|In this verse, the apostle Paul praises the faith-filled Christians living in Rome. At first glance, it’s easy to miss the historical significance of Paul’s admiration. Consider this: Rome was a hedonistic culture—a modern-day mixture of Vegas and Hollywood,if you will. At the time of this writing, around 56 AD, Rome’s extravagant societywas focused on self-pleasurerather than service. As a result, they marginalized the sick and elderly, and they even discarded their unwanted infants.Now imagine a group of these same selfish people believing in something deep enough to change their lifestyle. With Jesus’ love in their heart, and the knowledge of His Good Samaritan message to care for the less fortunate, they took it upon themselves to help the poor, sick, and destitute. No wonder the Christians stood out. Their actions altered the ethical temperature of Rome. And Paul, living some 600 miles away in Corinth, Greece, marveled at their reputation spreading throughout the world. What sacrifice! What faith! What a reflection of Christ to live out Jesus’ second commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).Our spiritual reputation is what others think when they hear our name. What message are we conveying to those around us: selflessness, humbleness, and unconditional love? One of the best parts of following Christ is that He is always refining our reputations. He gives us opportunities when He whispers for us to invite someone to church, help a neighbor in need, or simply offer a listening ear to a hurting friend. When we become the hands and feet of Jesus, people take notice. We look different. Act different. And that’s when barriers are torn down and doors are opened for us to share why we believe what we believe.We profess our faith by sharing what God’s doing in our lives, serving others, and following His internal nudges on our heart. Our neighbors are watching. Our co-workers, childcare providers, even our waiters and waitresses observe our behavior, whether we realize it or not. What evidence of faith is Christ stirring in you to help shape your spiritual reputation?
DIG: What do you believe your spiritual reputation reveals about you?
DISCOVER: What one area of your life might be hindering your testimony?
DISPLAY: What one step of faith do you feel God is calling you to take?