Presented to Words for the Journey by Denise Miller Holmes, Director, 2012
Almost a year ago, I ran across an article on a Christianity Today blog for women entitled Is Self Promotion Sinful?
The writer cited the call for us to be humble and came to the conclusion that self promotion called too much attention to the person and not enough on God, and that we as humans had egos that could puff up and cause us to be in a state of sin.
She said it subtler than that, but that was the gist of it. I found it ironic that she’d come to this conclusion after her book had been rejected twice by editors who told her she was a very good writer but she didn’t have an audience. She wasn’t investing in building her platform. This annoyed her very much, as the resultant article showed.
While I was reacting to the premise of this article, this verse sprang to mind.
Matthew 5:14-16. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father in heaven.
Another scripture I thought of was 2 Corinthians 5:20, where Paul says that he sees himself and his team as ambassadors for Christ, and he says it’s as if Christ were talking through them…
When we denigrate ourselves and hide, I think we are actually misunderstanding what humility is. When Moses called himself the most humble man, he wasn’t talking about denigrating his strengths and saying “oh, I’m dirt,” he was saying that he depended on God more than anybody.
Dependence on God does not go away when we self promote. In fact, you might argue that the dependence intensifies!
God has created each of us uniquely. We all are a special expression of God, and when He calls us to share those gifts with others, it’s okay to draw attention to ourselves, as long as when they look at us, they see Christ too.
I was trying to think of a real-life example of what I’m saying, and because I’m not a football fan, it took me a while before I thought of Tim Tebow. Here is a Tebow quote:
It’s one thing to score touchdowns and win championships and trophies, but at the end of the day that doesn’t matter. If you can affect people, change people’s lives and be a good role model, someone that a mom or a dad can look to their son and say, “Hey, that’s how you need to handle it,” then that’s my ultimate goal. That’s ultimately how I’d define my life as having success if I can reach that.
Tim is not shy about drawing attention to himself. He does it all the time. But his soul does not appear to be wilting from an inflated ego. On the contrary, he sees himself as promoting more than himself. When he draws attention to himself, he draws attention to everything he stands for—his values and his God.
When we self promote as ambassadors for Christ, we change lives because what we stand for also is promoted, and what we stand for as thought leaders is Christ-like values and Christ-like actions.
So promote. Let your light shine.
Lord, may we step out boldly in our calling as writers. Help us to shine our light for You, and draw attention to You in everything we do. Amen.
Denise Miller Holmes is the director of Words for the Journey and the writer of savvy articles on RedHotRead.com.