WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 4, 2021
TOPIC: HOW TO BUILD A GOOD REPUTATION
BY T. O. BANSO
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 New King James Version).
Yesterday, we looked at some people in the Bible with a bad reputation. Before we consider how to build a good reputation, let’s look at some examples in the Bible of people with a bad reputation.
Some examples of people with a bad reputation
Here are three examples of people in the Bible with a bad reputation although the phrase “bad reputation” is not used to describe them:
1. Eli’s sons. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, had a bad reputation. 1 Samuel 2:12 describes them as sons of Belial; they didn’t know the LORD. In verse 24, Eli said to his sons, “No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress” (New King James Version).
2. Samuel’s sons. Just like the sons of Eli, Samuel’s two sons, Joel and Abijah, had a bad reputation, which made the Israelites demand a king. They did not walk in Samuel’s way; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice (1 Samuel 8:1-5).
3. Diotrephes. He was a lawless, unruly, or uncontrollable Christian; he was a bad example of a Christian. John said of him, “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church” (3 John 9-10 New King James Version).
What a terrible reputation Diotrephes had as a Christian or even probably a church leader! He was unlike Demetrius, the next Christian mentioned in the chapter, who had a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself.
How to build a good reputation
1. Obey the Word of God. Do what is right always. The goal of building a good reputation is not to please people or try to court their favour. It is to please God and, in the process, we may please men. Paul said, “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant” (Galatians 1:10 New Living Translation).
Obey the Word of God. This is what Jesus said: “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15 New Living Translation). In the same vein, 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (New King James Version).
A good reputation always has to do with what someone has done or is doing. The same thing applies to a bad reputation. Do the right thing by obeying the Word of God. “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” This quote has been attributed to automobile giant, Henry Ford. I think it could also be applied to obeying the word of God. You can’t build a reputation on the Word of God you plan to obey. Obey it first.
2. Do good works and continue doing them. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (New King James Version). Good works will translate to a good reputation. According to Ephesians 2:10, believers are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that believers should walk in them.
When the Jews wanted to stone Jesus, He asked them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” (John 10:32 New King James Version). Acts 10:38 says Jesus went about doing good.
According to Acts 9:36, Tabitha or Dorcas, a certain disciple was a woman full of good works and charitable deeds. That she had a good reputation was evident when he died and Peter was sent for, to raise her back to life.
In 1 Peter 2:12, Peter tells believers to conduct themselves honorably among the Gentiles such that when they speak against them as evildoers, they might, by their good works they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Greek philosopher, Socrates, is quoted as saying, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
3. Take care of your character. Your character determines your reputation. L. Moody, in a quote attributed to him, said, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” Also, Oswald Chambers said, “We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark—the imaginations of our minds; the thoughts of our heart; the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God’s sight.”
Furthermore, Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” These quotes are good but not superior to what the Bible says.
The Bible says, “Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:13-15 New Living Translation).
Also, the Bible says in Proverbs 3:3-4, “Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation” (New Living Translation). Live a life of integrity. Don’t live a double life. “Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable” (Romans 12:17b New Living Translation).
4. Associate with only people of good reputation, not people of a bad reputation. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm” (New Living Translation). George Washington, in a quote attributed to him, said, “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.”
If you walk with bad people, no matter how good you are, their bad reputation will rub off on you. That does not mean that you should have nothing to do with people with a bad reputation if your mission is to minister the Word of God to them. This was the type of relationship Jesus had with sinners. He said He had not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance (Luke 5:32; Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17). The relationship was well defined.
5. Take heed to yourself; don’t allow anything to soil your good reputation. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says anyone who thinks he stands should take heed lest he falls. Take heed to yourself that nothing damages your reputation. Sin will do just that. Run from it. A bad reputation has made some people lose their offices or positions. Their organizations considered them a liability; therefore, they had to remove them.
Conclusion: Watch your character; it will make or mar your reputation. Remember that it takes more effort to build a good reputation than to damage it. A damaged reputation requires more effort to rebuild than the initial efforts to build it if ever it is rebuilt. “When I did well I heard it never. When I did ill I heard it ever” (Old English Rhyme). Build a good reputation and protect it. Don’t lose it.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: With the help of the Holy Spirit, I shall let my light so shine before men, that they may see my good works and glorify my Father in heaven. I shall be a doer, not a hearer or reader of the Word of God alone in Jesus’ name. Nothing shall soil my good reputation in Jesus’ name. I receive the grace to stand and to keep standing.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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