Reputation…..What is mine? There are three positions to consider:
1 The man I think I am.
2 The man that others believe I am.
3 (Most importantly) The man God knows I am.
The natural man seeks approval and appreciation of his fellow man. It is important to him what others think of him. However, in the kingdom of God, this position has to be replaced by seeking God’s approval before men’s. A life lived for God’s glory is truly a life lived to “to an audience of One”. In this position the praise of men is irrelevant to the child of God. Whereas it is right to give honor, (show appreciation and thanks to one another), it is wrong when we take that honor to ourselves instead of acknowledging that the credit belongs to God alone. It is He who graces us with ability and enables us to do His will. Matthew 6:13 Jesus closes the prayer where He teaches us how to pray with these words….”….For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.”
The natural man is hurt by insignificance. He seeks position, prominence and praise. Let us, however, consider our Lord Jesus, our Pattern Man who sacrificed His reputation. Philippians 2: 6-7, speaking of Jesus: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”.
John the Baptist nailed it when he declared of Jesus: “He must increase, I must decrease”, John 3:3o.
As I realise and embrace the greatness of Almighty God and His significance, I begin to realise my own insignificance and gladly embrace it. Here lies the mystery of “Christ in me, the hope of glory!” (Colossians 1:27) The resurrected life of Jesus Christ is displayed through the frailty of men. The apostle Paul declared “And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”.
One of the last things to die in us after receiving salvation, is the desire for approval and recognition of men. God is after that desire in us to replace it with the desire for His approval. He wants me to become a God-pleaser instead of a men-pleaser. In this position my reputation with men must be sacrificed. Jesus made himself “of no reputation”….as it was with our Master, so it is for us to follow in His footsteps.
Jesus posed this challenging question, “How can you believe who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that comes from God only?” John 5:44
When God asks a question, He seeks a response in truth. When we realise our insignificance as a nobody, we have no reputation to prop up in the eyes of men. The freedom Christ gives us is the true liberty of losing my identity in His glorious one. My standing is in Him alone and His finished work of Calvary. My life is not about me anymore. Wherever I humble and surrender to Him, Jesus lives in, and through me, for His kingdom purposes.
God sees the faithful steward. It means nothing in the world’s eyes but is hugely significant to God. My greatest desire should be to please my Creator as I walk this life. Some may consider the approval and appreciation of man to be a great supplement, but they are a poor substitute for the approval and appreciation of God.
Can God approve and appreciate me? Yes! All the time my life glorifies Him.
As we approach the threshold of another new year, 2021, with thankful hearts to our Father and His faithfulness for all that has gone before, may the Holy Spirit remind us in all the days ahead, of the importance of acknowledging the Lord in all our ways. Dear Lord, help us to remember the following:
1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether you eat, or drink , or WHATEVER you do, do ALL to the glory of God.”
To all our friends and family of God, “Come magnify the Lord with us”, and let us make God bigger and greater in our lives, our families and communities in 2021. As we lift up the name of Jesus, His glory will shine and bring change. A blank canvas rolls before us, may we fill it with testimonies to Jesus’ love and grace. Enjoy the journey, dear ones!