Sometimes it’s amazing how totally opposite our thinking can be from what God teaches us in the Bible. Take, for example, the notion that as Christians, our lives are not about us at all…
When we’re in Christ, it’s all about how we can promote Him. The world tells you, “Get in there and be famous and get your name out there.” We get in Christ and He says, “Get My name out there!” (excerpt from Don’t Miss Your Destiny Due to Wrong Speaking, by Assistant Pastor Vondalier Pipkin)
That can be a pretty jarring concept. How does promoting someone else get me noticed? And when do I become famous? Well, the reality is that we are all called to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves, and when we lock in on that, we can experience a much greater sense of fulfillment and validation than self-promotion could ever bring. To be clear, we’re not talking about assimilation into some kind of Borg or group-think, but rather connecting with God’s divine plan to rescue as many people as possible from a terrible fate (hell.) Sounds like a pretty epic adventure to get in on, right? And only God can do it, so if we want in, we’ve got to do it His way. I’m not saying that makes it easy, but hopefully it helps put our own lives into some perspective. When we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves, it doesn’t matter if our part is big or small, seen or unseen- we’re all a part of that greater objective.
Now, I happen to be one of those people that’s more comfortable “behind-the-scenes,” so I can be tempted to think that I’m already living out this principle just because I’m not seeking the spotlight. But then there are times where I’ve been frustrated because I didn’t get my way, or I felt overlooked or misunderstood and really took it personally. There have even been times when I’ve gone to such lengths to stay in the shadows that I ended up forcing everyone else to adjust what they were doing to accommodate my preferences. Talk about making it all about me! So I’ve learned that there’s no difference between shunning the spotlight and seeking fame and glory if the motivation is to promote a particular image of ourselves instead of God.
I am challenged and encouraged by the example Paul sets in the Bible, in his letter to the Philippians when he was in prison. He explained how his difficult circumstances were prompting many to preach, but in some cases the people preaching were using the opportunity to cast Paul in a bad light. That certainly wasn’t promoting Paul’s image, but he responded in this way:
It's true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry... But that doesn't matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. (Philippians 1:15, 18 NLT)
Okay, so I’m not in prison for my faith like he was, but I can learn a lot from Paul’s attitude and his primary focus. He didn’t care how whatever was going on made him look or how it inconvenienced him, as long as it was helping point people to Jesus. That’s got to be my attitude, too: the purpose of my life, and everything going on in it, is to make the good news about Jesus known to as many people as possible. No matter how I look, or what people think, or what I am called to do, the litmus test for whether I’m on track is, who’s getting the glory? I am determined that in my life, it’s going to be Jesus, not me. How about you?