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PTC_Proverbs 22 - "A few good names"

5/28/13 - PTC_Proverbs 22 - "A few good names" [note for KL and JW - this post includes a link to our values page - just don't want you to miss it.]
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.

Proverbs 22:1 (ESV)
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold. 

Focused thinking:
What is a good name?
A good name is one that when mentioned or thought of brings to mind a person of integrity and trustworthiness. There have been people who have betrayed me or harmed me that when their name comes to mind, so does the memory of the pain they caused. They lack a good name. I truly want a good name. I want my sons to have a good name. I think a good name is something Christians should strive for in every arena.

Occasionally I'll hear someone spout off some hard line religious statement like, "If you are following Jesus, it doesn't matter what people think of you!" And yes, theologically I agree, but the heart and tone in it lacks love for others which is a primary concern of our Lord Jesus. If you have been a Christian a while, it's easy to lose sight of the importance of a "good name" with all people. Often times the focus becomes having a good name in our Christian circle that we forget we are called to "engage culture instead of escape culture" (see the values of Highpoint Church - http://highpointmemphis.com/ourvalues). Engaging culture means being concerned about our name in the community. MInd you this never means "watering down" our convictions or dodging the Truth of God's Word. This principle is driven primarily by our approach to relationships.

I can't stress this enough - the Christian life is a RELATIONAL life. We must look at how we conduct the relationships of our lives and ask, "Am I cultivating a good name?"
Here are some convicting questions:
  • Do I have a good name with my spouse?
  • Do I have a good name with my teachers at school?
  • Do I have a good name in the dating scene?
  • Do I have a good name with my children?
  • Do I have a good name with my in-laws?
  • Do I have a good name with my parents?
  • Do I have a good name with my siblings?
  • Do I have a good name with my co-workers and boss?
  • Do I have a good name with those I have minor interactions (Barista at Starbucks, the server at lunch, etc.)
  • Do I have a good name with my social circle?
  • Do I have a good name in my financial dealings?
  • Do I have a good name with an underdog?
  • Do I have a good name in my church?
These questions are designed to raise awareness of where your name needs work. 
Interestingly, the Proverb says, a good name is to be CHOSEN. This brings the issue of a good name into our decision set. We can decide to have a good name. And as far as it does depend on us, we ought to strive for a good name. From a big-piucture Gospel perspective, just imagine how much of the Gospel hangs on the "good name" of Christians. We don't live in a world that believes the Bible because it's the Bible. We live in a world that refuses to look to God or the Bible until they see compelling evidence in you and me. The world is looking for a few good names. The world wants to see our lives reflect what we claim Jesus can do.

It breaks my heart when Christians are less than honest - of course Christians still sin and struggle, but nevertheless it breaks my heart that people with no relationship with Jesus can show more honesty, morality and self-control than many Christians i know. What would happen if we as believers decided to have a good name?

This proverb becomes more pointed as your get to the end. A good name - one of character and integrity, one that displays the love of Christ is to be chosen rather than great riches. Ouch! We all want "great riches." Plenty of us are working really hard to see if we can find those "great riches." How much work are we putting in to develop a good name? 

Application:
Be honest. Where in your life do you lack a good name? When your name is mentioned, who is frustrated, angry, hurt, rejected, fearful, lonely or unloved?
This week pray through how you might change your name with this person/people and choose a good name.
Don't announce your plan, simply change your name through a change of attitude, action and speech. You cannot convince someone you have a good name. A good name is developed over time and through consistency. 
Years ago, when I was in school at the University of Memphis, I ran into a guy on campus that had no business being there. He had been out of school for a long time and was obviously there on his lunch break. He recognized me and looking back I can remember that he was a little embarrassed to be seen. I naively asked, "what are you doing here?" He was a little flustered and obviously had no cover up answer prepared, so he said shamefully, "When I was in school here I stole a book from a professor. I saw it the other day and decided to bring it back." I was floored. I had the highest respect for this guy. HE stole a book from a prof!? The simple fact that he was there, years later even, only deepened my respect for him. He was unwilling to let anything stand in the way of a good name. He was not perfect but he had a good name.

Prayer:
God, I want a good name. I can't honestly say I always want a good name more than great riches, but even processing all this today, I want it more now than ever. God, help me put in the work for a good name. If I need to follow up with someone or correct a misunderstanding, please bring that to mind. I pray that when my name is mentioned, people don't talk about my skill or talent; I pray they talk about my love. I pray that people around be feel loved by me. As I saw up close this week with a couple in crisis - talking love is not enough, we must show love. God, keep me from the slippery slope of being an intellectual Christian. Make me a Christian that is actively pursuing love. I pray that through a good name you will give me favor for the sake of the Gospel. 

I pray that You continue to give Highpoint Church a good name in this community. I love that people from other churches invite their friends to HP. I love that we are a church for the last ditch effort someone will give God or church. God, I pray for the hundreds of marriages that desperately need husbands and wives to value a good name. I pray that husbands would set the tone of their homes and work hardest for a good name with their wife and kids. I pray for the three couples you have given me to walk with during this particular season. I pray that each of them work hard to overcome a bad name in their marriage. I pray that you will give them success. I pray against the enemy who always wants to destroy a good name. 

Give the readers of this post courage to ask/answer the questions above honestly and to take some step of action as a result. God I know You intend to bless the world through Your people. May we align our lives with Your will by choosing a good name.

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Posted by Andy Savage at 8:30 AM
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