What if we didn't?
What if, instead of protecting our image, we worked on creating it? You know, become the type of person we want to tell people we are. We could live out the eulogy we would want to hear read at our funeral.
This would be simple and difficult all at the same time. Simple because we'd no longer be pretending. Difficult because, let's face it, living the right way can get you into trouble. And I think I have found the poster child for this kind of life, way back in the first book of the Bible.
His name was Joe. Now I'm not saying he was perfect, but this guy also didn't seem to know how to protect his own image. He talks openly of dreams he has, causing his brothers to sell him into slavery. But once there, he taps into his skill of organizational control and shows his master he can be trusted.
Of course, this gets him into trouble as well and he finds himself in jail. Not content to just sit and rot, he once again uses his gifts. It benefits the jailer and his cell mates, but doesn't do him much good for a couple of years. You can read all of this starting in Genesis 37.
But life changes for him when the Pharaoh of Egypt starts having un-explainable dreams, something Joe seems able to do. So Pharaoh sends for Joseph. This is, of course, great news for Joe. He's out of jail. The supreme commander need his skill set. Surely Joe knows that now is his time to show his stuff. So it seems a bit odd when we read this;
Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."If I knew I had one chance at freedom, my instinct would not be to have my first words be what I can't do. But don't you see it? Joe is not worried about his own image. He puts sole responsibility for what will happen (or not happen) on God.
"I cannot do it, " Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires" Genesis 41:15-16.
Because it is God's image we should be most concerned about. It is His Name, His Glory. That should be our chief concern. When we lose the excuses and stop protecting our own image, we don't have to take the blame. We also don't concern ourselves with getting the glory. Because what happens is left up to God.