3 The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
What does it look like to be guided by integrity? The person of integrity is steadfast in any circumstance, whether facing danger or experiencing pain. It is in these moments that we are most tempted to betray our values. The classical virtue of which integrity is essential is fortitude. Fortitude is the courage to do the right thing no matter what, and is developed and strengthened through danger and pain. It is commonly known as guts or grit. There is a difference between having fortitude in a particular circumstance and being a person of fortitude. Most athletes can get through a difficult game, but it takes fortitude to stick it out through a tough season.
The opposite of integrity is duplicity. While integrity guides those with fortitude, the duplicitous are guided by their feelings. When things get difficult, they abandon their values and take the easy way out. In times of pain, they lose hope and betray their goals. They not only destroy their own future, they also waste the lessons that only hardship can teach them. Are you in a difficult season? Are you facing danger or pain? Take advantage of the opportunity to be refined in the fire. Have fortitude, commit to sticking it out no matter what, and you will be strengthened by the storm.
“Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” Though fortitude is essential in the tough times, it is developed in the small challenges of everyday life. The person who pursues wealth when things are going well, will find himself helpless in the day of wrath. Money is useless against many of life’s troubles. When your health fails, when your relationships fall apart, when you lose someone you love, what good is money? But those on the path of righteousness, who have made a habit of doing the right thing, will have the fortitude they need to endure. Stick it out, persist in doing good, develop fortitude, and you will be an encouragement to others in their time of need.