Testimony vs Reputation
What sort of a reputation do you have? What sort of a testimony do you have? Maybe you think I am asking the same question by just using different words? Well, testimony and reputation are two very different concepts; while they have similarities, yet there are also distinct differences.
A reputation, essentially, is how you look in the eyes of others. Many will go to great lengths to try and maintain a good reputation. They will try to make themselves look good, appear upright and honest, and maintain an air of respectability in order to gain the acceptance and the favour of others. The problem with reputation is that it can change and vary from one person to another. Of course you can amend your reputation by altering your way of life in order to gain acceptance with different people.
However a testimony is altogether different: it has to do with how we are viewed in the sight of Almighty God. The all-seeing eye of an all-knowing God is a very humbling and heart-searching reality, because no matter how we may appear to others, God sees us for what we are. While we may seek the favour of others and cultivate a good reputation, the testimony that we have before God is of much greater importance. Many will strive to build up a good reputation, but, sadly, that can often come at the expense of our testimony. Pursuing the applause of our peers and friends, we do and say things that are dishonouring to the Lord. We let our guard down. We fall into sin simply to have a good reputation. It is possible to have a good reputation but a bad testimony.
Young believer, if you have to resort to sinful, worldly and fleshly actions and attitudes in order to gain a good reputation among those around you, perhaps such people are not the best choice as friends.
The truth is that when our testimony before God is right, then our reputation in the sight of others will take care of itself. Better to seek after a right testimony in God’s eyes than to run after a vain reputation in the sight of your peers.
We read that the Lord Jesus Christ “made himself of no reputation” (Philippians2:7). He did not seek a ‘slap on the back’ from the world, but according to John 8:29 did “always those things that please Him” (His Heavenly Father). He cared not as to His reputation before men. Like Enoch, but to the ultimate degree, He “had this testimony that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).
So, the challenge is to live right before God, to honour Him in every part of our daily walk and talk. And if our reputation has to be forfeited in order to have a good testimony before God, so be it, because, as the Lord reminds us, “them that honour me, I will honour”.
Rev. Garth Wilson.