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Maintaining integrity as a business is necessary for the reputation and success of the business. No one wants to do business with someone they feel is going to rip them off or act unethically. But having integrity as a Christian blogger or business is even more vital. You are not just representing yourself or your business, you are representing Jesus. So how do you ensure you always conduct yourself with integrity as a Christian blogger or business owner?
Integrity as a Christian…Period
Before we even turn our attention to the topic of integrity as a Christian business, we first have to talk about integrity as a Christian regardless of whether you’re in business or not. Why? Because unless you have integrity in your own personal life and your walk, you can’t possibly carry it into your business or ministry.
People are watching you, not only in how you conduct yourself in business but also how you conduct yourself in your personal life. This is especially true if you’re in ministry because they look to you as an example.
So if you even give people the impression that you are willfully sinning and you are in ministry, you destroy your integrity. How can you teach the Word when you don’t follow it in your own life?
And as I said, this includes giving the impression of sinning.
Avoid the Appearance of Evil
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:22:
“Abstain from all appearance of evil”. KJV
The Greek for the word ‘appearance’ is eidos and it means outward appearance. It essentially means how something appears to others.
It is often wrongly translated as avoid all kinds of evil. But the original language has the appearance of evil. Avoid giving the people even the appearance that you are sinning.
Maintain your integrity in your personal life and it will carry over into your work or your ministry.
So what does integrity as a Christian look like? We will examine each Biblical mandate as a believer and then apply it as a Christian business or ministry.
Having Integrity as a Christian – Giving Your Word
Matthew 5:36-37 says:
Nor should you swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ Anything more comes from the evil one. NIV
Don’t make a bunch of promises or commitments you cannot keep. Don’t swear by anything. Just say yes or no.
These verses are about keeping an oath or a promise.
There’s an old saying in the business world; ‘under promise and over deliver’.
Maintain your integrity as a Christian by not making promises you may not be able to keep.
Now life happens and sometimes things we don’t anticipate can come into play and that is understandable. You may have a health issue that sets you back and keeps you from delivering on time. But that is not what this is about. This speaks of making commitments and promises without regard for being able to fulfill them.
The Love of Money
I have to say that this is one of the biggest issues I see affecting businesses, whether Christian or not. We are not immune to the beckoning of wealth and can easily fall into a focus on money instead of a focus on God and serving those who follow us.
Your followers and customers are not there to serve you, you are there to serve them and when you do that you build trust and authenticity which will make them WANT to buy your products.
If all you are doing is ramming products down their throats they will not be followers long.
We are in ministry or business to help people solve a problem, not to have them solve OUR financial problems.
If your blog (and as such your social media following, your email list, your groups) is all about you trying to get people to buy from you or from your affiliate links, you may have fallen prey to the love of money.
If the only time your customers hear from you is when you want to sell them something, you may have fallen prey. I sadly see this with some businesses where someone is a friend on social media and the only time they ever interact with you is to try to sell you on their latest business. That is not authentic.
The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. NIV
Note it says the LOVE of money not money! It is ok to want to earn an income.
Yes it IS Ok to Make Money as a Faith Blogger
The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14:
Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. NIV
So the Bible is clear that those in ministry who preach the Gospel should in fact be able to support themselves. BUT this does not mean to covet money and use your following to do it.
The old saying ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ is very true! Show people you truly care about them and meeting their needs and the business will follow because you have established trust and relationship first and foremost.
Never Assume You Have All the Answers
If you think you have all the answers, it’s a good indication that you don’t!
Being teachable is a sign of wisdom not weakness!
There is ALWAYS going to be someone out there that knows more about a subject than you! If you feel as though you have all the answers it is a sign of pride.
Be teachable and be willing to learn from those who may just know more than you do or have learned something you haven’t yet!
Jeremiah 9:23-24 says
This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord. NIV
The way one grows in business is by “sitting at the feet of the Rabbi”. That means, finding someone who is doing what you want to do or who can teach you what they know and learn from them rather than being prideful and refusing to go to someone else for knowledge.
Give the Glory to God
Part of that pride comes from when we are seeking to make a name for ourselves and wanting to have the glory for our own “knowledge” rather than giving God the glory!
When we seek to give all the glory to God, we don’t care about who gets the accolades! It is all for Him and for His Kingdom!
As Christian bloggers, we are in ministry to try to help people grow in their faith. It is not so we can magnify our name or the name of our blog or business.
When we get that skewed is when we find ourselves falling into pridefulness.
So always be on guard so that the enemy does not come in and cause you to fall prey to ego.
Be Original, Not a Copy
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that there is nothing new under the sun and that often applies to business and blogging. Odds are good that what you are doing has been done and you are just doing it with your own “spin”.
For example, if you are writing a blog post on the Proverbs 31 Woman, odds are good that you will be repeating the same insights other people have written about. But hopefully you are doing it from your own study and not plagiarizing them.
If you are writing about business tips, odds are good those tips are already out there but hopefully you are sharing them in your own way from your own studies and not because you are taking it from someone else’s work and sharing it as though it’s your own discovery. Give credit where credit is due!
Again, going back to what I said previously, be a student! Learn for yourself and be teachable and don’t just take from someone else’s hard work (or money spent in training).
Do not ever copy what someone else is doing. Be your own person! God made you an original so what you have to offer in your own words and through your own course of study is a benefit to others because you can appeal to people others can’t in a way they can’t.
If you do get information from someone else that you want to share, credit them with it! Some people are afraid to do this because they fear losing people to the business they are crediting. But that is not likely to happen if you have built trust and relationship with your customers.
Everyone learns from someone! No one develops knowledge and skill by osmosis. Your customers or your following are not going to leave you because you learned something from someone else! In fact having that integrity will cause your followers to put more faith in you!
An example of this I have run across in business is from when I used to own a martial arts school. I would come up with great routines for our demo team and we would perform at various events. Next thing I know, another nearby school is doing something very similar instead of doing the work themselves and coming up with their own music and choreography. People took notice of the fact that every time we came up with something new it was soon in their routines.
People WILL catch on if you are just regurgitating someone else’s hard work and it will reflect poorly on you and your business.
Ok you would think this would go without saying as Christians but you’d be surprised!
If you purchase a product and that product is meant for you alone, do not share it with others!
Someone put a lot of time and effort into it and in many cases it is even licensed! I see this happen a lot in the crafting world where I do some business. Someone will buy a design and then share it with other people or create products from it and sell them.
That is stealing! You are taking someone else’s work and giving it away to others for free and it is a sin! Not only will you destroy your integrity but you may very well get sued!
If you are a crafter, you cannot make things with the logo of NFL teams or Disney and sell them! They are licensed and you can and will get sued for a lot of money! I have seen it happen! All you have to do is go on Etsy and you will see a LOT of people doing it. And even if it doesn’t catch up with you, other people are watching and you will destroy your witness.
Come up with your own products or buy a license to distribute someone else’s. But it is wrong to rob someone else of an income by giving their products away. It doesn’t matter how big a company they may be. It is not about them, it is about God!
You as a business wouldn’t want someone giving your products away to all their followers or customers so please do not do it to someone else.
Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. NIV
Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight. NIV
Keeping Your Integrity as a Christian
Whether it be in your personal walk or in your business, God expects us to have integrity as a Christian. People are watching us to learn from us and people are watching us to see us slip up! People are always watching Christians for the first opportunity to point a finger and label us hypocrites. We have to protect the Church as a whole by not affording them an opportunity.
The enemy wants us to damage our integrity for that very reason! He tempts us with the lures of money or fame or making a name for ourselves in the business world so that he can damage the reputation of the Church.
We have this enemy in common! Let’s not allow him to create enmity amongst ourselves by giving in to the temptings of the world. We are first to serve God and then others. We can only do that by maintaining that integrity!
Put on the armor of God so you can withstand those fiery darts of the enemy and keep your integrity as a Christian in business and in life.
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Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™