6/23/10

Building Your Reputation with God

If we are saved by grace, why should we live like Christians?  This is a very common question among belivers and non-believers.  I've asked it of myself many times.  It seems useless to live according to God's word when we know we are bought and paid for.  But that question is only asked by people who think, at one time or another, and whether they are aware of it or not, that Christianity is some program or process specifically designed for their benefit.  There are many answers to this question.  I won't get into all of them, but I have found one that I believe to be true. 

We live as Christians to build our reputation with God.  A good reputation takes time to build.  How you build your reputation can affect the reputation itself.  A company may make a good product, but if the sales representatives push the customers too hard or the business is run poorly, the quality of the product is irrelevant.  To build a good reputation, you've got to be consistently genuine, over time.  People are quick to pick up on your motives.  And God, even quicker. 

I still haven't really answered the question.  Why does building our reputation with God matter? Because God treats people differently when he knows he can trust them.  It's true.  I'm not saying he loves more or less.  But he does use the people he trusts. 

When Satan came to God and told him he'd been roaming the earth, God immediately asked him if he'd considered Job?  God trusted Job because of his reputation with him.  "Have you considered my servant Job?  There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." God knew that whatever Satan did to him, he could take it.  Job went through hell, theoretically and, almost literally. 

What do we learn from this?  That God allows people to suffer if he trusts them?  Maybe.  But that's not the point.  We all suffer.  Character is built through suffering.  But we also learn that God blesses those he trusts, immensely.  After Job's suffering, God blessed him more than he ever had.  God gave him thousands of camels, sheep, donkeys and oxen.  His daughters were more beautiful than everyone else's daughters.  And the guy lived to be 140 years old. 

Millions of people look to the story of Job when they are suffering.  God used him for those millions in need of relating, and for hope.  God trusted him.  And Job lived up to his reputation.

Lord, help our faith.  Build our character so that you can trust us with your work. 

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