I might not be aware of the exact second it will sound, but most of the time I at least know the day. After all, I’m a teacher and need to plan accordingly. Then there are a few surprise fire, tornado, and severe weather drills. Even when I know the day, the piercing squeal sets my nerves on edge.
As alarms can be heard near and far, so our reputations should be as well. Believers in Thessalonica mastered the art. And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere…for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God (I Thessalonians 1:8 NLT).
I’ve almost had a lifetime of building a Christian reputation. Overall I’ve done well, but there have been short periods when the alarm wasn’t sounding clearly. Establishing a ringing reputation takes intense work. Like a credit history, it’s built over time. As I live out the reality of my faith in practical ways, I nurture my reputation. If I believe loving God is most important, I must attend to my relationship with him. If patience is a virtue, I should thank him for episodes that nurture the virtue. And if loving others is important, I must look for ways to show it rather than simply giving lip service.
A ringing reputation also entails incidents of forgiveness-mine and God’s. I’ve never been perfect, am not now, and won’t be until eternity. But it’s not periodic failures that tarnish my reputation; it’s choosing to stay the course of rebellion. God forgives continually-though he expects me to learn my lesson, and I must learn to forgive myself also. Unrealistic expectations only hinder my journey toward a ringing reputation.
What can you do to help your reputation ring more clearly?
Prayer: Spirit of grace and mercy, enable us to build reputations that honor You and ring loudly and clearly to others.
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