Legendary basketball coach John Wooden believed that character is far more important than reputation. “Your reputation is what you’re perceived to be by others, but you character is what you really are. You’re the only one that knows your character. You can fool others, but you can’t fool yourself,” the coach would often tell his players.
It is easy to build a wall around ourselves to build a reputation. Many today seek to build their personal brand. We have traditionally called this our reputation. Brands are only as good as their essence when all the fluff is pulled away. One of the world’s greatest marketers almost destroyed their brand when they changed the character of their product; Coca Cola made a major blunder when they launched new Coke.
Ultimately we can fool those around us, but no matter how good a brand we present to the world, if our character is not consistent with the brand the real substance is only puffery. And no-one can fool God.
John in Revelation wrote to the church in Sardis and said “You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Rev 3:1 Who are you fooling?