PHILEMON 4-7 – I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
THEME OF THE DAY. OUR REPUTATION AMONG PEOPLE. Have we ever wondered what our reputation is among people? Now before we settle into the answer of that question, I am not implying we are to be driven by what people think of us. If we live wondering what the opinions of others about us are, we are in spiritual trouble. Certainly we want people to like us and affirmation is a good thing, but those are not to be sought by a Christian. Living under the umbrella of people’s thoughts of us can be a form of spiritual bondage that cripples our walks with the Lord because we may end up compromising truth or accommodating ourselves to the desires of others. So, with that out of the way, what I am asking is what would our reputations as Christians be when people talk about us? Well, there are at least three responses to that question.
First, people may see us as religiously moral people who live a good life. This isn’t bad, but it falls short of the reputation of being a Christian. And the reason why this might be said of us is that we are silent about the person of Jesus Christ. People may know we go to church. They may know we read the Bible, but they have never once been engaged by us about the Person of the Lord Jesus who made us what we are. What is failing in this reputation is the witness for Christ. Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the world” (Acts 1:8). A silence about Christ Christian is a Biblical contradiction. Strive to not have a reputation of being religiously moral.
Next, people may see us as just like them but with a little church thrown in. We may call this the worldly Christian. Avoid this at great cost. Worldly Christians do great harm to the Gospel. They tell the world, “You can have Christ, heaven, and still enjoy all the fleshly, earthly pleasures of the world.” What is so sad with being the worldly Christian is it is the height of self-deception. No, Christians cannot have Christ and the world. No, Christians cannot love the world and God. The Apostle John writes, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17). Be separate from the world, not isolated, but separate. This is foundational for a credible reputation as a Biblical Christian.
A third reputation a Christian may have, and is the most desired, is that found in today’s scripture; to be Philemon-like. What a testimony! What a way to be viewed by people! To be known as a person who loves people, encourages people, refreshes people, and comforts people by their active faith and love in the Lord Jesus. This is what a Biblical Christian is to be. It is also what God provides through His Word and grace for His people to be.
So, what is our reputation among people? May God help us be Philemon-like and make a difference for Him among the people we know.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to represent You well in all my actions, attitudes, and conversations.”
QUOTE: “To build a Christ-like and Christ-honoring reputation, it will take personal resolve and dependency on the Lord.”