Most of us want promotion. We want to be seen as someone with value in our giftings and able to contribute to jobs and church.
I’d go as far as to say that if we don’t desire promotion, something is deeply wrong. We need more mature Christians in roles of influence throughout the world. God uses our desires to advance His kingdom and bring heaven to the areas where the enemy has had dominion.
But how do we do so if so much of promotion is determined by others giving it to us? How do we pursue it while not being consumed with selfish motives?
The answer comes down to recognizing five important principles:
Seek first God’s kingdom
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV
God knows what’s best and He has the best path for you. You may think that you would be great at a certain position at your church or job, but it could ultimately lead to a harder path that’s removed from God’s favor. Our job isn’t to kick down doors to get what we want, but rather to be in relationship with God seeking His will in every moment. His desire to put you where you will flourish is greater than your own desires.
The American way prioritizes promoting yourself to open doors.
It says that networking and making superficial relationships is the best way to get opportunity. Kingdom principle is the opposite. It says that as we work hard to take care of others, God will take care of us. It says that as we do good in the secret, He will reward us in the open.
The more we get the focus off of ourselves, the more room we give God to let Him orchestrate the best paths for us. When we let go of self-promotion, we put our faith and trust in God. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say we throw marketing out the window (I have a BBA in marketing myself). The point here is that we have to examine where the heart is at. If your heart is pure, you will naturally focus more on serving rather than striving.
Humility precedes promotion
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…” 1 Peter 5:6 ESV
In today’s digital social culture there’s an underlying message that screams, “Promote yourself! Show the world everything you’re doing so that they can see that you’re worthy of praise and more opportunity.”
Imagine a world where that entire thought process was flipped on its head. A place where people were consistently honoring other’s accomplishments and good qualities through their Instagram posts. We wouldn’t have to worry about promoting ourselves one bit because everyone would already be doing it for each other. That’s the kind of Kingdom mentality we need to be pulling from Heaven and fighting for.
Humility says this is not my gift, but God’s gift that He has given to me to steward. Humility does not boast, but rather gives God the glory. Humility applauds and honors others when they get the promotion that you want. Humility works hard even when no one will notice.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” Philippians 2:3 NIV
Promotion is for the sake of others
“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2
God is about promoting us so that we can be a blessing. When He gives you financial reward, it’s so that you can sow greater seed into the kingdom. When He gives you that position on the worship team, it’s so that you can help people connect to God through your gift.
It’s also important to note that God blesses us simply because He is good, He is gracious, and He is a father. Recognizing His character is a vital component of our walk of faith. He loves you and wants to do good things in your life as a natural father would do for their child.
Faithful with little, faithful with much
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” Matthew 25:21 NIV
You may not feel like you have a lot right now, but recognize your favor and give thanks. You can always compare yourself to another and feel like you don’t have a lot – even if you’re a millionaire or on a leadership team. If you can steward your current favor with a pure heart, God can trust you to steward greater favor with maturity. What kind of a father wants to give gifts to their spoiled child who complains, constantly covets what their friends have and isn’t thankful for what has been given?
Promotion comes with greater responsibility
My last point is this. To remind you that as you are praying for these things, really think about what you’re asking for. Don’t complain when you get that promotion you have been wanting and your life gets busier, people hold you to higher standards (James 3:1), and conflict comes your way. Every parent knows that as you step into that kind of promotion, a multitude of responsibilities come with it.
However, don’t let this make you shy towards taking new steps. God has unlimited grace for those who are willing to take on new leadership. He is the one that sustains and equips you for your calling! If He is clearly opening doors for you to move forward, don’t be afraid to take the leap.
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