I think most of the time self-promotion occurs because an individual wants to be significant. And don’t we all want to be significant? The question is, how far will we go to achieve it? Our culture seems to agree that self-promotion is the best path to significance. Just look at all of the ‘reality shows’. Players are all about getting to the next round. And to do so they need to impress the other players, or the judges, or the viewing audience, or all three. Every other player becomes a step ladder for them. This mentality has crept into the general life and culture. This is not playing out well in our workplace or relationships.
Self-promotion is basically us shining a spotlight on ourselves. The problem is, we weren’t designed to walk in God’s light and at the same time bask in our own light. Even looking at the life of Jesus, one may think that wherever He went He was promoting His miracles, teaching, Messiahship, etc. But He wasn’t. Jesus’ ministry was not a self-promotion tour. In fact, He always deflected glory to the Father. His primary purpose on earth was not to get people to believe in what He could accomplish through signs and wonders. Everything Jesus did on the earth was to show us who the Father is. He is the Way… not to Himself, but to the Father. At one point Jesus actually said, “I do not seek my own glory.” You know who was seeking the glory of Christ? The Father. Even in God there is no selfish ambition or self-promotion.
Jesus is the Light of the world. A light does not exist to bring attention to itself. You can’t actually see the sun very well. It a very bright star, but it doesn’t shine so we can see it. It shines light so we can see everything else. In simply fulfilling its purpose the sun becomes incredibly significant. We would surely miss the sun if it disappeared tomorrow. Yet we rarely think about the sun. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Light of the world, who coming into the world brings light to every person. In that process, as we surrender our lives to Him, we become the light of the world. We aren’t the source of light. Jesus is. But His light shines through us. We aren’t the light of the world so people will see us. We are the light so they can see themselves in their condition and look to see Jesus who would save them. So Jesus came to testify to the Father. We now live unto Christ by the power of His Spirit who resides in us.
The original question was, “If you don’t promote yourself, who will promote you?” Well, God will. The apostle James was the brother of Jesus. Talk about living in a large shadow. Eventually James became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. He had this to say about self-promotion, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”(James 4:6-10)
Be confident today in what you have accomplished. Look for opportunities to succeed. But do not push yourself forward so much that you become the main attraction. Shine a light. Make sure you are shining in the right direction. If you shine bright enough, people will not be able to avoid you, and will see exactly why you exist.
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.