The Bible is full with redeemed people. The worse the person’s reputation, the more amazing the story of transformation seems to be. The woman at the well in John 4 had multiple husbands, yet her encounter with Jesus spurred her to share her changed life with many. Rahab was a prostitute but “was shown to be right with God by her actions” (James 2:25). Perhaps you can recall stories of people you know or have heard or read about whose lives were drastically changed from bad reputations to beautiful reflections of God.
What happens when you didn’t have such a bad reputation? You’ve lived a good life – not perfect by any means, but you certainly wouldn’t be identified as the black sheep of your family or voted Most Likely to Serve Prison Time by your high school classmates. Having a good reputation can be a blessing, but it can have downsides as well.
A good reputation can make us question the impact our story has on others. Our stories can seem too boring. Remember, God doesn’t need drama to shine a spotlight on Himself. Your consistency, quiet struggles, and gradual growth are important themes in the story He’s telling through your life.
A good reputation can cause us to be insensitive to what needs to be pruned. Because we’re seen as “good” by so many around us, we can rationalize some of the small steps we’re taking away from God, because “at least we’re not…” doing what the person next to us is doing. Remember, God doesn’t measure your spiritual growth against anyone else. He is the standard of measurement and the one who does the measuring.
A good reputation can pressure us to wear masks. We can feel pressured to keep up the image of our good reputation and end up leading lives of charades. God wants you to be authentic. He wants you to be transparent with Him and those around you, because when you are, He shows through more completely.
Thank God for where you’ve been, where you are, and where He’s taking you. Celebrate with a mini-party today. Treat yourself to an ice cream cone or a long walk in the park. Buy a balloon to place in your work station or home to remind yourself of the blessing of God’s reputation, the keeper of all promises for your life!