Day 6 - My Reputation
Tonight's prayer time left me speechless. I am still taking it in. How wonderfully refreshing it was and deeply convicting to my soul. Wow. Tonight, God dealt with my obsession with my reputation. I just care a whole lot about what others think about me.
It was during my prayer time tonight that God brought to my attention the number of times I have checked the stats on this blog site today. How many people have commented? How many views? Why are the numbers going down? Goodness, why do I care so much? As soon as I become more concerned with the stats on this blog rather than with what God is doing through it, I have a problem.
I repent of caring more about my reputation than God's.
Often, I am more concerned with how something will affect me than how it will affect God and His glory. If He asks me to do something, my first thoughts are usually "what will this make me look like?" Instead, I should be asking "how can this bring You more glory?" My concern should be for God's reputation in this world and how He is or is not being glorified in a situation, not how my reputation is being affected. It's all about His Name and His Glory! I am deeply grieved that my eyes tend to look out for me, instead of Him.
No one is a better example of being all about His Name and His Glory than John the Baptist. In John 3, John's disciples come to him saying "Jesus is now baptizing as well and everyone is going to Him now!" (my paraphrase) The implication here is that Jesus' growing ministry is taking away from John's ministry and his disciples are concerned about this. They are losing followers! But John's response is beautiful. He says, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but 'I have been sent ahead of Him.' He who has the bride is the bridegroom (Jesus); but the friend of the bridegroom (John), who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease."
In this response, John first acknowledges that Jesus' growing popularity is given to Him by God. He then compares himself to the friend of the groom whose joy is simply in fulfilling his role of support to the groom. It has nothing to do with whether he is magnified or not, but if Jesus, the bridegroom, is glorified it is not only enough, but it is his joy!
John had an amazing lack of concern for his own popularity and his own ministry growth. In fact, as Jesus came on the scene, John's ministry decreased. Yet he was happy for it because His only concern was for the magnification of Jesus, "whose sandal he was not worthy to untie." I began reading a commentary on this section of scripture by Dr. Constable and was struck profoundly by his comments on John 3:30:
"This classic expression of humility arose out of John's perception of and acceptance of His God-given role as Messiah's forerunner. Far from discouraging people from following Jesus, as his disciples implied he should, John would continue to promote Him. He viewed this as God's will and therefore said it "must" be so. Would that all of us who are God's servants would view Jesus' position and our own similarly. Submission to God's will and the exaltation of Jesus, not prominence in His service, should bring joy to His servants."
Lord, forgive me when I have sought to be prominent in Your service, hoping that my own reputation will grow as I serve You. If it serves Your glory best for my reputation to decrease each year, may I have even more joy that my life has been used for Your service! Rid me of any longing to seek the promotion of my reputation in any arena. May I always receive the MOST joy from seeing the exaltation of Jesus, not the exaltation of myself. Your reputation, not mine. Your glory, not mine. Amen.