Survival Principles #19

How to Acquire Good References


Lion’s Den Survival Principles is a series designed to help Christians thrive in the often hostile world of media and entertainment. The principles from Scripture, however, can apply to every situation where you find yourself in the midst of lions!

Dr. Larry Poland Twitter

How to Acquire Good References

“ . . . If a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it . . . even if these three men—Noah, Daniel, and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
— Ezekiel 14:12-14 (NIV)

A Hollywood actor once said a performer goes through stages in his career that are reflected by what producers say about him. The progression is: (1) “Who’s Joe Doaks?” (2) “We can’t afford a star, why don’t we use Joe Doaks?” (3) “It would really make this picture if we could just get Joe Doaks.” (4) “What we need is a young Joe Doaks.” (5) “Who’s Joe Doaks?” The perceptions shift despite little or no change in the person’s talent.

Unfortunately, what other people think and say is much too important to most media professionals. While “a good name is more desirable than great wealth” (Proverbs 22:1), there is only one character reference that really counts. It is not what our peers say about us. It is what God says about us.

In the Ezekiel passage quoted above, God Himself holds Daniel up with Noah and Job as examples of extraordinary virtue. He states that His anger is so inflamed at Israel because of its moral apostasy that even if all three of these heroes of the faith were in national prominence, their stellar righteousness could spare only themselves from His judgment and no one else.

In addition to the character reference of “The Sovereign Lord” above, Jesus also certifies Daniel’s credibility by affirming one his prophetic visions in Matthew 24:15. Not bad character references!

Survival Principle: If you want God to speak well of you in times to come, you have to pursue His will and way today.

Daniel pursued a lifelong quest to worship and obey his God—come hell or high water, royal edict or fiery furnace, palace conspiracy or lion’s den. He had little concern for what people thought of him; He wanted God to think well of him . . . and God did.

It’s amazing how a single-minded pursuit of pleasing God brings the flaky and often ill-motivated opinions of others into immediate perspective. In the grand scheme of things, they don’t count for much. In fact, Jesus noted that being well spoken of by others should be a matter of concern: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)

Survival Principle: Don’t be preoccupied with status. Pursue stature, and status—with God and man—will be your reward.

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