Sunday, May 20, 2007

Whatever is of Good Repute

Chewing more on my memorization verse, Phil. 4:8, I realized that I had never thought very deeply about whatever is of good repute. And in this society, this is harder than it looks. Especially with tabloids, celebrity news shows, and plain old- fashioned gossip. We love to talk about others and their weaknesses to make us feel better about our own lives, or to make ourselves feel competent in comparison. A lot of the time, this is my motivation for it.

But letting my mind be absorbed about things of good repute is something unnatural. And what about participating in making someone else a people-pleaser? If we think or speak well of something or someone, isn't that making them prideful or arrogant? I think it is a good and wonderful thing to have opportunities to celebrate what God does through us. 1 Corinthians 12:25-26: "so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. "

Paul, a friend deeply loved by God

When I've been thinking of this verse, I have been thinking about Hebrews 11--the champions of faith passage. People who maintained faith in God despite circumstances. I'm such a person of circumstance--living by sight rather by believing in God's character. The practice of remembering these giants of God puts the process of what I attain through gossip in reverse. Instead of feeling good about my life, I feel inadequate.

Then another source of whatever is of good repute is to think of the people whom I've known who are examples of living for God, and through whom God has worked. "I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts." Psalm 119:63; "Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name." Malachi 3:16

Friends who honor God Michael, lives by faith

I looked up "good repute" on Bible and I found the following commentary on

Titus 2:7 really helpful. I hope you do, too.

John and Brea, being fruitful in many ways

Titus 2:7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness

Heidi, woman of integrity
Instructions for Godly Living

In the months before his execution by the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: "I fear that Christians who stand with only one leg upon earth, also stand with only one leg in heaven." His concern was for Christians who had disengaged themselves from the world, who could stand by and watch atrocities committed as if the Christian message or individual Christian responsibility had no bearing whatsoever upon earthly affairs.

The fact of the matter is that the Christian faith intends full engagement in the world. Certainly the origin of this new life is otherworldly. Certainly Christian values are not those of the world. Certainly Christian hope takes us beyond this world. But it is in this world that God has called Christians to live, and it is this world's inhabitants that Christians must reach with the gospel. Engagement of this kind requires Christian credibility and participation in the life of the world.

A friend who knows God

Credibility especially depends on living, as far as possible, in a manner that the world considers to be respectable. "Respectability" was an important concept in Paul's day. But the values connected with it have always been subject to change. Therefore, the Christian life is first and always to be a clear expression of the will of God.
The church's respectability in the world was very much in Paul's mind as he addressed the various groups in the Cretan churches. This is evident from the patterns of behavior he encourages in 2:1-10, patterns that would have pleased any upright person in that day. It is equally evident in his affirmation of the social categories by which orderly community or civil life was defined. In verses 2-10 he divides the church according to customary social categories (generations, sexes, slaves), and he employs the household-code form of teaching to emphasize that Christians must practice a renewed or reformed quality of behavior within those categories (see commentary at 1 Tim 2:1).

Roy and his family, a friend who fears God

This type of teaching encouraged participation in the social structure rather than withdrawal from it. Exemplary (Christian) behavior within the traditional relationships would help maintain or increase the church's credibility in the eyes of the world and promote the evangelistic mission. But Paul does not simply adopt secular rules of behavior. Whatever affinities this lifestyle might have with secular moral ideals, only faith in Christ can produce the Christian, reformed version (vv. 11-15). This is what Paul means by godly living; and godly living is what this passage is about.

Java doesn't gossip about me--thanks, Java!

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