A Key to Success in “The Kingdom?” – Not Self-Promotion!

I was participating in a gathering of Christian leaders and my anger and frustration were mounting.  The conversations had been about how to better do the Lord’s work.  But there were a couple of participants in the group that were dominating the conversation and it was clear they were using the opportunity for self-promotion!  Every time they chimed in it seemed like everything they said seemed to be about them.  It seemed clear they wanted to be thought of as the most experienced, the best informed, the most intelligent and talented in the group.  I left the circle of conversation disgusted and angry… and I was not alone, the comments of others who were there read the signals the same way… They were very much into self-promotion!

Then I went home and experienced the Lord’s conviction… It seemed like the Lord whispered to my heart as I stewed over the previous experience… “LeRoy, have you ever been guilty of the yielding to the temptation to subtle self-promotion?  Have you ever forgotten about exalting Me and shifted the focus to yourself – your opinions, your perspective, your gifts, your abilities, your wisdom, your agenda?”  Ouch!  That hurt!  But I had to admit to the Lord that I’d been guilty!

I’m not talking about self-respect here… self-respect is a healthy thing and is anchored in our awareness that we are God’s creation, God’s child, and have something we can contribute to the cause of Christ and meeting the needs of others with the gifts and abilities God has given us…

In my Bible reading this morning during “coffee with the Lord” I was reminded of the great example John the Baptist provides for us all and the important principle his words teach us…

Some of the followers of John approached him one day and tried to pit him against Jesus… They said to him “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness – look, he is baptizing and all are going to him!” (Temptation for competition and self-promotion enter right there!  John could have yielded to it – but he didn’t… He knew who Jesus was!)  Instead John resisted and taught all of us who follow Jesus and serve Him a great lesson…

“John answered, ‘a person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given to him from heaven!  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ (in other words he understood who Christ was and who he was… He had a healthy understanding of his role – in fact he referred to himself in the passage simply as “the friend of the bridegroom.”)  Then John declared an important principle and he taught us an important lesson by his example… HE DECLARED, “HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE!” (from John 3:25-30)

Oh, I’ve got to tell you; I want to overcome the tendency – the temptation – to self-promotion!  I want to live a Christ promoting, Christ exalting life!  Don’t you?  In the inspired words of John… “HE MUST INCREASE – I MUST DECREASE!”

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