Of No Reputation

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
-Philippians 1:27-2:7 (KJV)

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Reputation.  We ought to have a good reputation among people.  But our life's reputation does not qualify nor disqualify us from Christ or his call upon our lives.

Many people God called, in the Bible, had chequered pasts or made huge mistakes while called.  It is also clear that our resumes, pedigrees, or popularity do not get us a 'leg up' with God either.  

Jesus made himself, "of no reputation", meaning that he set aside his divinity, or emptied himself of it.  Jesus being fully human and fully God, yet setting the God side aside, is hard for us to get our minds around, but he did it.  Jesus had the full human experience, and fully redeemed humanity.

We are also called to a life in Christ of "no reputation".  That means humility.  That means not living and representing Christ in selfish ambition or vain conceit.

I believe that the "setting aside" or the lifestyle of "no reputation" also means that our sins or bad things we have done do not define us or somehow hold us back, in Christ.  I say in Christ, because that is the Christian's life.  Neither your accomplishments nor your sins, failures, or blunders are what gives you favor or disfavor with God.

It is completely ridiculous to say or hear, "aren't you the one who did that bad thing (insert scandalous behavior)".  Your so-called "bad" reputation does not define you, and your good deeds also do not define you.  We're called to humility.

It is interesting that people who do beat themselves up or wear shame from their badness are actually not humble.  They are bound to their sin, have not set it aside, have not let that reputation go.  There are people who are both ashamed of their sin, mistakes, failures, or blunders; and are proud of themselves: their race, their social standing, their wealth, their knowledge.

Christians are called to humility.  Christ and others first.  Service.  A life marked by the fruit of the Spirit.