Heart Meditations 7- A Good Reputation - David Mitts
Meditation is hard work. This is the work of entering rest. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that it requires diligence to enter rest:
Therefore, let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (Heb 4:11 NASB).
Typically, we think of rest as a surrender from effort. While there is some truth to that principle, I believe the scriptures are indicating a different kind of rest. An analogy that might help us see behind the curtain of rest that is sometimes obscured by the flesh and its tendency towards indolence, is to think of rest as the condition of performance that results from diligent athletic training. If you or I were to go out and try to run a marathon, we wouldn’t be at rest running. Rather, we would probably have a high degree of anxiety related to our mortality.
By contrast, if we had trained and trained when the time came to run, we would have a greater potential to be at rest even though our bodies would be working hard.
The same principle applies to the idea of rest that comes from the diligence described in Hebrews 4:11. If we skip back a couple of verses, we see rest connected with the Sabbath.
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. (Heb 4:9-10 NASB)
Unfortunately, for many religious people, this compounds the mystery of rest rather than illuminate it. They focus on the ceasing from works as a description of the Sabbath rest. This leads to a tremendous burden of bondage to making sure we are “keeping” the Sabbath “holy” by not doing anything that could be interpreted as works on Sabbath. The possible transgressions are numerous, from simple things such as stores being closed, to more severe restrictions on driving or even the absurd notions of even marital relations as being work! All of this confusion, I believe, arises out of what “rest” actually is. If rest is laying on your back and checking out, then it follows that any effort could be a violation.
Yet, I believe that rest is more a product of works than an alternative to works. God worked for six days bringing forth creation and then entered His creation to rest.
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Gen 2:2-3 NASB)
Using the sports analogy, God trained for six days on “creation living” and then became one with that which He trained for. This oneness was then a state of rest or satisfaction for Him. Part of this is revealed in the word translated as “work”. The human word for work in Hebrew is avodah. In this verse the word is melacha. Melacha comes from the same root as Melech, which means king. God’s “work” was His kingship expression. In this way we could say that for God working for six days was really play. When God finished playing, He rested. When we change our thinking from work to play it also changes our thinking of what being at rest is. Think of a child on the playground. Their play is rest and their rest is play. By that I mean when they stop playing it is as much a time of play inside because of joy that results in having played.
He blessed and sanctified His time of rest and the rest became known as the Shabbat.
Then, being God, and wanting a family, He created man and woman and allowed them to begin from the finished product, the Shabbat. You cannot reach something easily that you cannot find. By anchoring Adam and Eve in Shabbat, He made that experience home base. Man would then, seek that finished rest from that point going forward.
Every child of God lives in the hunger for experiencing the satisfaction of the rest of God, the Shabbat. This is the true root cause of all effort in life.
Meditation is the “work” in the realm of the heart that brings us into the true rest of joy. We have looked at our foundational “thinking” scripture of Philippians 4:8-9 and various revelations of heart-dwelling thoughts that have the potential to transform how we live life, either in strife or in rest.
I want to turn our focus to “whatever is of good repute”. What is a reputation? How does it develop? What is the difference between a “good” reputation and a “bad” reputation?
The scriptures have much to say on this matter and it is an area that can be quite treacherous.
First and perhaps reputation is about one’s name and how it is thought of by others. God instructs us through Moses:
"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. (Exo 20:7 NASB)
What does it mean to take the name of the Lord into vanity? I am not one hundred percent sure what all the possibilities are here but certainly one of them is to make the name of the Lord one of a bad reputation. The word translated as vanity is the ancient Hebrew word “shav” which means emptiness, worthlessness, falseness, a liar.
It is interesting to me that this commandment comes before the commandment regarding the Sabbath.
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore, the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exo 20:8-11 NASB)
The name or the reputation of God precedes the honoring of the rest of God. If we follow this pattern, then the reputation of a man or a woman would precede their ability to enter rest.
How do we meditate on our name, our reputation to be able to experience true rest?
Psalm 138:2 gives us a key:
I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. (Psa 138:2 NKJV)
God magnifies His word above His name. The word translated as magnified is the word “gadol”. It is the word picture of a rope. A rope is made strong by the twisting of the fibers and the increase in the number of fibers. If we think of each fiber of God’s word as an instance of God doing what He said He would do, we see the more times we see that the stronger His word becomes to us. If His word is stronger then, His name becomes stronger. His word magnifies His name, and His name or His reputation magnifies the impact of His word.
Truly this is what a reputation is, how strong our word is. Our word, the character, and integrity of how we live our lives begin with the conversation of our heart. Our inner conversation then develops our outer words and motivates our actions in the world. In this way, our words are magnified over our name, our reputation.
Now, we can begin to see how the mediation of our heart truly begins to impact how our lives turn out.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Pro 4:23 NIV)
Let us deconstruct our name, our character a bit. Solomon in proverbs 22:1 tells us:
A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold. (Pro 22:1 NASB)
Think of the context of this verse. Solomon had it all. He valued the good name. When we look beneath the surface of the Hebrew language used here we see that the translation “good name” actually means a “chosen name”. The Hebrew word is “bahar” which is also the root for a youth implying that every child is “chosen” by God to express that choice in the time of their youth.
A couple of notable perspectives that I see. One is that Satan is a thief, a killer, and a destroyer of worlds of destiny. One way he does this is by appropriating words of power. Choice is one of those words. Children are chosen by God with destiny. How Satanic is it that abortion is called “choice”?
A second perspective is that youth, the time of choosing is also the time of the Bar Barachah, the impartation of blessing. This calling forth of prophetic identity and purpose is the heart of the Father. Fathers are agents of this impartation. The question is where do fathers get this anointing? I believe they get it through their own name, their own faithfulness to the choosing time in their lives when they established who they are.
Can you see the generational impact that is available here and the danger of the strategic dismantling by the enemy by attacking the choosing and the fathering?
In this context and to empower our meditation of the name we carry, our reputation, let us look at Moses and His strange request to see God’s glory.
Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."(Exo 33:18-19 NASB)
What is God’s glory? It is His Being, His essence, His goodness. It is by His definition here, His Name. Now let’s skip ahead to when He honors this request:
The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD. Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."(Exo 34:5-7 NASB)
God’s glory is His name. His character is His name. Then He speaks to the issue of iniquity specifically in the perspective of the fathers and the generations. I believe He is promising to visit in each generation and through the power of His name forgive the iniquity, the twisting of identity and destiny.
This is the importance of our reputation. It is His word made flesh and expressing Him in the earth. We all bear the iniquity of the generations that came before and in some way the attack on the unborn, which are the generations to come. Yeshua came to give us access to His name to restore the broken walls of the protection of generational blessing and identity, the name, the reputation.
I think this is what is behind Him saying:
"And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; (Mat 18:5 NASB)
He was telling us that He is available through the receiving of the children to restore the power of their name, by equating it with His name. Our loving heavenly Father is goodness itself. He is always pulling for us. His goal is to bring us to the full glory He intended for us before the foundations of the world. We are in this world but of this world. We are of an ancient path, an eternal place before there was a foundation of this world. That destiny is encompassed in our name and is revealed through our reputation. This is why a good name is above riches.
When we meditate on things of good reputation, we are perhaps directing our heart to an agreement with the restoration of true blessing on identity and destiny.
Activation: Let us receive a child in the name of the Lord. Let this child be ourselves. Let’s ask the Father who am I to you? What is my name to you? In that name is His goodness and let’s practice that name each day claiming our birthright, the inheritance in our name.