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Friday, March 4, 2011

In reading about the life of Jesus, there's one thing I know for sure:  Jesus didn't really care about His reputation with the religious establishment. 

He loved the people of God's church.  But He didn't define His ministry by what they thought.

  • If He did, He never would have allowed a sinful woman to wipe His feet with her tears.
  • He never would have dined with tax collectors.
  • He never would have protected an adulterous woman.
  • He never would have allowed His disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath.
I imagine Jesus saying, "I don't have time to be bothered by your man-made rules.  I'm about my Father's business of searching for the lost and bringing them home."

I've spent most of my life peeling away the traditions of man to follow the calling of God.  It hasn't always been easy.  And I'm so far from where I want to be.   Even still when I hear God's voice in my ear to do something "risky,"  I hear another voice saying, "What will they think?"  

Will it tarnish my reputation?
Will it diminish my impact?
Will it cause someone to stumble?

While I care deeply about those three things, I care more about obeying God's call - whatever it looks like.

I wrote in my devotion running on P31 and Crosswalk about a time I had to choose where to sit.  That was a simple example of a bigger principle I grapple with - laying down my pride to be obedient.  This takes many forms in my life, not just who I hang out with at a reception. 

Last year I did something very risky for an author - I decided to not pursue a speaking ministry at this time.  It was an agonizing decision because non-fiction authors really should be out speaking to promote their books.  I felt like I was letting my publisher down, and I worried what it would do to my career and my reputation as an "expert."

But God clearly told me to lay it down in favor of my family.  If you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know my husband and I have five teenagers at home.  Two of our children have significant cognitive and emotional needs. And I'm kind of the calming glue around the house.  When I leave, there always seems to be a meltdown.  For now, I need to be home more, especially on the weekends. 

The good news  is God is is already making ways for me to market and promote my writing without having to travel.  I'll share more in the coming months about that.

I've wrapped up my reputation and layed it in the hands of Someone I trust many times.  And He always cares for it tenderly, protecting it on my behalf.  He's my defender when the whispers of judgement slither past. I imagine Him standing firm between me and judging eyes.  And I also hearing Him challenge me to go further ... to be braver ... to risk more for loving the lost ... to care more about Him than my reputation. 

Now it's your turn.  Have you ever risked your reputation to obey God?  What did you do?  

I've got two copies of Lysa TerKeurst's book "Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed" to give away to two people who post a comment.  I'll announce the winner on Monday. Please make sure to leave a way to contact you - or check back if you want to post anonymously.  I'll choose at random and include the posting time.

Also on Monday, I'll be announcing a contest to win a scholarship to She Speaks.  You won't want to miss this contest if you are a writer.

Thanks for joining me today.

In His Love,


Linda S. Crenwelge said...

Through illness, a wrong marriage, divorce, and age, I have come to be devoid of caring much about the materialistic part of life, sitting back watching more than involving myself in social things as I once did. It is as if everything in my life was taken away but more it was for refinement of my life to be more like Christ. Through anger, hurt, etc. it's still taking time, but I will sacrifice my reputation to be more like Christ if that's what it takes. No matter what I go through, even if MORE (hopefully NOT), no matter what/who I lose that I care for or love, I will sacrifice my reputation & my life if needed to keep my faith in God.

Kendra Cameron-Jarvis said...

I love this line-In my experience, lighting a candle in a well-lit room doesn’t make much of a difference. A candle in the dark, however, changes the scene dramatically.

Thank you for reminding me to shine His light is this dark world.


Anonymous said...

thank you for encouraging me to choose to obey God and pleasing Him.

Grace Lane said...

Thank you for challenging me to be Jesus' light to this world. I do tend to stick with "my kind." I need to be more loving and less judgmental.
God Bless,

DeenafromIowa said...

Thank you for a thought provoking post. It is so much easier to take the known road instead of the Jesus road even though we know deep down which way we should go.
Have a happy day!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I took a stand against something I couldn't support as a Christian at work. The co-worker initally didn't underdtand, but I stood my ground and eventually he understood it was the principle that I was dealing with. I think in the end he respected me even though he didn't agree. mheard11@frontier.com

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate your story today. I am someone who often has chosen what is comfortable - my excuse is my shy nature. BUT I am so pleased to say that my middle child is like that candle in the darkness. Somehow I knew she would be from as early as my pregnancy with her! It was a sense in my spirit that this child was going to be different. At an early age, many in our community actually called her a ray of sunshine. We live in a small town without much diversity. One day a group of "bikers" came to our Sunday morning church service - they took up two pews. During the service, I wondered about who might greet them. Of course we are supposed to greet and welcome our visitors, right? But these folks looked so different. As soon as the service ended, my ray of sunshine, who was eight years old at the time, went up to this group, held out her hand and introduced herself as she told them how glad she was to see them here. And up and down the two pews she went, learning the name of every single member of their group. And a little child shall lead them....

Katie said...

Thank you for deep question...taking the uncomfortable route for Jesus verses the comfortable route I prefer to take. Taking a risk...going out on a limb for Jesus is the obvious answer and always holds blessings. Why is it so difficult? Yes, that nagging question..."what will others think"? My prayer today...Lord, strengthen my trust in you, fill my heart with the Holy Spirit so I can live my life for you, not for myself. Make my actions pleasing to you.

Leigh F. said...

I am being faced with that challenge now!

Anonymous said...

I know I have to work at this...get out of my comfort zone for Jesus. I have to be intentional about this because it is so easy to just go on living my little life for myself. I have chosen the word "kindness" this is what I have to work on and be aware of it everyday!

ready2livelife said...

This is really thought provoking. I have found that when I walk in obedience that God does bless me. Now I am eager to step it up and become "Radically Obedient" so God can "Radically Bless" me! You truly have to be a person of Faith to do this. Thanks for your post!

Kelly Langston said...

Yes, yes, yes! You captured the heart of Christ in this post, Glynnis! My favorite line, worth repeating:

In my experience, lighting a candle in a well-lit room doesn't make much of a difference. A candle in the dark, however, changes the scene dramatically.

Especially today...

Anonymous said...

This is a thought provoking post especially for me who is seeking to commune more with God. I will read that passage and let God speak to me through it.


Josey Bozzo said...

I feel like I risk my reputation every time I go against my mother and the rest of my unsaved family. They don't understand and it puts me on the outside much of the time.

Melody said...

Reputation is always something I worry about. Time to stop worrying! As long as I'm pleasing God and being there for my family...nothing else matters. :)

sk said...

Glynnis, I am always so blessed by your writing. Thanks for sharing your heart and your wisdom.

James Shook said...

Thank you for this blog, it has been very inspirational to me. And you are so right about our reputations. I know we are supposed to be examples to others, both saved and unbelievers, and we have to be careful in some regards but really all that matters is what Christ thinks about us, and He looks on our heart. He looks on the motive behind our actions, not the face value.
I have done things, and not done things, thinking 'what will so-and-so think about this?' or based on an impression I want to make on somebody. While that is not entirely wrong, it is important to think first and foremost 'What does God want me to do?'. I have heard a saying that I like. It goes 'Make peace with God and yourself, because in the end those are the only two that matter.' AMEN.

GrammaGrits said...

Thanks for sharing what you did today. It seems sometimes other Christians are the ones that cause us the most concern for our reputation. Blessings on you and your family (and your writing) for taking a hard stand to be with them at this time!

Anonymous said...


There is not much about my life that follows traditional paths of men.

I was kicked out of that club long ago due to a spiritual whirl-wind that brought great spiritual growth!

God gives periods of "rest" but I have learned to expect the "whirl-wind to revisit me from time to time!

Heck, I am sold of to Christ enough now to welcome drawing nearer to HIM each time HE calls!!

Once GOD untangles you from things and mindsets of this world and opens the gates of revelation; all those old familiar roads do not carry the same irritable attraction as they once did.

It is funny, the things we make idols of and not realize it.

CRISIS is one of GOD's most powerful methods for digging up old root systems from our BC days and replacing them with seed for the spiritual man to prosper.

Jesus tells us...

Beloved above all else I wish that your soul should prosper!

I believe that you’re writing and creative gifts will have an even greater anointing on them as you submit yourself to this process GOD is calling you towards.

I love the way that you share things of such meaty content, never change that to play it safe!

I am so glad I originally met up with your writing through a P31 devotional 4 months ago!

I so look forward to reading your weekly post.

Your desire to do what is pleasing to GOD shines through in all your writing.

Pray for me as I pray for you.


Jennifer Boddie

Janice Kesterson said...

Thank you for reminding me of whose I am and not worry about what others think about it. I want to be a light to others in darkness so they to can experience our Lord's great LOVE,

Anonymous said...

I've always, ALWAYS struggled w/ the topic your wrote about. I'm 31 and, while it still creeps up, God is helping me. I think it's an innate need for inclusion that people (especially women) have. I know that I have an issue w/ a fear of rejection-a root that has caused many problems in relationships for me.
Thank you for the reminder that God is my defender and I can lay my reputation w/ Him.

Amy V.

DebbieH said...

I have taken in several troubled teens, who were friend of my son, over the past year. All of them dropouts that have juvenile records. But some how I see them a broken kid that need someone to love them and help them out.

Anonymous said...

I just need help being obedient, that's why the book interests me. I do want to do God's will, but I struggle with severe worry and anxiety, thus I know I am not always obedient in that respect. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glynnis,

What a beautifully written devotional we had the privilege of reading today! Your choice of words produced wonderful imagery!

Thank you for sharing your story and for shedding light (no pun intended!) on a subject that we Christians need to take more seriously.

Continuing to pray for you and your family!

Natalie :o)

Sharon said...

Great devotion today. Thank you

Sharon Heron said...

Forgot to leave info.
530 876 1392

Andrea Fortenberry said...

I feel that God has asked me to minister to a group of struggling women for whom there are few resources. I've asked myself this question over and over again: "If I don't, who will?"

Jesus will always be with us, wherever He leads us.

Anonymous said...

Remember, not too long ago, when people were sporting items with "WWJD"? How often we forget to ask ourselves "What would Jesus do?" Thank you for the reminder in this devotional.
Fannie from Kansas

Priscilla said...

I've never commented on your blog before...in fact I never even read it before today. I Googled the word "encouragement" on a complete whim this morning and ended up here. In any case...I liked what I read and will bookmark your site. I'm also always game for a little contest. I think I could use a little "radical obedience."
You may contact me through my blog or this email:

Martha said...

I had never heard of you before yesterday. I signed up for P31 devotions this week and this morning I went there to find some encouragement. I saw your name and clicked it and it brought me to your writing. This has been a rough week. My husband recently lost his job and it appears we need to sell our house. If not we will end up in foreclosure within months. This house has always been in my husbands life. It is his life. My desire has been that my husband would know God and have that relationship with Him. It has been hard for me to give the finances to my husband and he has been perfectly find with letting me figure all of this out. It has got to the point I have to let my husband totally figure this out. I don't know what will happen. We may lose the house but I have to let my husband lead this. People I know could tell me you're better at this than him but through a lady at my church who teaches submission I am letting him lead. I want him to know God and I have to submit to him as long as it does not go against God's word. This is so against what the world says. I can be worried about my reputation. I have struggled with that for a long time. I am on a path to consider what God thinks about things and as long as I please Him that's all that matters.

Glynnis Whitwer said...

Thank you for all your comments. They truly blessed me. Martha- I want to respond to your comment this morning. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with us. I know it's hard to trust a husband when you aren't sure he's making the right decisions. I'm sure most of us have had that same experience - especially in this economy.

Some men start to feel desperate and make unwise decisions. Then the entire family lives with the consequences.

You are wise to allow your husband to lead. God will work through your husband, and through your honoring him in your heart.

Your husband will be held accountable for your family - so make sure your heart is in the right place so that you can walk worthy of your calling.

It's not an easy road to walk, but you've got the company of hundreds of sisters in Christ who have chosen the same hard, but God-honoring path.

And the same comment is for each of you who shared that you are walking down that same hard path Jesus walked. You are not alone - Jesus is right there with you.

In His Love - Glynnis

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for this. Why do we make sacrificing so hard when we've been given the ultimate sacrifice?

Anonymous said...

would love the book for a gal at church!!!

Kate said...

Thank you for reminding me that sometimes we need to put our family first even if it means sacrificing in other areas of our lives.

Lecia said...

After reading the devotion in my inbox I decided to come over here and let you know what a powerful message that devotion is. The analogy of lighting a candle is one I will think of often. Thank you for these words of wisdom, how often we as christians choose the easy way. And how often we miss out on being a part of what God is doing because of that choice.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm risking everything right now to do what I feel God wants me to do. I had just gotten a decent job and my family was beyond proud of me. But it wasn't right. My husband also got a job, one where he can support our family and I can be home with our children, which I feel led to do even though I will tell anyone that I'm not cut out for it. But it's what I feel I have to do. I am also just starting a journey of sharing my talents and writing. I know my family will not approve, but in the end, I'm hoping they will admire me for taking this risk.

Pam said...

Just now getting around to reading your P31 devotion from Friday and my comment is a little late, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading it. It really has caused me to do an inventory and think. It's so natural to gravitate to others just like me, but you are so right. Is that what Jesus did or would do? Thanks for giving me a push in the right direction.