Posted August 12, 2013
22 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.
What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your life? What sort of legacy would you like to leave? What sorts of things do you hope people will say about you at your funeral? The book of Proverbs teaches us that if given the option between a good name and a wealthy name, we pick the first. What is meant by a “good name”? It’s a name marked and known for righteousness & kindness. Is this verse implying that riches a bad thing? Not necessarily, but if they become our identity and our sole pursuit, then they are a terrible thing. They’ve become a god to us, an idol.
What then should our greatest pursuit be in life? To live lives that honor God, with names marked by godliness; names soaked in integrity. God’s desire is that each of us would be known as people who look like their Father through and through. This verse reminds us that God cares greatly about what sort of people we are becoming! He cares about our substance and what’s underneath the surface; He cares about our horizontal relationships and our interactions with others. How do we work this out practically?
One Perfect Name
First, by recognizing that at the end of the day we’re not seeking to achieve a good name so that God will accept us. Instead we find acceptance by trusting in the perfect name of God’s Son, Jesus. He left the comforts of heavenly riches, lived a perfect life before the Father, died for our sins on the cross and bore the punishment we deserved. While our efforts come up short (Romans 3:10), His did not. Christ, who was sinless, took our sin upon Himself; not only did He take our sin, but then He in turn gave us His righteousness! Martin Luther called this “The Great Exchange”. When the Father looks at those who are in Christ, He does not see sinful deeds, but rather sees His Son’s perfections. Instead of pronouncing us guilty (which we are), he instead declares us innocent and righteous in his sight (this is called “justification”). Amazing!
The Progressive Change
But it doesn’t stop there... Not only does Jesus give us His righteousness, He also works His righteousness in us by His Spirit. This is known as “progressive sanctification”, and refers to the ongoing work of God in us to make us more and more like Jesus and sin less and less. This is often a slow process, but transformation is happening nonetheless (even if slower than we would hope). Over time, God gradually changes us and makes us into a holy people! Though not perfect, God is perfecting us! Let us pray for increased holiness before God; that like Jesus, we would increase in favor before God and man (Luke 2:52).
Song - Latifah Phillips and Joel Limpic
Production & Recording - Latifah Phillips (http://latifahphillips.com/)
Artwork - Jonathan Lindsey (http://cargocollective.com/JonathanDavidCreative)
Time Lapse Video - Chris Wright (https://vimeo.com/72228669)