Yesterday, I heard a challenging statement on the radio that I would like to pass on. The preacher said something to the effect of, “Much of our Christian life is closing the gap between reputation and reality.” I tend to agree.
Reputation is what others think they know about us. Reality is what is actually true of us. Reputation may be nothing more than the image we project or the image others perceive. Reality is what we are; our character.
Often times we are afraid to let others see the reality. We fear their rejection. We worry that they may think less of us. So, we hide behind the image we project. Or, we fail to correct a misperceived idea that we know we aren’t worthy of. What’s at the heart of this? I think at least two things: pride and unbelief.
Pride because we are selfishly concerned with how we look to others. We live to get others to see us, talk about us, and depend on us. Somehow we keep gravitating to the sinful notion that the world revolves around us.
It’s an expression of unbelief because we are failing to rest in the gospel of our security in Christ. We are failing to actively believe that through Christ we have been freely and forever accepted by God. Christian friend, God loved us when He knew the reality about us (Rom 5:6-11). He has accepted and adopted us in Christ. Believe the gospel declared in Rom 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand…”
Because of the gospel, we don’t need to be hypocritical pretenders or projectors. Rather, by the Spirit’s help, let’s keep putting pride and unbelief to death and, by God’s grace, continue to close the gap between our reputation and reality.
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.