The late and legendary basketball coach, John Wooden said the following about character: "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are"
If you spend more time worried about your reputation and how others perceive you, you are focused on the wrong thing. A person's reputation is their identity defined by others. This ultimately means that your reputation is completely out of your hands. This is why we have to remain focused on building our character! God doesn't care about your reputation, he cares about your character. God doesn't care how many likes your last picture got or what people are saying about you publicly. People can praise and glorify your public image, but what significance does it carry if you're not a man or woman of great character? People can attempt to destroy or damage your public image, but God has the ability to bless you in front of those same people. A recent example of this involved the starting small forward for the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant. He developed an unfavorable reputation when he decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors. Despite developing a bad reputation for joining this team, God still blessed him with his first NBA Championship right in front of everyone who criticized him. Kevin Durant's mother said the following to her son after winning the championship: "No matter what anybody says, you did it". Despite what anyone says about you, God can still use you to accomplish great things!
Living in a world where people consistently judge, we tend to focus on restoring or maintaining a good reputation. If we become more concerned about what God thinks about us, we'll place a stronger emphasis on building our character. We have to adopt the mindset displayed in The Message Translation of 1 Corinthians 4: 3-4: "It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless. I’m not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn’t mean much. The Master makes that judgment.” Why do we care to impress or create an image for people who don't possess the right to judge us? God doesn't determine our blessings by our reputation, whether favorable or unfavorable. Being the most attractive or best dressed on Instagram will never determine the amount of blessings you receive. You can have a great public appearance, but be a completely different person in private. You could've failed throughout your entire life, but God can still bless you with success. God doesn't care about who people think you are, he cares about who you really are! God doesn't care about who you were, he cares about who you're becoming!
Becoming the person that God wants you to be starts with building your character in him. Character can be defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. This means we have to train ourselves to think and behave like Christ. The Good News Translation of Timothy 4: 7-8 states the following: “But keep away from those godless legends, which are not worth telling. Keep yourself in training for a godly life. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.” Not only does a Christ-Like character bring glory to God, but it enables us to handle current and future situations more effectively. Instead of approaching situations in fear, we'll approach them in faith. We'll pray before we panic, and run to God's book before Facebook! These are the characteristics of a strong man or woman of faith. Public speaker, Eric Thomas mentioned in a recent video that you can't chase two rabbits, and catch both of them. This means you can't chase after a favorable reputation while building your character in Christ. So what are you going to chase? A favorable reputation or a Christ-Like character?