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It’s been said that if you take care of your character, God will take care of your reputation. You could also put it this way.  If you take care of your inward man, God will take care of the outward. I believe it’s true.

But the opposite is often done. People worry about making a name for themselves so much that they neglect their character and eventually crash and burn.  They worry too much about what people think about them which leads them down a path of compromise to please man.

The Bible warns us against the ‘fear of man’.

Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

Men love to put undue pressure upon you to act in a way that will please them. We talk a lot of peer pressure that our kids face at younger ages, but friend, peer pressure is alive and well among adults and especially within the Body of Christ.  Unfortunately, peer pressure is a human centered leadership style that must be rejected and forsaken!  Many a man and woman has used peer pressure to manipulate and threaten those whose they have been called to serve and love.  God never leads by manipulation, coercion, or force. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leads us by the still waters. He doesn’t push and prod us like cattle!

When you’re afraid of what people might think of you, when you’re afraid of being left out, when you’re afraid of being shunned, when you’re afraid of losing your job, when you’re afraid of what people might do to you, when you’re worried about what people might say about you, then you’re trapped by those very same sinful people.  You’re stuck.  You’re vulnerable to making very bad decisions that will not honor God. The fear of man almost always leads to compromise and sin.

Matthew 10:27–28 (NKJV) “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

The right object of fear is toward God, not man. You’re to live with a holy reverence, awe, and respect for God that leads to surrendered worship. Think of Him first.  Think of Him second. Think of Him last!  In Christ you are free! True freedom is not enslaved to the opinions or power trips of man!

John 8:34–36 (NKJV) “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

But Ed, if I don’t do what they have asked me, then they won’t talk to me anymore.  If I don’t go along with their requests I’ll be shunned, or the new word today, “canceled”. Ok, with that in mind, are they really the type of people that should be in your life? Are they leading you to Jesus? Are they encouraging you? God is revealing to you in this situation that they are not spiritually healthy for you. It’s time to blaze a new trail as you passionately pursue God’s will for your life. Refuse to be pressured. Don’t fear man!

Remember this, it’s better to be shunned and “cancelled” that to be a compromising man pleaser. If you take care of your character, God WILL take care of your reputation. Trust Him!

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