In the book of Revelation, we find the words of the risen Christ to seven churches in Asia. To the church in Sardis, Jesus said, "I know your works, that you have a name [reputation] that you are alive, but you are dead" (Rev. 3:1). The Lord knew the truth about them, and no doubt deep down they knew it too. Jesus told them to wake up and strengthen the spiritual life inside them that was about to die (v. 2). He urged them to remember the truth they have received, obey it, then turn around and start moving in a new direction (v. 3).
When the Lord shows us what's wrong in our lives, He always provides a remedy for change. When we turn from our sins, He forgives and strengthens us to start over. How liberating to exchange a false spiritual reputation for the true, life-giving character that comes from knowing Christ our Lord! The true test of our character is what we do when no one is watching.