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Higher Standards

Also, I said, it is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?

– Nehemiah 5:9

Nehemiah was angry. Why? Some leaders had taken advantage of their Jewish brothers, using their influence for their own benefit. These actions, to Nehemiah, were intolerable.

When confronted, these men “were silent and could not find a word to say” (v. 8). Nehemiah instructed them to stop charging interest and restore anything that had been taken wrongly. He reminded them that they needed to be conscious of their impact on others. They represented God; others were watching what they were doing.

He urged these leaders to examine their lives in the light of God’s eternal principles, and not be dominated by personal gains. Their priority should be obeying and pleasing God.

These principles still apply. We need to walk every day “in the fear of our God,” not governed by the flesh or dominated by material gain. We should not take advantage of others for our own advantage. Instead, we should base our lives on God’s Word and seek first His Kingdom. Remember that we are His representatives.

Today, think about your impact on others. People all around are looking at you, how you spend your money, what you do with your time, what you say. Do they see a person who lives for God? Are you filled with compassion for others, or motivated by possessions, power, and pleasure?

Seek first God’s Kingdom. Don’t compromise His principles. You are His child. You have higher standards.

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