We continue this week with our discussion of self-promotion: what it is and is it permissible under any circumstances for a believer.
MAGNIFY THE LORD
In the Old Testament, we are told to magnify the Lord. We have made that simply a matter of praise and worship where we exalt and describe God's attributes in clear and exuberant terms. Yet think about that word "magnify." Doesn't it also mean to take the smallest thing and make it larger so it is easier to see and examine. Could it mean that we are to take the smallest thing that God has done through us and in us and make it 'bigger' for all to see, not with the intent to see us, but in seeing us to help people see Him?
Is self-promotion, done with right intent, really any different than giving a testimony? When God does something for you – provides, heals, delivers or reveals - is it wrong to stand up and say what He has done? So if God has given you a gift or purpose, is it any different to broadcast the truth of what God has done in and through you? And when you do, is that not the same as magnifying the Lord - taking His work in you and 'blowing it up' for all the world to see.
Self-promotion can come from two sources: the desire to promote yourself, pure and simple, or the desire to further God's work through you as you serve others. Consider what Paul said in Romans 11:13-14 (NKJV):
For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.
Paul magnified his office (other translations say proud of, make as much as I can of, glorify my ministry) so he could win more Jews to the gospel. Paul promoted what he did because God appointed him and his work was critical. He was not concerned with what others thought; only what God thought. He was telling the truth with the right motives, and therefore he magnified himself so he could ultimately magnify the Lord.
Your job is not just to magnify the Lord by behaving yourself and not robbing banks or watching bad movies. Even heathen can do those things. What they cannot do and you can is to express God's love to His creation through you, specifically through your purpose, gifts and goals. Perhaps it is time you faced the fact that your distaste for what you call self-promotion is really a means to protect yourself from criticism and being misunderstood. Jesus and Paul 'promoted' and were criticized; can you expect any different treatment?
I think we will take one more week to look at this topic and then move on to some other topics on my mind. I hope this has been helpful and I look forward to your feedback, which you can post here.