The word “noble” can refer to individuals who belong to a high social class or an otherwise exalted rank. However, this is not the sense in which I want to consider this word during this study. It should be pointed out, though, that Paul said, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26). Thus, Paul expresses the great difficulty those in elevated earthly positions or standings have in accepting and following the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who may be “noble” in this sense need to be aware of the challenges they face to obeying the gospel.
There is another sense in which the word “noble” is used. It is used in a sense of possessing certain admirable qualities. Of course, in the context of the Scriptures, we are considering qualities which God and God’s people find to be admirable. Consider a few areas, then, in which Christians should be noble.
Noble In Attitude Toward God And His Word
God’s people must be truth-seekers who are ready to receive the teachings from God’s word and make diligent application to their lives. Consider a great example of people in the New Testament who had this kind of noble attitude relative to God and His word. “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (Acts 17:10-12).
Why did the Bereans believe the message that was preached when many in Thessalonica had rejected it? The difference was the noble attitude possessed by the Bereans (translated “fair-minded” in the NKJV). The Bereans had the admirable quality of truly wanting to know the truth and wanting to do what was right. In fact, they possessed this quality to such a great degree that they made diligent search of the Scriptures in order to know whether they were being taught God’s word accurately. So, they were not taking anyone’s word as being truth – except God’s word. This admirable quality of being truth-seekers led them to being obedient to the truth!
Similarly, when Jesus taught the parable of the sower and the soils (see Luke 8:4-8, 11-15), He demonstrated that not every person responds to the opportunity to hear God’s word the same way. Many are like the “wayside soil” that cannot be penetrated by God’s word – because their hearts are hard and they are distracted by many other things. Some are like the “rocky soil” who hear God’s word and initially receive it joyfully. Yet, they only believe for a time and fall away because of temptation. Some are like the “thorny soil” who hear, but do not bring any spiritual fruit to maturity because they are too concerned with the cares, riches, and pleasures of life.
However, Luke 8:15 says, “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” Again, like we saw in Acts 17, there are some who have the admirable quality of seeking for the truth and being honest to reflect upon the teachings of the gospel and make application of it to their own lives. These individuals are the ones who will put God’s word into action in their lives and live in such a way that will please God! Let us all cultivate this kind of noble attitude toward God and His word in our own lives!
Living According To Christ’s Noble Name
James 2:7 makes reference to how some people cause the “noble name” by which Christians are called to be blasphemed. Consider that Christ’s name is truly the most admirable name in the earth. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! And, appreciate the great opportunity that you have been given to be called by His name. Acts 11:26 says that “disciples” were called “Christians.” They were to be following and imitating the examples and instructions given through Jesus!
So, God’s people must be living in such a way that will bring glory to this noble name. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Now, please notice that the word translated “good” in this verse comes from the same Greek word as the word “noble” in James 2:7 and Luke 8:15. Therefore, God’s people ought to be conducting their lives in a way that is admirable in the sight of God and before all men, that men would have nothing evil to truly say about us (see Titus 2:8). Then, by conducting ourselves in this way, others will have the opportunity to witness the “good” (noble) things we are doing and choose to live their lives for the glory of God as well.
Sadly, there are many who profess to wear the name of Jesus Christ who are blaspheming His name by the way in which they conduct their lives. Rather than doing everything in their lives to glorify God, they cause the name of God to be blasphemed whenever others hear their claims to be followers of Christ and then witness the unholy conduct they are involved in! Read Romans 2:17-24 to observe how the sinful and hypocritical actions of God’s people can cause God’s noble name to be blasphemed by others.
How To Be Noble
Do you desire to have the noble attitude toward God and His word we discussed from Acts 17 and Luke 8? Do you desire to live according to Christ’s noble name? If so, take some time to evaluate the teachings of God’s word and learn how you can be noble. Consider two basic points that will go a long way in helping you be noble.
(1) Think on noble things. If you are concerned about being noble and pleasing God, Philippians 4:8 should be used in your life to filter your thoughts (which thoughts you dwell on and which ones you discard). It says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Therefore, if you are putting wicked things into your mind, you should expect to have wicked actions being produced (compare with Matthew 15:19). However, if you want to be noble, you need to be thinking on noble things!
(2) Test everything. Everything you do, think, and say should be put to the test. Furthermore, everything you accept into your mind as being truth should be put to the test. Everything should be tested by the standard of God’s word (just as the Bereans searched the Scriptures daily to see whether they were being taught accurately).
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” Again, the word translated “good” is the same word for “noble” used in James 2:7 and Luke 8:15. Therefore, when you test everything you must cling to everything that is noble.
Are you noble? Are the qualities that you possess in your life admirable in the sight of God and those who fear Him? Put everything in your life to the test and only cling to that which meet’s the high standard of living for Christ’s noble name!