Self-promotion is usually rooted in our lack of trust in God. One of the toughest things to address in our modern culture is this topic of self-promotion. There is such an emphasis in our day and age on being known and finding ways to get known. As we look at the life of Jesus, we see a different approach to life. It’s important to understand how Jesus approached life and ministry and to make the necessary adjustments.
It’s hard to find a place where Jesus intentionally promoted anything He did to attract larger crowds or become a household name. In fact, He made statements or did things that actually discouraged crowds from following Him. For example, He made statements like this:
Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him (John 6:54-56).
Notice how He didn’t really bother to explain what He meant by “eat My flesh and drink My blood” to the multitudes before they left. It’s easy for us to embrace it because later Jesus explains what this means to His 12 disciples—communion. The crowd’s reaction to that statement was that they left that gathering entirely. If He wanted to be well received, then this certainly was not something to say in public.
It’s very clear that growing a large ministry and becoming a well-known person was not His motivation. Something else motivated Him; it was doing exactly what the Father was doing. When people are like Jesus—very secure in who they are and fully aware of how Daddy sees them—they will have absolutely no need to promote themselves. They will carry a presence and favor about them that will open the doors and create the momentum for them. Instead of trying to open doors, the doors will be opened.
This momentum that we are referring to is being created in the Body of Christ, and it will ride on the shoulders of ones who have no need to promote themselves. Any time people begin to move into self-promotion, it can usually be traced back to the simple reality that they don’t trust God. This causes them to come to a place where they feel the need to do something about it, and they then move into promoting themselves.
We have to learn to let the favor of God and the favor of people open the doors. As we learn to let our hearts be calibrated to the heart of God, we will then lead an entirely different life. We will be motivated by what we can give, and we will lead with our hearts. As Larry Randolph says,
“Don’t let your gift lead your heart, but let your heart lead your gift.”