This is something that everyone has, and cannot escape. Reputation is something that sums up who we really are whether or not we want it. We cannot buy reputation; we cannot deny it; we cannot inherit it; and we cannot change it without changing ourselves. See Eccl. 10:1; Acts 5:34; Gal. 2:2; Phil. 2:7 and 2:29 These all use the word, from different Greek/Hebrew words.
In the case of Phil. 2:6, Jesus was emptied of His reputation…and almost all other references have to do with the value, honour, etc. given to individuals. Basically, it is an estimation of the person’s real self. We cannot escape who we really are. “Reputation” means “Being held in good opinion (or bad) by others.” The Websters 1828 dictionary gives these examples: 1. A good name: the credit, honor or character which is derived from a favorable public opinion or esteem. 2. Character by report, in a good or bad sense; …in other words, our reputation is built on who we are, not by a one time act necessarily, but who we are consistently.
Look at Gal. 2:2 (Read) Notice Paul went “privately to them which were of reputation.” These men were known by their character! I have known a few people who have boldly said, “I don’t care what people think of me.” That attitude cannot be backed up by Scripture. We are to be people of integrity and honor. Phil. 2:6-7 shows us that Jesus emptied Himself and made Himself of no reputation, meaning He gave up the reputation of equality with God…and He was still very much God, but He took upon Him the form of a servant.
Here are a few thoughts on the subject:
- Reputation is not what we say we are. Basically, “Our lives are speaking so loudly about us that people cannot hear what we say about ourselves.” Reputation is not what we think of ourselves, but rather what we are known to others as. “It is a predictable response to a future influence or situation.” My definition of what identifies us.
- A good reputation can be spoiled by a little folly. Eccl. 10:1 states, “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” It does not matter how good your reputation has been for how long, it can become a stink with a little folly.
- The way we defend our good reputation is by maintaining an honorable life. Proverbs 22:1 states, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” We do not have to protect a good name from those who are loose with their tongues. They build their own reputation and no one believes them when they speak ill of those of good reputation. I would hate to think that my reputation was such that no one would believe me when I speak.
- Reputation will follow us far beyond every victory we win in life, and the sooner we change and build a good reputation, the more lasting the good reputation will be. What do you think of when I say: “Cain?” , “Demas?” , “Job?” “Rahab?”
Good reputations are built one day at a time and lost one day at a time.
God bless you as you live for Christ. Guard your good name. It is worth more than silver or gold.