Train to Live on Mission – Week 31

Battle Drill #31:

Build a Good Reputation!

Proverbs 22:1 (NAS95)


Today, we are going to walk through the four action steps of a soldier’s training routine to learn the next battle drill – Build a Good Reputation!” In the military, your reputation means everything, not only within the unit you serve, but also in determining your future opportunities. While there are professional qualifications that do set you apart by their mere presence on your uniform and in your personnel file because,let’s be honest, the military loves their uniforms and bureaucracy, what really matters is the character and conduct of the person who is wearing the uniform. Whether you are a private or a captain, and whether you have badges and tabs on your uniform, at the end of the day, it is your reputation that will determine your success. Yes, making the next rank, earning special qualifications, and graduating from elite schools are indicative of your potential, ultimately, it is what you do with your potential that matters.


In the same way, you can dress the part in the church, you can learn the language of Christianese, and you can even hold important positions in the congregation, but what matters is your character and conduct. Just like in the military, it is what you do and how you do it that shapes your reputation amongst the congregation and the community. While appearances, positions, and education can make a positive impression up front, it is your character and conduct in the everyday situations of real life that builds your reputation. God’s Word speaks clearly to the importance of this in today’s battle drill. Let’s turn to the Field Manual and take the first step of a soldier’s training routine to live on mission.


Action Step #1) Know the Field Manual.

The battle drill we are going to learn and apply this week is from Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.”


Ecclesiastes 7:1a states it this way, “A good name is better than a good ointment. This is what the Field Manual says, let’s now take the second action step to learn how to apply it to our everyday lives as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.


Action Step #2) Train together as one unit.

Your name, which is your reputation, is more valuable than any measurement of wealth (silver, gold, or ointment); in fact, it has eternal value.


To learn how to properly train this, we are going to learn to do two things:


1. How to live with an eternal perspective of our name by learning to live backwards.
2. How to seek the commander’s approval by learning to live from the inside-out.


Let’s start by training ourselves to live life backwards by cultivating an eternal perspective of our reputations. Watch Jesus train His disciples to live on mission in Luke 10:17-20:


The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”


The disciples’ names were written on the roll call of the Commander – they had been chosen by God to be enlisted as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4)! Here’s the point: You don’t deploy yourself to become a soldier or because you want people to think you are a soldier; soldiers train to live on mission so they can deploy at their Commander’s direction, according to His authority for the fulfillment of His mission.


Jesus emphasized this kind of thinking in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” You have been chosen, now bear the good fruit of eternity. Paul emphasizes this in Ephesians 2:8-10:


For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.


God chose you by grace (remember Proverbs 22:1 stated, “favor is better than silver and gold”), so now walk in the good works He prepared for you ahead of time. God gave you good works to shine His light and to proclaim His Kingdom. There is a backwards feel to this because in the world your works determine your reputation, but in the Kingdom, you don’t earn Heaven with your works. In direct opposition to that, you proclaim that you belong to Heaven by your good works! You do the works of the Commander because you are being a good soldier whose name is on the rolls of His army. Jesus explained such thinking with the fruit-bearing imagery of the Christian life in Matthew 7:15-23:


Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”


Pointedly, this haunting passage teaches us that we could do the same kinds of things as those people – claim ourselves to be people who can cast out demons, be prophets, or perform miracles, but if we are not doing so as good soldiers, in accordance with God’s will, then we are equated with the lawless one. Church, let us not be so easily impressed with personality, charisma, or self-righteous proclamations of faith,let’s watch the consistency of conduct and character, the good fruit that demonstrates whether we are good trees. There are charlatans out there, wolves in sheep clothing, who can dress it up and talk the talk, but only those who belong to Heaven will persevere to the end. In Revelation 3:5, Jesus challenges us with the truth of having an eternal perspective on our name, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” This is the backwards way of living – it is an eternal perspective on your name which allows you to persevere until the end because you know it is what God says that matters. This brings us to the third action step of a good soldier of Jesus.


Action Step #3) Seek the Commander’s approval.

Today’s battle drill exposes our heart issue of hypocrisy.


This is a significant issue, especially seen in social media, where people present a false front of what is true. To the point that many people have multiple social media accountsone that is for their teachers, employers, or family to see their crafted identity, and the other, often under a different name, so that those same people do not know who they really are.


Allow me to give you a piercing but liberating truth so that we can eradicate the issue of hypocrisy from our own lives. Hebrews 4:13-16 gives us the treatment plan:


And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


Praise God that He knows the truth about us! We don’t have to hide from Him, but rather we can find rest for our souls in surrendering our lives to His lordship and working out our salvation with fear and trembling so that God has full access to bring about His good works through our lives. This is what Paul promised in Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”


God wants to build our reputations from the inside-out! The heart of Jesus’ invitation to become His disciple is take on His easy yoke and find rest for our souls – in relationship with Him we become like Him, gentle and humble in heart, so that the world may see and hear Christ through us (Matthew 11:28-30). We are called by God to be His image bearers and our reputation, our name, is shaped by His Spirit in us. We are to shine brightly, just as Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16:


You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.


My name is designed by God to point to His Name – my reputation to His gospel proclamation because “there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)! This leads us to the final action step of our soldier’s training regime.


Action Step #4) Live on mission.

Paul spoke of those who served in the mission alongside of him in a special way in Philippians 4:1-3:


Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion [yokefellow], I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.


Paul was saying that those who are His true companions are those in the yoke of Jesus Christ. The mission is to make Christ visible through us, so that people will repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Our reputations make visible which kingdom we belong. I have tried to make it clear that we will persevere until the end when our names are written in the book of life because God does His work from the inside-out through His Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul speaks of it in terms of our inheritance of the Kingdom of God:


Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.


It is not that you have struggled or once were a partaker of these sins. No, haven’t we all sinned and struggled?! It is that you are not defined by your sin – such things are not the pattern of your life nor definer of your name. Quite the opposite, your name, your reputation, are washed through the blood of Jesus Christ to shine Christ alone. John admonished us in 1 John 1:5-10:


This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.


We conclude with a glimpse of the New Heaven and New Earth from Revelation 21:23-27:


And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


If your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, your name will point to the eternal name of Jesus Christ! That is the work of the Holy Spirit in you because the Spirit causes you to persevere until the end – to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ through the good works He appointed you to do. This is God’s will.

Make this battle drill a reflexive, instinctive, and habitual part of your Christian life so that you can CM – Continue the Mission! Therefore, live on mission today and train the battle drill of the week for the glory of God. Let us pray.



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