Several years ago I owned a basenji named Ruby.

Ruby was a great dog. I had trained her to play tag around the swimming pool in the back yard. She would give chase and we’d run round and round the pool until she caught up to me. I’d turn around and she’d jump up in my arms.

What other people didn’t know when they played the game was even more fun. When she caught up to them and jumped, if they didn’t turn around to catch her Ruby would nip their backside.

That’s right. She’d bite their butt. Good times!

The word Basenji comes from the Lingala language from the northeastern Congo region of Africa, and it translates as “dog of the villagers”. 

They are small, short-haired dogs with erect ears, tightly curled tails, and wrinkled foreheads. They have powerful legs that trot when they walk and employ a ground-eating double gallop when they run.  In the wild they are pack dogs that hunt rabbit and other small animals. 

But perhaps the feature they are most famous for is the result of an unusually-shaped larynx.

Basenjis don’t bark.

In fact, they’re often called African barkless dogs. Although they’re generally quiet, it doesn’t mean they’re noiseless. They employ plenty of whines, howls and yodels. They simply don’t bark.

Likewise, palm trees are barkless trees. That’s right. They don’t bark either!

Additionally, they don’t HAVE a layer of bark on their exterior like most trees. Their outer layer is made up of the same vertical tendrils that form the inner structure of the trunk.

In other words, palm trees are the same on the outside as they are on the inside.

When a person is the same on the inside as they are on the outside, we call that living with integrity.

What does that look like on the street?

Integrity is wholeness. It isn’t compartmentalized or segmented. It means you’re the same person with everybody, in your speech, motives, and actions, no matter what part of your life you’re dealing with.

Integrity is authenticity. It isn’t hypocritical or pretending to be something you’re not. It means you put down your masks and are the same person no matter who is watching.

Integrity is uncorrupted motivations. It isn’t mixed messages or impure motives. It means you do the right things for the right reasons.

We tend to focus on image and reputation. But God wants to see our character developed.

Integrity is living honestly as the person who God made you to be.

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

Proverbs 11:3, NLT

Today, walk in integrity. Be pure. Be true. Be honest. Be the same person on the outside as you are on the inside.

That’s worship.

–Pastor Steve.