Philippins 2:6-8 (NKJ): 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus made himself “a man of no reputation.” Now, I know the context in which this verse is written, it is referring to Jesus, son of God, humbling himself by coming to earth as a mere servant rather than a King or someone of notable status. I get it. I do. However, I can’t help to think,
“What did Jesus think about his reputation?”
I know I have worried about mine a lot lately. How can I be effective in ministry if my reputation is tarnished? How can I do this or that if people think badly of me? What will happen to my ministry if people by the lies?
Now, reputations don’t just belong to people. A church can be harmed by gossip, lies, untruths, and half-truths as well, and the damages are just as devastating. In the long run, it is the church as a whole (God’s church) that pays the ultimate price, especially when we start turning on our brothers and sisters in Christ.
But where there are humans, there are imperfect people, and the devil will capitalize on our weaknesses.
As we all know, we can’t control what people say, think, or believe. It is a waste of our time and ministry to worry about such matters.
We have to do what Jesus did. Jesus ignored His haters and continued the work His father sent Him to do.
Now, don’t get me wrong; people in ministry must hold themselves to Godly standards. We must live what we speak, teach, or preach. When we make mistakes, and we will, people need to see us correcting those mistakes. It is my belief that we need to live open lives.
Now my “open life” stance is one on which many disagree. It is my approach to be open and honest about my life. What you see is what you get. I don’t try to hide my weaknesses, my hurts, or my struggles. Actually, I will use them in my messages whenever possible. I guess I do this so that people will not be surprised when they find I am human, make mistakes, and don’t have all the answers. I hate, absolutely hate, when I think someone is this way, only to find out later that was just a “ministry persona.” I believe this approach makes me relate-able to those I’m trying to reach as they recognize I am just one of them.
Yes, this approach has and will continue to be used against me by those out to hurt me or my ministry. However, I believe the benefits of such a ministry far outweigh the ungodly intentions of those set to take me down. Satan loves to use things we keep in the dark. If we don’t have an honest ministry, and share even the ugly places, someone is bound to use that against us down the road anyway. Why give the devil a foothold?
Sometimes we just have to admit that not everyone is going to like us.
With some, we just can’t win. I have been criticized for talking too much only to be criticized by that same person for not talking enough (must not know as much as I thought). Trying to please people will leave us spinning our wheels. The only person we have to please is God. Oh, how much easier my life would be if I could just get that into my heart!
We all have been given a job here on earth. We all have a ministry. We cannot effectively carry out our ministries without the power of Holy Spirit. It is only in His power that we will succeed. So, doesn’t it seem silly to think Holy Spirit would be stopped by the likes of gossip, lies, untruths, and half-truths? It is absolutely ridiculous to think such things; of course God can work in such circumstances. Actually, I think God loves working in such circumstance because He is sure to get all the glory. (Yep, that is why he uses someone like me.)
We have to be like Jesus and become people of no reputation, not caring about what people say or think about us.
We have to speak His truth wherever we go, no matter what. We have to live our lives according to the Bible and then trust God will take care of the rest. I think Beth Moore put this idea very well in her book Breaking Free:
The only begotten Son of the Father came to do the will of His Father…..As an earthen vessel, Jesus had to trust His Father’s will completely. Although rejection, suffering, and shame were part of His experience, Christ accepted his God-given ministry at every difficult turn because He trusted His Father’s heart. (p. 179)
Think about the disciples. Were they loved by everyone? Were they welcomed with open arms where ever they went? Were there power struggles within the new church? Did jealousy cause people to do ungodly things? Yes, Yes, , Yes, and Yes!
Why do we expect things to be different for us?
Jesus suffered. The disciples suffered. We too will suffer.
Philippians 1:29 (NKJ):29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
In short, Jesus was a man of no reputation. If it was good enough for Him, it is good enough for us.
Be blessed and be a blessing,