Whose Reputation?

When I graduated from high school and began to look for a job, I had very little to put on my resume. Over time, however, I gained some experience, and began to accumulate some skills and accomplishments. Every once in awhile someone would even tell me, “That will look good on your resume!”

This might work fine in a job-hunting role, but it will never do as a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus told a pretty pointed story about a resume-building Pharisee in Luke 18:9. This man was described as one who was “confident of [his] own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.” He emphasized all his good qualities, and did his best to make himself look good at the expense of others (see vv. 11-12). Jesus said, this type of man who exalts himself, will be humbled by God.

Another man was praying at the same time as this reputation-conscious Pharisee. But this man didn’t try to make himself look good. Instead he prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (v. 13). Jesus said this man “went home justified before God” (v. 14).

Humility is not thinking less of myself. Humility is thinking of myself less.

I’m not trying to promote my accomplishments, but God’s accomplishments.

I’m not trying to put my skills in the spotlight, but God’s magnificence.

I’m not trying to make myself famous; I want God to be famous.

I don’t need to look good, but I certainly do want God to look good.

If you want to live this way, I challenge you to pray this prayer —

Dear God, I am humbled by my sins. But I am confident that through the forgiveness paid for by Jesus You receive me as justified. May I die to my reputation so I may live exalted by You.

Join me next Sunday as we continue to see how disciples of Jesus need to live dead.

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