To everyone he met, Jack was the beloved Marine veteran whose stories of exploits in the Korean War inspired others to serve their country. However, there was only one small problem with Jack’s life—his story was completely false. He never served as a Marine in the 7th Regiment, 1st Division. He never spent a day in Korea. The Purple Hearts and Silver Stars were bogus—bought from a shady mail-order catalog.

Jack was able to keep the ruse going for over 20 years, but finally the truth caught up with him. A non-profit veteran’s organization did some investigating and then kicked him out. Then a local newspaper found out about Jack’s story and published an article. Soon Jack was forced to admit publicly that he’d lived a lie his entire adult life. He said he did it all because he “wanted to be a hero.”

I doubt there are many of us willing to concoct a lie such as Jack’s. But we all have a part of us that just wants to be noticed. And we’ll do things that we know are wrong just to be liked.

I think of young men and women who compromise their purity for acceptance. I think of employees who will cut corners to get ahead. I think of people in ministry who water down their message to draw a crowd.

Real favor comes from God—Who sees our hearts. The genuine heroes are those who humbly follow Him, whether someone notices them or not.

Ask yourself this question: What will you or won’t you do to be well-liked?

Genuine respect, honor, and favor come from a deep inner life cultivated by Christ—not an outward display of false altruism. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder