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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.  And, in fashion as a man, he (Jesus) humbled himself and became obedient unto death – even the death of the Cross. – Philippians 2:7-8

– Serving our own interest to the neglect of Jesus is a very great sin.  It is common among Christians and ministers.  Many prefer their own credit, ease, and safety – before truth, holiness, and duty.  The things of their own pleasure and reputation before the things of Christ and giving honor to God. – Matthew Henry

After Jesus cleansed a certain leper, the leper was instructed to say nothing about it to any man – but only to show himself to a priest in a city where they both resided.  The leper did not listen.  Instead, he began to publish the event much, and blazed abroad about the miracle … to the point where Christ could not enter into this city openly (Mark 1:40-45).  There would just be too much attention centered on Jesus.

During the Feast of the Tabernacles, some of Christ’s brethren questioned his obvious desire to shun the public spotlight and remain unspotted as much as possible (James 1:27).  They said, “Go into Judea, so your disciples may also see the works you do.  For there is no man who does anything in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world (John 7:3-4).”

These words were all born out of unbelief (John 7:5). Jesus was not acting or talking like a king of earthly reputation would – much less an eternal king.  Christ did not show any cravings for notoriety, nor showed any desire for some sort of status in society.  Jesus simply went about his Father’s business quietly (Luke 2:49), humbly obeying Him all the way to the Cross. Dying there so we would learn to live the same way.

All reputations, good, bad, or in between are of this world.  They show God continued conformance to it, and not being transformed by truth (Romans 12:1-2). Positive reputations can bring a certain amount of prestige and praise, while negative ones can bring a lot of problems and pain.  People who have the latter can squander precious time attempting to repair and restore broken images by external methods or means.

Whatever reputations do or don’t do, they are all in direct opposition to God’s Word.  No matter how they are created or destroyed, they are not in alignment or agreement with His will.  Climbing up the corporate ladder to fame and making a name, or the Christian rungs to do the same, is not why God put us here on earth.  It is to stay humbly obedient to His way until death, so we might be saved (e.g. Hebrews 9:15).

Sadly, and with eternal consequences if not corrected, the modern church has been creating a idolatrous culture of celebrity Christian singers, writers, and speakers for decades.  Some of these people are of great repute and have attained cult-like followings. But, they are grievous wolves drawing disciples away for themselves.  Speaking perverse things for profit, and to preserve their reputation (Acts 20:29-30).

This all may seem new, but it’s not (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  Moses dealt with 250 princes in his assembly who rose up against him and Aaron.  Men of renown, with reputations, and all famous in the congregation (Numbers 16:2).  Paul spoke of those who seemed to be somebody, but it made no difference to him.  They didn’t add anything to his teachings as God respects no man’s person (Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6).

God has several thoughts regarding all of this.  Read what the prophet Daniel writes about it: “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing.  And, He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.  None can stay His hand and say to Him, ‘What are You doing (Daniel 4:35)?'”  Still, there is someone who wants us to think differently when it comes to reputations.

The deceiver of this world (Revelation 12:9) and its prince (John 14:30), Satan, does a very good job in convincing even the most steadfast Christians they must maintain a certain image in life to present to others; a religious reputation to uphold.  This is a device the devil uses to trick believers into thinking they’re standing firm in faith.  But, it’s only upon their reputation, and not the foundation of Jesus – if at all.

This is how Christians fall from repentance and grace (Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 12:15) – and can end up finding no space in heaven.  It is how they give place to Satan and fall into his same condemnation, as good reputations tend to puff people up in pride (Ephesians 4:27, 1 Timothy 3:6).  Having one pushes God to the sidelines, unless He seems to be helping them keep their high esteem and good standing before others.

Instead of having the same before Him.  What keeps us in our Father’s esteem, good standing, and favor, is repenting of things like desires to have a reputation – along with the haughty airs having one can bring. Yes, it is true we are created in His image, but this does not mean we are born with His attributes.  To obtain them, we’re commanded to produce spiritual fruits not usually esteemed among men (Luke 16:15).

The humble example of Christ is set before us in the Bible.  Learning Jesus is not a recommendation from God to contemplate (Ephesians 4:20-32).  It is not something to mull over, but a commandment to obey. Desires for the fleeting praise and prestige worldly admiration can bring, along with the advantage of reputations, are dangerous ways to defy God, and to face consequences for doing so (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– We are unprofitable servants.  We have done that which was our duty to do. – Luke 17:10

– And turn ye not aside; for then should ye go after vain things which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. – 1 Samuel 12:21

Most people who have jobs probably like and enjoy receiving small tokens of appreciation from time to time for their good work.  Every now and then, it is also nice to receive some raises, bonuses, and an occasional promotion.  Otherwise, who would ever want to keep working for any company that never noticed the efforts of those who worked for them?

Being unappreciated can cause some to start seeking new jobs elsewhere – maybe a different place where supervisors are known to openly show their gratitude for work well done on a regular basis.  Efforts usually feel much more worthwhile when tangible rewards are given.  However, such desires in any Christian doing work for God reveal a dangerous and worldly mind.  

A mind where believers expect recognition, love gifts, and follow after earthly reward or profit for all they do in the Lord’s name.  It is no different now than it was back in Biblical days (Hosea 9:1, Isaiah 1:23, Malachi 3:14).  However, we don’t do a little bit of work for God, then sit back and wait for blessings and rewards before going out to work some more (Luke 17:7-10).

All of the work we do for God is our reward.  It is not a means to get one.  It is reckoned of debt, not grace (Romans 4:4).  We’re to do our duty as commanded. Not for what we may think is due back in return – but for what God gave us at the Cross.  Christ paid the ultimate price.  Therefore, He doesn’t owe us a thing in life.  We are the ones who owe Him everything.

We are God’s unprofitable servants on this earth – not profitable employees.  The King is served by the field. It is not the other way around (Ecclesiastes 5:9).  We did not bring anything into this world, and it is certain we cannot carry anything out (1 Timothy 6:7).  All the earthly blessings we may think God is bestowing upon us in our life – will be left behind when we die.

God tells us to take heed if we depart from Him and turn aside after Satan in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19, 1 Timothy 5:15).  Part of unbelief is if we run greedily after the error of Baal (Jude 1:11).  Baal is where we get Beelzebub (2 Kings 1:6).  Satan is worshipped and served more if we think we should be served with profit from God.  It makes Him a liar (Romans 1:25).

This is holding the truth in unrighteousness, and it is having a foolish heart (Romans 1:18-21).  Such belief says He should be thanking and giving us His glory for being such good Christians (Mark 10:18) – falling all over us with worldly favor and blessings (Romans 2:11).  This is a lack of understanding.  It is seeking earthly good; but not seeking God (Romans 3:11-12).

A worldly mind equates work with wages.  Good and steadily dedicated work over time may be rewarded with a raise.  However, if we’ve been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5), we have been given Christ’s mind (1 Corinthians 2:16).  It says to humbly obey God until death just as Jesus did (Philippians 2:8) – without earthly profit or gain on the way (Jude 1:11).

God requires us to have an unwavering walk with His Son down heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14).  If we ever anticipate any worldly presents and blessings from Him for work we do, we don’t have the steadfast faith needed to be made partakers of Jesus at the end (Hebrews 3:14).  What we have is a desire for steady profit; which actually creates a stop-and-go walk.

We’re saying to Him we will obey and do our duty a short while – then stop and collect our reward first before we proceed any further (Luke 17:7-10).  It is telling Him we still have affections focused on fleeting worldly things as a reason to stay faithful; and not on things above (Colossians 3:2).  We are still laying up treasures for ourselves on earth (Matthew 6:19-20).

We are plainly letting Him know we are still seeking a better country here; and not willing to wait with the confidence and patience required for a better country awaiting in heaven (Hebrews 10:35-36, 11:13-15). However, what does it matter if we should gain a whole world of profit during our brief life (James 4:14) – if we lose our soul in the end (Mark 8:36)?

 

 

 

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