Several years ago my daughter and I were discussing some of the "popular" people in her school. I was amazed at the time and expense that some of these teenagers would go to be noticed and well-liked by their peers. According to my daughter, who was a keen observer of the fast life and times of teenage girls, it seemed that much of the effort at popularity was spent on fashion, make-up and hanging around with the "right" people.
Many centuries ago Solomon recognized the need to be esteemed by our peers when he wrote,
A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.
- Proverbs 22:1
But the Bible teaches us that this need is not fulfilled through style or social status. In order to have a "good name" two things are necessary regardless of what you wear or who you know.
1. Keep your word
You forget what a person was wearing or who he was with at a certain time, but you never forget the person who breaks their word to you. Jesus said,
Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
- Matthew 5:37
A person who keeps their promise, a person who is there when they say that they will be, a person who follows through, that person is going to be popular with me!! …And I do not care who else likes them or not.
In Psalm 15, David asks the question, "Who may abide in Thy tent" meaning who is worthy before God, and he answers this by stating many qualities that one should have. In verse 4 he mentions that one quality of this person is, "He swears to his own hurt, but does not change". In other words, a person who gives his word and then things change which puts him on the short end or losing end, but he does not change or back out because he gave his word. His word is more important than his advantage.
What the world would not give for a leader who would keep his or her word.
If you want to be popular, have a good name. Make sure that your word is the most precious thing you can give to someone else.
2. Keep your standards
In the race to be popular, some people are willing to become whatever it takes to be accepted and admired.
For some, this is easy because they have no sense of who they are. They simply become whatever is required to achieve popularity. They are chameleons. Others, however, know who and what they are but many times disguise themselves or change their standards in order to fit a certain mold.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul reminds us that as Christians, we belong to God exclusively and he encourages us not to be molded by the pressures of this world to look like it, but rather to exert pressure the opposite way so that the world recognizes us for who we really are!
1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Romans 12:1-2
There is something appealing about someone who knows what they are about and whose actions are consistently in line with their beliefs.
When people know what you stand for and see you stand for it consistently, they will stand with you regardless of the fads and the fashions. Politics and popularity come and go but men and women of principle remain.
I have told my children that when I die they may not inherit great wealth but what I hope they will receive from me will be a good name. If they have a good name cultivated by a lifetime of keeping their word and keeping their standards, people may not see them as being "famous" or "popular" but they will be considered as dependable, trustworthy and persons of integrity. Qualities sought after by those who are looking for friends, employees, marriage partners, yes even governors and presidents.
How is your reputation? Have you been a person of your word? Have you let the world force you to act in non-Christian ways? Have you pretended that you were a Christian but have not yet obeyed the gospel and been baptized?
Why not put that name of yours stained by broken promises and sinful behavior, before the Lord and let Him wash it clear with His blood, and He will give you a new name: forgiven! That will make you popular with God and millions of angels.
- How does one begin to build a good reputation aside from the suggestions given here?
- In your opinion, how should one rebuild their "name" once it has been compromised?
- What are the greatest threats to one's reputation? How do we avoid these?