Fight The Tide
God help me to fight the tide of self-promotion in our culture so that I may elevate others.
Read: Matthew 23: 11-12 NIV
“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
If ever there were some counter cultural ideas shared in the bible than this was certainly one of them. The struggle for position in society, though measured in different ways through time, has existed since the creation of Adam. Today position is often measured by likes, subscribers and followers. Historically, position has often been measured by titles or wealth. Jesus saying above comes immediately after he warns his hearers not to do things the Pharisee’s do. The next question is naturally, “What were they doing?”. Jesus’ says they were guilty of doing things to be seen or recognized: wearing clothes that brought attention to themselves and their position, sitting in the place of honor at banquets, desiring to be greeted with respect in the community and called out by their important titles. What I find challenging is that at face value nothing seems wrong about any of these things. After all what’s wrong with being recognized for wearing a nice outfit or having good style? After working hard at school for eight plus years who doesn’t enjoy being called doctor? The problem with the behavior of the Pharisee’s was that elevation of self gets in the way of the ultimate ethic, love, which seeks to elevate others.
Perhaps the easiest way to be seen today is on social media. I challenge all of us to consider the motivation behind why we post on social media. Is it to draw attention to ourselves? Is it to make sure others know we didn’t just attend an event but sat in a place of honor? Do we do it to make sure everyone else is aware of our accomplishments? Do we post in attempt to elevate ourselves over others? What a relief to know that greatness in God’s kingdom is measured altogether different than how our world measures greatness. Everyone, regardless of their position in life, can be great in the eyes of God. God says those who humble themselves will be exalted by him, the only exaltation that will last for eternity. You will either be exalted in this life or the life to come, which one will you choose?
God search my heart and reveal any tendencies toward self-promotion. Help me to realize in a powerful way that true greatness lies in my ability to serve humbly.