“SPLASH!” As I came up out of the water, I looked up to the bridge, hoping the girl I was trying to impress saw me. I had completed a perfect front flip into the James River from the 50-foot-high bridge. The summer after graduating college, some friends and I went hiking and then bridge jumping. Of course, since it was a group of guys and girls, the guys immediately started to one-up each other by jumping from higher and higher heights, then attempting more advanced jumps. Since I was trying to get one of the girls to like me, I had no choice but to do the highest and most dangerous jump (not recommended!). Thankfully, I landed it safely, and the girl, Brandy, is now my wife.
When we want something, like a spouse, there is a force within us that drives us to present the best version of ourselves, to promote ourselves, to prove how much we deserve whatever it is, and to win it. When I was first trying to impress my wife, I wanted her to see how adventurous I was. I felt I had to go above and beyond to prove it. If I didn’t promote it to her, she might have missed it, then missed me, and wound up with the wrong guy. I had an obligation to win her heart because she deserved someone like me, and would have been miserable without an adventurous guy like myself.
Obviously, I’m embellishing a bit (my wife would probably say otherwise), but the lengths I went to to impress my wife are a great example of self-promotion. Self-promotion is the natural tendency within us to push our agenda of what we think we deserve. We promote ourselves by publicizing our skills and abilities, often in a forceful way. When we feel out of place in some way, shape, or form, our first reaction is typically to promote ourselves. Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about our call as Christians to flee the desire to self-promote and instead humble ourselves before God.
In the book of 1 Peter, Peter calls followers of Jesus to choose devotion, not self-promotion.
1 Peter 5:5b-6
5b And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
Unfortunately, sometimes when attempting to pursue humility, some Christians swing to the other end of the spectrum of self-demotion. Self-demotion is when we forcefully reduce our involvement or lower our place of worth. Humbling ourselves under God’s mighty power is neither self-promotion nor self-demotion. “The mighty power of God” in verse 6 is an allusion to God leading his people to the promised land. It is an emphasis on God’s deliverance regardless of our circumstances. As we grow to know God in deeper ways, our devotion to him should also grow. It is our love, loyalty, and commitment to Jesus that will allow us to remain in a state of humility no matter the situation we find ourselves in.
The rest of the week, we’ll look over the four ways we can increase our devotion to Jesus and humble ourselves by surrendering our cares, staying alert, standing firm, and sharing the glory.
What is an area you have chosen to self-promote or self-demote?
How can you deepen your knowledge of the “mighty power of God”?
Admit your need for God to work in your circumstances, whatever they are. Attend GrowthTrack, if you haven’t already.
Also, as we close out our study on 1 Peter, read through the book this week. Today, we will focus on 1 Peter 1. Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.
Dear Lord, sometimes I self-promote and, in pride, think too highly of myself. Other times, I self-demote, and I allow lies or fear to hold me back from what you have in mind for me. Please forgive me for both and help me to humble myself under your mighty power. You are good, and I want to be right where you want me to be. Amen.
This post was written by Alex Woody. Alex is the Senior Director of CedarCreek Students. His family attends the West Toledo Campus where his two daughters and son can be found filling the lobby with laughter and smiles.
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