times. Integrity is used to describe all sorts of things in this world. Its definition is “the quality or state of being complete; unbroken condition; wholeness, entirety.” It is being unimpaired and sound. This definition allows it to be used to describe the moral state of a man, as being of sound moral principle, upright, honest and sincere. Bridges are inspected for integrity following natural disasters which put stress on them, just as disastrous situations place huge stress on individuals. Self-examination in the “light of day” is entirely fitting, especially since no man is incorruptible, untainted by sin-nature, infinite in wisdom, or free from self-interest.

Though personal integrity is tested at unpredictable moments throughout life, there are very natural times to evaluate integrity while no threatening circumstances are pressing in upon you. Just as a bridge’s integrity undergoes periodic inspections, so every man ought to take advantage of appropriate times for self-review. Occasions such as Father’s Day, New Year’s Day, birthdays, and monthly communion services all offer opportunities for reflection.

When my children were growing up, I used to teach them a simplistic definition of integrity: “God sees my heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 reads, “The LORD does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” David is echoing this principle throughout Psalm 26. In fact, despite adversity, he is so convinced his integrity is intact that he entreats God to “vindicate” (literally: judge) him. This is no rash appeal, but it is a supplication to Jehovah that arises from firm inner conviction that God already sees his heart and finds nothing amiss. Integrity as a living principle is also his daily practice.

He states that he has walked in his integrity, trusted in the LORD, and his foot will not slip (falter). Spurgeon aptly states that “faith is the root and sap of integrity.” No unsaved man in his right mind would ask God to judge him. God is perfect and no man can endure His steadfast, searching gaze. Psalm 130:3–4 declares, “If You LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.” The rest of the psalm contains strong verses of personal conviction of his integrity before his Lord. In verses 4–5 he evaluates his single-minded allegiance to God alone; he has not compromised his loyalty to God. In verses 6–8 he assesses his commitment to holiness (6), his commitment to glorifying God (7), and his commitment to worship (8). All men would do well to begin the assessment of their integrity from these starting points. The greatest gift you can give to yourself is a clear conscience, and the greatest gift to everyone around you is to live a life full of integrity.

When integrity is such that it focuses upon the interests of God alone, then it is no wonder that David states in verse 2, “Examine [probe] me, O Lord, and prove [try] me; try my mind and my heart.” There is always a desire to gain in integrity, for the insights of the Infinite will always improve the yielded heart. David quickly follows these words with verse 3, “For Your lovingkindness [steadfast, covenant-loyal love] is before my eyes [I set my course by it], and I have walked in Your truth.” With the promises of God for your sustaining, instruction, guidance, and comfort, you can live a life of truth and integrity. You must begin with yielding to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, committing to live as a humble servant of God, and God alone. David closes the Psalm with these words, “But as for me, I will walk in my integrity [without blame]; redeem me and be merciful to me. My foot stands in an even place; in the congregations I will bless the LORD.”

Do you dare invite God to examine your integrity? If not, why not? Any personal assessment of integrity without God’s voice in the matter will only be a half-measure. Yield to Him and let Him declare you just. Trust and obey.