“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” – Romans 12:3
I had the recent opportunity to attend a company training on leadership. Before the training I had to take a DISC assessment that tells you your behavior style, what sort of work environments you thrive in, how you like and don’t like to be communicated with, how you perceive yourself, and how others perceive you. I was anxious to read it since I had taken the test a month before the training and didn’t get the results until the first day of the training. Before I read through it I prayed that I would only learn what God wanted me to learn and that my heart would be guarded. In the end His opinion of me is all that matters.
I agreed with a most of the assessment. Some of it I was unsure about, and some of it surprised me. I received some pretty tough feedback. The assessment said that under high and normal stress I can be perceived as a “self-promoter”. I was shocked by this because I didn’t think I really talked about myself.
When I asked one of my close friends what she thought of the feedback, her response was “I can see that.” HOLD THE PHONE. Excuse me?? My external response was “Huh. Interesting…” She explained further and in a very non-condemning way and said “Like you just like to tell people what you’re doing, not that you brag on yourself.” You know how the bible says to “think of yourself with sober judgment”, or do a sober SELF-assessment? Yeah, I had to do one, and the next day I “just so happened” to read Matthew 6.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1-6
The first 6 verses are all about doing things in secret, where no one can see and no one can praise me for it. So I will pose the same questions the Holy Spirit posed to me. “Doing things for people, fasting and praying are all great things to do, but why are you doing them? You may be going in with the right intention, but do you crave the attention of others? Or better Christian question, do you just desire that affirmation?” I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask God for that, but at the end of the day, what He says and what He thinks about you is what matters. He is the one we are living for. By all means, tell HIM about everything awesome going on, but don’t take away your eternal reward by announcing your awesomeness to the whole world. I think sometimes we think “well other people need to see it so that they will learn.” I don’t think that is what God had in mind. He is our teacher (Matthew 23:8). While we are called to disciple, there is a fine line between discipling others and promoting ourselves. We need the Holy Spirit’s guidance to walk that line properly. Are you giving a testimony of God’s goodness or wanting the attention?
Might I challenge you, as I was challenged, to do a sober self-assessment. Let’s ask our Heavenly Father to help us check our motives at the door before we speak about ourselves. His only motive is to empower us to live the full life that Jesus promised, so let’s seek to glorify Him rather than promote ourselves. In the end, promotion comes from Him, and He takes care of all our needs if we first seek Him.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33