By Stephen Phinney 

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold”
(Proverbs 22:1, NASB). 

The Word of God talks about four primary reasons why it is so important to have a “good name.” Also, God states six basic requirements in order to obtain that “good name.” 

I grew up in a home where a good name was NOT a priority, nor was it important!  We did not practice a lifestyle that represented God and we did not honor our parents, nor have a proper mind-set toward business.  It appeared that my parents really didn’t care what got passed down to their children.  The result was all six of their children developed a lifestyle of living from hand-to-mouth.  The most grievous consequence of growing up in a home that could care less about having a good name was that our name was no good - it carried little value in the community we lived in.  The only way to break free from this generational sin is to begin living off the reputation of another and this is exactly what I did.  After struggling for many years of attempting to live off the name of another (name dropping), I found the right name to hide behind – that of Jesus Christ.  Since that day, I have found success not only in reputation, but in being successful in my sphere of influence.
Let’s take a look at the Word and review the four primary reasons why it is critical for us to have a good name:
1.         Indwelt Christians represent God’s name.  The fact is, we indwelt Christians are the only Bible that the majority of the world will ever see.  When we make it known that we are born-again Christians, we invite others of disbelief to test the name we represent.  This is accomplished through the way we handle insults, persecutions, and distress.  They will watch closely every business and personal transaction we make, in order to see if it actually represents, or matches, how God Himself would transact.  The Word tells us that we are “known and read of all men.”  We are oftentimes the only Bible that most humans will ever read. 
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2, NASB).
2.         Honoring our parents with God’s name. A fact that indwelt Christians cannot ignore is that the first commandment, with a promise from God, is “honor your father and mother” (see Ex 20:12).  Success spiritually, psychologically, and financially is directly related to honoring our parents.  The promise from God in this passage is – if we do, things will go well with us.  In other words, we will be successful in all that we do (Eph. 6:1-3).  If we do not honor our parents, Proverbs 28:7 tells us that we will be gluttonous and a shame to our fathers.  If I remember correctly, gluttons are not some of God’s favored people.
3.         What we represent is passed on to our children.  If we take the above passage literally, it is far more important to pass on to our children a “good name” over a financial inheritance.  In many cases, much like myself, this is the only legacy that we CAN pass on to our children that has intrinsic value.  Once we get to the ripe age of 50, we begin to realize that most of our lives were either fighting against our parents’ reputations or gaining the blessings that came with their “good name.”  Proverbs 10:7 tells us, “The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot” (NASB). The rotting process I am referring to is the warring we do in fighting off the consequences of the bad or corrupt reputation of our parents.
4.         Parental reputations that produce righteousness and success.  Anyone who is remotely successful knows that a good name and solid reputation is the beginning, or gateway, to being successful. One of the first things I immediately look for, in discipling individuals troubled with being able to succeed, are issues of parents with “bad reputations.”  This issue is not always true, but most of the time it is and it helps me show the individual what the Word has to say about the topic. This is so they don’t pass it on to their children. However, the answer is always the same: identity in Christ.
The lesson here is quite obvious – those who do not hide behind the name and reputation of God are robbed of all forms of success. Not only that, but these people usually live under a constant strain of being in debt, not only financially, but in all areas of life.  Exchanging one’s identity from self to Christ is the only way to be free from this predictable bondage.
There are a few requirements for embracing the identity of Christ and His glorious name.  The Exchanged Life, “Not I but Christ,” plays a major part in an indwelt Christian’s life when it comes to embracing the freedom from having a “bad name.”

The first thing we need to realize is that there is no power in the name(s) of man – not one ounce!  It doesn’t matter how much money, fame, or influence the man obtains.  In fact, the more he tries, the less God gives him.  God has a principle of life in place that actually promotes the opposite effect.  Jesus said, "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first” (Matt. 19:30, NASB). It needs to be noted that for those people who strive for a “good name” outside of Christ, God works to put that person in last place. Power and name have such dependence on each other that the Scriptures rarely separate them.  In Acts 4:7 it says, “When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, ‘By what power, or in what name, have you done this?’ " (NASB). From eternity past, God knew that all things are done through power and a name.  This is why it is so important we understand this principle.  It is for this very purpose that people are raised up – in order to demonstrate power, resulting in a name being proclaimed throughout the world (Rom. 9:17).  Now the question comes into play, “By who’s name do we gain power?”  Since there are only two resources of power, Jesus Christ and Satan, that leaves us with a sobering decision.
“In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:4, NASB).
Paul makes a couple mind-bending proclamations. First, he points out that “in the name” is the source of their gathering.  Secondly, he is laying the foundation for his ability to accomplish an act that requires power to sustain and thus, proclaims that what he is about to do is done in the name and power of Jesus Christ.  What was he about to do?
“I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5, NASB).
He demonstrates an act that through the ages has become the least preached Scripture in all of Christendom.  He uses the name of Jesus Christ to turn a resistant person, who defies the counsel of God through church leaders, over to Satan – the second and only name and power known to the spiritual world.  The obvious reason he does this is to stop this young man’s ability to be successful in his sin.  Even more thought provoking, he does this for the sole purpose of providing salvation for him.  The underlying principle here is that God uses the name and power of Satan to return people back to the name and power of God.  On a more practical level, God uses the deception of self (man believing that his name and power has meaning and purpose) to lead them back to His name and power.
As a discipler/counselor of 30+ years, I have found that most self-proclaimed “Christians” believe there are three powers in the world – God, Satan, and man.  The truth being said, there are only two, God and Satan.  What that leaves us with is that the more Satan deceives people into thinking they can be their own power, the more secondhand followers he will obtain.  In God’s reality, those who practice “self” are actually submitting to the power and name of Satan.  Too harsh of a reality for you?  Well, the only words that come to mind are: Get over it.  Truth is truth and we as humans have no power in our own efforts or name. 
Since the entire world is driven by money, fame, and influence, we can now see how the enemy (Satan) has a perfect, from his perspective, environment established for his soon and short-lived world leadership.  Far above all who think of themselves to be self-ruled, having authority, or dominion, God will put each and every one of them under His feet.  After He does that, He will grant His own Son to be the name of all names and power of all powers – for the remainder of eternity (Eph. 1:21-23).
So there you have it!  This is the reason that a “good name” is worth more than all the finances in the entire world.  In the end, it won’t matter how much we have, but it will matter how much of Him we have.  Those who know the Scriptures know that the process of knowing and having all of God is through Salvation – which is the process of becoming a Bridal member of Jesus Christ.  Our marriage union with Christ grants us the privilege of coming under His name, which gives us access to His inheritance and power from eternity past, present, and future, forever and ever.  

Next article:  God’s six basic requirements in order to obtain that “good name.”