“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). What do you think of that statement from the Bible? It should make you stop and reflect on the kind of life you are living.
When your name is said in your community, what do you think comes to a person’s mind? What about among your family and closest friends, those who know you best, who know both your good and bad? What about with God? Keep in mind, He is a Spirit that is present everywhere all the time. Meaning, He has seen everything we have ever done and heard everything we have ever spoken. He also knows everything that has ever passed through our mind: all images, thoughts and motives. Based on that, what if someone came to God in heaven and mentioned your name to Him, what do you think would come to His mind?
The Bible verse clearly communicates that a person’s name has significance because it is a reflection of their life. And it states that a good name is to be chosen over riches. What does riches mean? It refers to a person’s strong focus on increased income, possessions, influence and all the different things that money can do at the expense of a good name. But what is at the heart of the pursuit of riches? Self. We want, what we want, when we want it. This reveals our perspective on life. First, we are the most important person in our life and primarily focus on what has a direct or indirect benefit on us. Second, we are only focused on the present or future of this life.
What does the proverb mean by desiring a “good name”? It does not primarily refer to a good name among people, because that would lead to pleasing others in order to be accepted by them. It indicates desiring a good name before God and acceptance by Him. This is the wiser and to be sought out above everything else in life.
How does one achieve a good name? It starts with admitting your life has been primarily about you, which has led to disobedience against God and the disrespect of others. It is lifting your eyes off yourself and up toward God’s only Son, Jesus, who died and rose again. It is calling upon God in faith, asking Him to help change your ways, and maybe even going to others to make things right whom you have wronged. It is God pouring His Spirit within you and giving you His character and power to live differently. And according to His Word, your life will start to become marked by a new set of qualities: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
The new life God will bring upon us will have three amazing promises. First, we will receive a new name. Yes, we will keep our previous name, but in being changed by God our name will become “good” by Him, thereby becoming new. Second, Jesus promises that our new name is written down in a book of life He possesses. Third, He promises that one day in the future, beyond this life, He will confess our new name before God the Father in heaven and all the angels.
If you continue living as you are, the God who knows all things will judge you accordingly and the present and eternal consequences that come will be justified. But if you desire a good name and favor with God above the temporal things of this life, and turn to Him with all your heart, you will escape His judgment and receive a new name that one day will be voiced among the angels.
A prayer for you — “Lord God, I pray you will help me to examine my ways. Have I been only living for myself and this life? Have I disrespected others and disobeyed You in the pursuit of my interests? Lift my eyes toward You. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Save me. Change me. Give me a new name that I might live honorably before You. In Jesus name. Amen.”