How important is your reputation to you?
For most of us, our reputation is everything. We care what people think about us. We desire the good opinion of others.
Recently I was reading that beautiful portrait of Christ found in Philippians 2:5-11 and was absolutely stunned by what verse seven said.
I have read this passage hundreds of times. I even have it memorized but as I read it again I was deeply challenged and convicted.
Philippians 2:5-7 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
Jesus made Himself of no reputation.
My reputation is important to me. It is too important. Often I struggle to obey Him because I care about what the people around me think.
Following Jesus often forces us to do things that make us look strange or even foolish to this world.
1st Corinthians talks about this a lot. Repeatedly, Paul tells us that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God and that the foolishness of God is wiser than men.
Following Jesus means embracing that which appears foolish to this world. It means being misunderstood. It means sacrificing our reputation as sane, normal, intelligent individuals.
That is hard for us. Naturally, as human beings, we protect our reputations. We want others to think well of us.
Why do we struggle with evangelism? Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. Why do so few people in the church share the gospel?
We are afraid of what people might think of us. Our reputation is more important to us than the souls of those around us.
Why do we struggle to stoop low and serve? Jesus washed his disciple’s feet and then told them that they ought to wash one another’s feet. Why is serving each other so hard?
Too often we do not like to be seen stooping and serving. It takes humility to serve well.
Why do we struggle to humble ourselves and let other people win arguments? Jesus commanded us to prefer one another. Yet the greatest problem in modern missions is that missionaries cannot get along with each other. Why is it so hard to get along with our fellow believers?
Too often it is because we care too much about being right.
We care about our reputations. And far too often we do not serve Jesus well as a result.
Jesus made Himself of no reputation. He, God Almighty, Creator of the Galaxies, God of Angel Armies, chose to give up His reputation and come into this world as a human being. He knew that He would be misunderstood, hated and persecuted.
Yet He came anyway because He loved us.
Jesus made Himself of no reputation because we were more important to Him than His reputation.
Are we willing to make ourselves of no reputation for the name of Jesus? Is He more important to us than our feeble reputations?