In the Book of Acts we read about many great people from the early days of the Christian Church. One person who has always been interesting to me was Barnabas, whose real name was actually Joses. Barnabas is mentioned over twenty times in the Book of Acts but only once by his actual name of Joses. What I find interesting about "Barnabas", which means the son of encouragement, is that the name we know him by is really just a nickname that was given to him by the apostles.
This got me thinking about some other verses that show us this same principle of it being important how others see us and the reputation we have with others. In Acts 6:3 the apostles said that the people who would be chosen to serve needed to have a good reputation. In 1 Timothy 3:1-10 Paul said the same things were necessary for people who wanted to serve as bishops and deacons, they had to be "blameless" and have "a good testimony among those who are outside". While Christians should not live a life just to please other people or only do things to seek the approval of others, what others think about us is important.
If the lives of Christians are not meeting the standards of God's Word and they have a bad reputation with other people, then who will represent Jesus and Christianity to the lost world? What if Joses was a difficult person to get along with and the apostles decided to name him the son of discouragement? How about calling him, the son of sorrow, because he just made people miserable whenever he was around them? When we bring this into our lives, what terms do people use to describe us? How many of us would be called the son (or daughter) of encouragement today and how many of us might be called something else less flattering? Ouch!
In Titus 2:7, 8 Paul encouraged Titus to have a life style of good works so that people would have nothing evil to say about him. This is a pretty high standard to live up to but I believe it is God's standard and it is attainable. So when people talk about us, what name would they give to us? This is something we all need to consider and continue to grow and develop so that we are doing what it says in Philippians 2:14-16 where we live a blameless life and shine as lights in the world.