Does Jesus care if we have a good name (a combination of reputation and character) or honorable reputation? Should Christians be concerned with how others see and judge their character? The answer is, yes!
When we live a life according to God’s word, letting His light shine within us, we will not only glorify God in our daily life but also win others over to His saving grace. This is called lifestyle witnessing.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)
Our reputation is built over time. Others evaluate our life choices and determine who we are based on how we behave. Nobody likes the idea of being judged but the fact is we are always judging each other as a way of determining who is trustworthy and who is not.
Many of us have tested God to see if He is trustworthy. Over time, we accept His promises as faithful and true. Through Scripture, we learn of God’s great compassion, humility, love, integrity, righteousness, kindness, forgiveness, and patience. Imitating these qualities contributes to a good reputation. As His children, we have been called to imitate God in all we do. Our number-one priority is to represent Christ to this lost and broken world.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NKJV)
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.” Ephesians 5:1 (NLT)
People evaluate the worthiness of our message based on our reputations as people of character. The great commission commands us to seek and save the lost but we will not find success if we are hypocrites. Poor reputations will taint our message. Dishonesty, gossip, and hypocrisy damage our testimonies and do not reflect the true character of Jesus. If our reputations do not match what we claim to believe, many will not accept our words.
People with good reputations are those who live with integrity. Their private lives match their public personas. They don’t speak profanity at home, abuse their wives or children when nobody is looking, nor do they cast aside promises and assurances after a public acknowledgment to fulfill a promise. They have no hidden agendas, double lives, or dishonest practices. They live authentically. When they sin, they quickly make it right with those they offended. They keep their word and accept their responsibilities. They are consistent so others know what to expect of them.
“This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” Acts 24:16 (NKJV)
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 (NKJV)
“A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” Ecclesiastes 7:1 (NKJV)
The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who changed their reputations for the better. Jacob (heel catcher) was renamed Israel. Abram became Abraham, Father of many. Saul the desired was renamed Paul, the small/humble. Mary Magdalene was a repentant prostitute who became a devoted follower of Christ. It is never too late to turn from sin and build a godly reputation!
Meditate on your private and public life. If they are not one and the same, ask yourself why they are not. Seek God and ask Him to reveal any changes you need to make so that you are a good reflection of His life.
“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:16 (NKJV)
“Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.” Proverbs 10:6-7 (NKJV
“Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.” Proverbs 20:11 (NKJV)
“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.” 1 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)