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In working with students who are beginning their college careers, I often encourage them to be diligent about their academic efforts. Although it may seem basic, small things like going to class, being engaged, and turning in papers on time can make the difference between academic success and failure. With the newfound freedom of their college schedule comes the responsibility to show up to class on time and prepared with the work completed.

The other thing that I encourage them in is being careful in their personal life. Out from under the ever-watchful eyes of mom and dad, students can make choices that were perhaps not as easy before. They can hang out with whoever they want, eat what they want when they want it, and they can set their own bedtime and waking hours. They can also be foolish in their choices: going places they should not go, watching what they shouldn’t watch, and cutting corners on personal responsibilities.

What is at stake here is one’s personal and professional reputation. As we get to know new students particularly, faculty and staff form opinions about them. Who seems to be “with the program”? Who seems to be “lost”? Who seems to be the most talented? Who seems to be responsible or unresponsible? Who would be a great leader for one of our groups?

Proverbs 22:1 says “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.” I encourage students to guard their name and reputation closely. It would be silly to spend thousands of dollars on a college education, only to have poor recommendations from their faculty and staff members from the school.

As believers, what is also at stake is the name of Christ. As Christians, we bear his name, and our deeds will only help to glorify God or bring reproach to Him. I recently shared a devotion on Psalm 23. It was made very clear to me that God leads us “in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”. We should be obeying God not only because it is right, not only because of our name’s sake, but for the sake of His name. Living rightly and doing everything for the glory of God will not only protect our reputation, it will protect His.

7 comments to Reputation

  • Steve Murphy

    I can fully attest to this challenge of maintaining reputation, and as I am now a Junior, I know a lot more than I knew as a Freshman, but I still have much I felt overwhelmed during my first semester at Cedarville, and wasn’t sure if I was gonna make it. So, I took 14.5 credits the next semester so that I could figure things out. The first semester of this school year, I felt overwhelmed once again, and so I regretfully dropped a weekly activity that took up 3 hours on Wednesday night. I think that there are 2 lessons that I can draw from those times:
    1. Don’t overbook yourself, because you’ll end up short-changing yourself by not being able to be devoted to the activities you are involved in, and you’ll likely be late to things…a lot.
    2. If necessary, SLOW DOWN and take some time to breathe and figure things out. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in thinking that our worth is in our work and not in Christ. So, sometimes we need to take the time to slow down and re-order our priorities so that we’re doing our schoolwork and fulfilling our other responsibilities as a way to boast in God, not our own ability.

  • Jules Schieferstein

    I was actually just reflecting on something similar earlier today. I was driving back from choir practice at church and had some Christian music blaring rather loudly from my car. The person ahead of me was going well… somewhat slower than I would have liked. As I sat there and began to find myself slightly annoyed, it was easy to imagine just yelling at them, getting angry and upset, typical road rage stuff. Then I thought about the music playing out of my car, with the windows down, and wondered if they could hear it as we sat a stop light.
    I realized that just remaining patient and keeping a positive, Christian attitude toward something as simple as someone driving under the speed limit is just another way we reflect Christ, the way we represent Him throughout our lives. We represent Him, as His Christians, at work, at school, and behind the slow driver on our way home.

  • Macy McClain

    This is such a great post! I often reflect on how will other people see me if I do things, which in turn reflects on my reputation. I believe 1 Corinthians 10:31 talks about how we should do everything for the glory of God. Similarly, Colossians 3 tells us to work hard for the Lord and not for men. I think sometimes we often forget about Christ and seek to please others to make our reputation better. My disability doesn’t make things much better, but knowing that Christ died for me and not my reputation is key to serving him.

  • Mitchell McIntyre

    I totally agree with this. Every year I spend at College the importance of this becomes more evident. Recently, the subject of reputation and testimony has been on my mind. We often separate our school or work reputation from our reputation as a Christ follower. We think that not finishing that English paper or slacking off on a biology lab has no impact on our reputation as a Christian. The truth is that everything we do has an impact on our testimony whether good or bad. We are commanded to do everything to the glory of God not just the “Christian-y” things. Everything impacts our reputation and, because Christians represent Christ by following, we affect the reputation of Jesus to the world. This should motivate us to be extremely intentional in everything we do.

  • Nicholas I Panachyda

    Reputation was huge for me in high school. I wanted to please everybody. However, i found that doing this was useless. I realized as a christian that am a walking testimony, and how people view me is also how they see God. If I decide goof around and not work, it reflects badly on me and on God. We are linked in such a way that we must live out our faith every day. Someone is always watching and my actions will leave an impression. I hope that it is a good one.

  • Daniel Bieniek

    I totally agree with everything. I feel like sometimes one loses focus on his or her reputation in Christ or in class, because they are so focused on there reputation with there musical or professional career, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but could be if put in front your reputation in Christ. I was actually thinking just earlier today how God has completely changed my mindset with things in my life lately. For example, having gone to two separate schools I’ve seen myself change dramatically. Obviously my first semester of college I treated like high school, which didn’t really go very well. My second semester I treated my school work as a testimony to my life like if I were doing something for Christ, which in actuality everything we should do is to the glory of God. So having God opening up my eyes to my reputation in Him and to do everything I do to His glory has completely changed my life and matured me. My mindset now is everything I should do is to the best of my abilities, because that is what Christ asks of us. We are not just representing ourselves with what we do, but we are representing God and our reputation in Him.

  • Seth Brummer

    Reputation is definitely something we should think about as image-bearers and as lead-worshippers. As Christians, we should have a high standard for the things we do because we do all for Christ, and this should reflect itself in the way we do things. As you mentioned, Christ’s name is at stake in what we do–but there is also a danger in reputation, and that is focusing too much on it. There needs to be a healthy balance of both in our lives, striving to honor God in how we live and seeking to know him every day.