Proverbs 22:1, 4, 29
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great wealth, good favor more than silver or gold. 4 The reward for humility and fearing the LORD is riches and honor and life. 29 Do you see a person skilled in his work? He will take his position before kings; he will not take his position before obscure people.”
2 Corinthians 6:3
“We do not give anyone an occasion for taking an offense in anything, so that no fault may be found with our ministry.”
“This is the reason I do my best to always have a clear conscience toward God and toward people.”
“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.”
A good name in the sight of God and man is more valuable than anything this world can offer. But a good name is not the pursuit of popularity, nor is it a desire for approval from man. Today as I read Proverbs 22, it is choosing a good name that stands out to me. No one wants to be thought of in a bad light, but we also cannot control people’s perceptions. So how do we choose a good name? A faithful walk with God.
Solomon offers clues later in the same chapter about the pursuit of humility and fearing the LORD as being the most prized approach in life. The fear of the LORD and humility are not “put on”, so how are they chosen? We really cannot exhibit godly characteristics apart from God infusing them into us. Humility is a recognition that we are completely incapable of anything good in and of ourselves. It is not just a mental assent to this fact, however, as our posture is affected when we see how very needful we are of God. So, how do we see our need of Him?
Attaining humility is not possible on our own. We are the complete antithesis of humility, but with God all things are possible. He often uses circumstances to affect our understanding and to produce in us what is pleasing in His sight. Sometimes we do not appreciate His methods, but we are also unaware of what He is accomplishing in us.
The fear of the LORD has been greatly misunderstood. Recognizing that I am deserving of judgment and was instead extended mercy is the beginning of the fear of the LORD. The fear of God can keep people at a distance from Him or it can affect us powerfully to draw nearer, prostrate and humbled by his greatness. In this awe and a reverence of our Holy God, we conduct our lives with an accountability of all aspects of our lives laid bare before Him.
This month as been excruciatingly challenging for my family for many reasons. In the midst of the difficulties, yesterday I paused and thanked God. I also wept and surrendered to Him. Had we not had some of the challenges that humbled me, I would not have been brought to the realization of what God showed me. These momentary struggles are changing us for His glory. Sometimes pain is the best tool as it fashions us to be more like our Father. But more than just circumstances, the discipline of seeking Him is a tool that places us in His hands to be transformed.
We are never done seeking Him and we never arrive. Consistently walking before Him is a necessity. Added to this foundation of humility and reverence of God is a call to be skilled. Not so we can boast about our accomplishments, but as we seek to be faithful to our God, we need to develop all of the talents and skills He has placed in us for His glory. It is not the seeking of our fame or acknowledgement, but the diligence of growing all of our God-given abilities for use by our Master.
However He wants to use it all is up to Him, but consistency, faithfulness, fear of the LORD, and humility speak to those around us of who we are in Christ. Ultimately, we are hidden in Him and His Name becomes our own. Representing Him is the highest honor we can have in this world – the best choice for a good name. The good name we pursue is not our given name, but the name of Christ alone.
Lord Jesus, it is You we glorify – You who we want to please and be like. Help us to never cease seeking to know You more and to embody Who You are to this world. May we be found faithful and make You famous.