We invest in our reputation.
Whether we intend to or not.
Good and bad.
Our reputation is how others see us, but our character is who we really are.
Seen is what we reveal to others.
Unseen is what is not always revealed but this also has an audience.
In the letters to the churches in Revelations 2:1-32, seven times the words “I know” appears.
The message is two-fold
“I know what is seen, but I also know what is not”.
Jesus speaks to the churches not as an accuser but as a friend.
To encourage, to correct and also to chastise.
But there is also another observer.
Job 1:6 identifies him as Satan
Zechariah 3:1 identifies this observer as one ready to accuse.
Revelations 12:10 leaves no doubt that he is “the accusers of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before God day and night.
I recently thought, I want my reputation to be the same before God as it is before others.
The unseen the same as the seen.
I am fully aware that I am not there.
And most likely will not be this side of heaven.
It is ironic that the enemy who stands accusing you and me day and night is doing so before the same God who has forgiven us for any and every charge the enemy can bring before Him, about us now and forever.
And that brings clarity. It relieves the pressure of trying to achieve a standard, a reputation I could never attain and replaces it with trust.
What and who I trust develops character
Trust helps me to believe the only thing that is important about my character and reputation is this.
That I am right before God.
Revelations 12:10 tells us how this is possible, how we silence the accusations of the enemy.
1. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.
2. And by the word of their testimony.
3. They didn’t love their life so much that they refused to give it up.
The only legitimate accusation the accuser can make
• We have unconfessed sin
• We have not accepted the blood of Jesus which covers all of our sin.
When we trust Him and believe all His promises are true this determines our character and despite our failures and weaknesses defines our reputation….
“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”.
I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.
Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full.
“ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”.
( 1 Corinthians 13:12).
My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been.
I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten.
I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis.
I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change.
I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life.
If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad.
One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather.
One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness.
All part of a story that has had many twists and turns.
I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs
"As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles"
And so it is true for me.
But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed.
The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins!
"" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns".
My hope is that as we all run
our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written.
And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you.
Further up and further in!
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