Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Making a Name for Ourselves
This post was first published on the enCourage blog.
We live in a culture of self-promotion. Navigating it can be very tricky, both for us and for those nearby who are looking to us for an example.
Promoting ourselves is tricky because if we have something to sell or something to say, as Michael Hyatt puts it, we need a platform to stand on so we will be heard. A friend of mine decided to quit her job and start selling her homemade sourdough bread. Not only did she have to learn how to bake better bread, she had to figure out how to sell it. Otherwise she would soon be up to her ears not just in bread dough, but in stale, unsold loaves.
Marketing herself, and her artisan bread, was a necessity. She had to make space in a crowded local marketplace for her product. An artistic friend designed her logo and business cards. A tech savvy friend helped her open an Instagram account and build a website. When everything was in place, she launched.
It worked. Her business is growing. Her name is becoming known. But with her budding success comes a budding temptation, to place her happiness there—in her success.
We face this temptation, too. We want to make a name for ourselves. We want to be known as successful mothers or artisan bakers or writers or business women or ministry leaders. And sooner or later, our children will face the same temptation themselves.
This isn’t just an identity problem, it’s a glory problem.
How Do You Fix a Glory Problem?
A glory problem? That sounds serious. If we hear ourselves (or our children) exulting in our latest accomplishment, we rightly become alarmed. We move quickly to shut down the glory party with lines like these:
- Don’t forget to give glory to God. He’s the one who helped you do it!
- What are you boasting in? We’re only supposed to boast in the cross of Christ!
- Watch out for pride. Remember “pride goes before destruction…”
All of these are true statements. We are not to rob God of glory by attributing our success solely to our own efforts. We are called to boast in the cross of Christ above all things. And pride is certainly our chief enemy, tripping us just when we think we are wonderful.
But these truths don’t nail the problem I’m talking about. In fact, Jesus didn’t mention a single one of these truths when he moved to shut down the glory party of some of his followers.