“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42–43.)
Are you doing good deeds out of love for God and neighbour? Or are you doing good deeds in order to draw attention to yourself and not God? Is there a part of you wanting to be noticed and esteemed by others?
When you try to cultivate a good reputation, you are open to the danger of inviting the praise of men. Jesus made Himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:7).
When our hearts are set on gaining the praise of men, we are likely to develop several other faults along the way. For example, we may seek to win people's attention through self promotion in our words. In conversation, we might drop certain people's names, point out our achievements, or exaggerate our successes with the hopes of having others esteem us highly ("He must be important").
We are living in difficult times. And it is at times like this that our decisions and actions often determine the course of our lives. There are all kinds of temptations where our loyalty and strength of character is really being tested.
Herbert Swope said, "I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure-try to please everybody".
All of us know this truth, but few believe it enough to practice it. Consider how much you're concerned that people like you and are pleased with what you do. Think about why you'll do almost anything to win the approval of people.
It is important that we remember who we are, servants of the Lord, and then act accordingly. We should never abandon our standards in order to be popular or to enjoy the praise of men.
As we go about in the community affairs, let us not become so involved in the things of the world that we forget or neglect our essence and responsibilities as the chosen children of God and holders of His priesthood.
Always remember, if man's approval builds you up, then man's rejection will tear you down. The people who praise you now can later turn and "crucify" you.
To be delighted by the praises of men is to dishonour God.
People are unreliable and will disillusion you. Their judgments is puffed up. As a general principle, what people say about you reflects more about them than you.
Your Source of praise is God, not man.
You are already empowered to face the counsel of men and say with the apostles, "We must obey God rather than men!" (Acts 5:29).
I pray that we may we have the courage, strength, understanding, desire, and determination to do as Joshua said: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:15.)