Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Wednesday, May 1 - Integrity & Influence

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” — Matthew 14:23

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I have a high school son who wrestles and plays football. We were in the car recently and he was really excited to tell me about a Bible plan written by his favorite Christian rapper (on the YouVersion Bible app). As my excitement matched his, I couldn’t help but ask what made him pursue God and His Word on his own. “Mom, a lot of my teammates have been asking me questions about my faith, so I thought I should be who they think I am.”

When people see something different in us and begin to ask questions, that is influence. When we want to be the same person in private as we are in public, that is integrity. It takes integrity as an individual to have a Christlike influence in the world.

Jesus understood this as the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). In Matthew 14, Jesus sent His disciples in a boat ahead of Him, and eventually walked on water to get back to them. Not only that, but Peter walked on water too — something nobody has done before or since. When Jesus and Peter got back into the boat, the storm stopped and everyone in the boat worshiped Him.

Jesus’ moment of influence didn’t start when He walked on water in front of the disciples; it started earlier when He was by Himself: “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23). Jesus teaches us that what we do when nobody is watching (integrity) prepares us for when everyone is (influence).

— Sarah Roberts, University of Oklahoma softball chaplain

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