Scripture and Prayer: The Essential Tools in Building a Godly Reputation

Scriptures: Proverbs 4:23 ; Romans 12:2 ; Philippians 4:6-7 ; 1 Timothy 3:1-7
by Jacob Abshire on January 24, 2024

Years ago, I worked as an assistant handyman on new homes, although I was less of an assistant than anything. Countless times, my lead would be stuck under a floor or tucked in a ceiling space and ask me to grab a tool. Then, I would go back and forth with the wrong tools, only to hear, “No, that’s not it.” When building a blameless reputation, we must start with the right tools. 

The Christian’s toolbox comes with various tools, each with their own importance. But, to start renovating your soul, you need to become familiar with scripture and prayer. These two graces are critical for reshaping your heart in a way that your character follows. The apostle Paul described a blameless reputation in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and these two indispensable tools will be essential throughout your renovation project. So, grab your tools, and let’s get to work.

The Shaping of Scripture

Godly reputations are built upon and shaped by the Word of God. Psalm 119:11 helps us see why, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Storing God’s Word in our hearts is like planting seeds of righteousness that blossom into actions and attitudes reflecting God’s character. As we soak in Scripture, it permeates our thoughts and decisions and, ultimately, shapes our reputation over time. It’s a process of divine engraving, where God’s truth becomes our heart’s inscription.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Proverbs 4:23

In the Hebrew mind, the heart was the seat of the intellect and the center of one’s soul. Saturating and guarding it with the truth of God is equivalent to what Paul had in mind when he wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). He invites us to have a complete mental makeover—a spiritual renaissance. The power of God’s Word rewires our thinking, aligning our desires and actions with His will radiating in our actions. It is less about us reading it and more about it reading us, penetrating us, and changing us. Here are some practical tips to help you maintain a steady diet of Scripture:

Set a Routine. Like eating and sleeping, make Scripture reading a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Whether it’s early morning, during lunch, or before bed, find a time that works for you and stick to it. Consistency is key.

Meditate, Don’t Just Read. Meditation is chewing on Scripture, pondering its meaning and application. After reading a passage, take a moment to reflect on its implications for your life. Consider the SOAP method.

Application is the Goal. Knowledge puffs up, but application builds up. When you read a passage, ask, “How can I apply this to my life?” It could be an attitude to change, an action to take, or a sin to confess.

Journal Your Journey. Keep a journal of your insights and applications from Scripture. Writing things down helps retain them and allows you to track your spiritual growth over time.

Pray the Scriptures. Turn the verses you read into prayers. If you’re reading about patience, pray for patience. If you’re reading about love, pray to be more loving. This aligns your heart with God’s heart.

Share and Discuss. Scripture sinks deeper when we share and discuss it with others. Be part of a Bible study group or meet regularly with a close friend to share your reading. This deepens your understanding and holds you accountable to live out what you learn.

The Power of Prayer

Some have said that Scripture is our spiritual food, and prayer is our spiritual oxygen. It, too, is vital for the transformation of our hearts. When we quietly (or not so quietly) pour out our hearts to God in prayer, we align our hearts with God’s heart and our desires with His will. Paul had a few things to say about prayer:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

All of our concerns, and the concerns of God, are to be taken to the Lord in prayer. It is not a plan B or last-ditch effort. It should be our first response and where our confidence is strongest. In laying our desires, fears, and hopes before God, we yield ourselves to Him to reshape our minds and mold our hearts to mirror His. And, like reading the Bible, the practical applications are key:

Set Aside Regular Time for Prayer. Just as Jesus sought solitary time for prayer, establish a routine that allows for uninterrupted conversation with God.

Be Honest in Your Prayers. Remember, prayer is between you and the Lord. It’s a time to be real with God about your struggles, doubts, and desires.

Pray Scripture. Use the Bible as a prayer guide. Praying Scripture to God is a powerful way to align your thoughts and desires with His.

Pray Without Ceasing. Make prayer a constant in your life, not just in set times. Cultivate an attitude of continuous, spontaneous prayer as you go about your day—even if it is a sentence or two under your breath.

The Reputation of Godliness

Once our hearts are tuned to God’s frequency through Scripture and prayer, it’s time to turn that heart transformation into action. This is where the rubber meets the road, where our internal changes start reflecting in our external reputation. It’s like wearing your heart on your sleeve in the best way possible.

The link between heart transformation and reputation is like the connection between roots and fruits. Just as healthy roots lead to flourishing fruits, a heart transformed by God naturally results in a reputation that glorifies Him (Matt. 7:16-20). Our actions, words, and choices become the tangible fruits that others see, the visible indicators of the transformative work within us. Here are some practical ways this transformation manifests in our daily lives:

In Our Speech. A heart soaked in Scripture and prayer speak words that build up, not tear down (Eph. 4:29). Our conversations become seasoned with grace, truth, and wisdom, reflecting the heart of Jesus.

In Our Decisions. With a heart aligned with God’s will, our decisions reflect His priorities and values. It’s about choosing integrity over convenience, faithfulness over fleeting pleasures.

In Our Relationships. A transformed heart shows Christlike love in all relationships. It’s about being patient, kind, forgiving, and selfless—mirroring the love that Christ has shown us (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

In Our Service. A heart changed by God is compelled to serve others. This could mean volunteering in church, helping a neighbor in need, being a listening ear, or sharing the gospel. It’s about putting faith into action.

In Our Attitude. A godly reputation is often seen in our attitude—being joyful in trials, peaceful in chaos, and hopeful in despair. It’s maintaining a Christ-centered perspective in all circumstances.

In Our Community. A transformed heart understands the value of the church community. It’s about being an active, contributing member of the body of Christ, not just a Sunday attendee.

In Our Witness. Finally, a heart transformed by God is bold for Christ and eager to proclaim the message of the Gospel. Building a blameless reputation will provide evidence for your proclamation. It will also speak for you.

The Challenges of Change

A blameless reputation does not come quickly or easily. The journey is filled with different terrains and challenges. It is a long hike with breathtaking views and difficult climbs. The struggles and victories we face are essential to our spiritual growth.

First, let’s talk about struggles. Maintaining your trek in godliness is not a stroll in the park. It’s more like running a marathon with hurdles. You might face misunderstandings when you choose integrity over popularity. Sometimes, your good intentions are misconstrued, or your words of truth aren’t warmly received. It’s in these moments that your character is truly tested and tempered. Remember Peter, who went from denying Christ to boldly proclaiming Him? His journey wasn’t smooth, but it was transformative. Your journey, too, might have its share of Peter-like moments, but each step is refining you.

On the flip side, there are victories—those moments that make all the challenges worthwhile. It could be as simple as overcoming a long-standing habit, making the right choice in a tough situation, or finding that your life has positively influenced someone else. These victories are like beacons of light, reminders of God’s faithfulness and the power of His transforming grace in your life. They are not trophies to showcase but testimonies to share, encouraging you and others to keep pressing forward.

The key to navigating this journey is perseverance and reliance on God’s grace. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9). This is a call to resilient faith, not losing heart when the going gets tough. It’s a reminder that the ultimate reward isn’t just a stellar reputation but a life that radiates Christ’s love and truth.

In closing, remember these two key tools in the toolset. They refine your heart and mind and breathe new life into your walk so that the grace of God can continually shape you. So here’s a call to action: Commit to diving deeper into Scripture. Be relentless in your pursuit of a prayer life that echoes the heart of David, the perseverance of Daniel, and the intimacy of Jesus. And as you do, watch your reputation transform for God’s glory.

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