What Do You Want to Be Known For?
There’s a minor figure in the Bible we don’t know a whole lot about, but we know he has a powerful legacy. It’s a guy named Gaius.
You’ve heard of him, right? Right up there with guys like Moses, Elijah, and Paul, of course. Still not ringing a bell? Okay, fine. I guess I’m just better at Bible Drill than you. Just kidding, I didn’t know who he was until recently either, so you’re off the hook.
We see his name pop up a few times in the New Testament. He hangs out in Acts with guys you have heard of, like Paul and Luke. He serves in Corinth and helps Paul during the time Paul is writing the letter to the Romans.
But where I want to focus is what John the Elder says about him. John was, of course, the author of the Gospel of John, as well as the three letters toward the end of the New Testament. In the last of these, John writes specifically to Gaius.
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth.” - 3 John 2-3
We don’t know a lot about this Gaius, but John immortalized his legacy with a single statement: “indeed you are walking in the truth.”
I don’t know that I have an opinion about whether or not I’m known for anything 2000 years from now, but if I am, it would be awesome to have that be all that people know about me.
But that got me thinking: what do people know about me now? What am I known for and how am I remembered by people who meet me?
It’s really popular to actively dismiss what people think about you, especially for the folks in my millennial generation. We are the “Don’t judge me!” generation and the “I don’t care what you think, I’m going to do me!” generation.
While it’s important to recognize that the only healthy way to define your identity is through what God says about you, we’re talking about something different. We’re talking about how people see you. And you are a believer, you, my friend, are an ambassador for Christ.
Why is that important?
Because what you do matters. Your life is a testimony. You are left on this Earth to testify and point to Jesus. In fact, it often does more harm than good for the Kingdom to be a lukewarm Christian.
By living under the name of Christ, declaring yourself as His follower, yet continuing in sin and carelessness, it represents a nullification of the truth. If you declare freedom from sin in Christ, and then continue in the bondage of sin, on some level it makes you a liar.
Here’s a painfully personal example.
This month marks 20 years since I gave my life to Jesus. I wasn’t perfected at that moment, but I began the process of sanctification. I’m ashamed to say my progress hasn’t always been upward. In my late teens, I found myself in a depression and I acted upon it my diving headfirst into everything but the Gospel. For about a year, I was indistinguishable from the world in so many ways, I still find myself weeping in thankfulness for God’s undeserved grace.
My social media showed a different story. It told the world that I was a Christian and a follower of Jesus. But at the time, I was following the world.
One day, someone asked me about it. They said, “Your Facebook says this, but aren’t you guys supposed not be doing that?”
It honestly broke me. From then on, I was haunted by the life I’d been living and I knew I had to turn my life back around and set my eyes back on Jesus. Because my sin made a mockery of the Gospel.
It’s one thing to shrug off someone’s opinion of me—some people just don’t like bald guys, I guess—but perception is something wildly different. I don’t have to care whether like me or not, but it is crucial to think about how people perceive me.
If I claim to be in the party of Christ—that means I am telling the world I want to be like Jesus—then how people see me is how they will see Jesus.
When John looked at his friend Gaius, he saw truth. What do people see when they look at you?