A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. (Proverbs 22: 1)
I had another devotional planned for today, but was gently woken in the early hours by the Holy Spirit, and this message is the one that emerged in that time of quiet communion – I must, always, be obedient to that small voice. There is someone, no doubt, for which it is intended. I pray a blessing for you today, that the Spirit will minister to you in your place of need and bring you to a place of joy and peace in the Word.
It is only when the things of the world are stripped away that the full value of reputation becomes known. Having, at a particular point in my life, lost virtually everything I held dear, I realised a remarkable thing. There are some things that we can never lose, unless we give them away: our honesty, our compassion, our faith, and our integrity.
These are the things that, together, make a good reputation. These are the things that will endure, that will be the only lasting legacy of value and, most important, are the reflection of our identity in Christ. Yet, this is a treasure too easily lost, unless we take daily care to nurture and protect it.
As Christians, the measure of our reputation is the reflection we show the world of Christ. The values we live by and adhere to, even when it may sometimes be difficult to do so, indicate the measure of ‘Christ in me.’ That is why a good reputation is so valuable, and why we should guard it so zealously and desire so passionately. The way we live our lives, the way we treat others, the way we deal with difficulties… all these things are the little steps to building a reputation that is worthy of Him we follow.
We cannot, of course, do it alone. But we need to make the choice to attach the right value to it, and then God will work alongside us to make it happen. Each day, we need to make the choice – to do what is right in any situation, regardless of how difficult it might be. I thank God daily for the empowering work of the Spirit. In the world as we know it, that ongoing choice for integrity would be nigh impossible without Him.
Finally, we should give thought to the reputations of others – everyone has the same choices to make as we do, and their value is just as important. How easy it is for an impulsive word or thoughtless comment to demean the reputation of others, even without us being aware of it. While we have an obligation to guard our reputations with care, we also have an obligation to mind our thoughts and our tongues with regard to others. Given the enormity of the significance in relation to Christ, may the Holy Spirit continually alert us to foolish assumptions and thoughtless words or actions that call reputations into question, whether ours or another’s.
Help me today, Lord, to not take reputation for granted. Give me wisdom to allow you to reveal yourself in me and in others, and help me to guard this precious gift and to walk daily in this grace.