Category Archives: Godly Promotion

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: Intent on One Purpose

“…Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose…” ~ Philippians 1:18-2:8.

Intent on one purpose, what should that be?

As I consider that question, I know my heart’s cry is to be like Jesus, who sought the Father and His purpose in all things, desiring the Father’s glory above all. My determined purpose cries out with Paul’s heart to know God intimately, being as one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Philippians 3:8-11, AMP). The only way I see to godly promotion is found in unity with God and His purposes, which are not always easy or convenient, pleasant or desirable to the flesh.

According to this mandate from Paul, standing firm in this fellowship of the Spirit, we find unity of faith that whole-heartedly loves God and one another. That mutual, wholehearted love and unity of purpose makes one willing to deny oneself for the cause of Christ in loving God and others as Jesus exemplified through the power and leading of the Spirit of God.

With like-mindedness, having the same love one for the other, our unity comes in realizing that each of our purpose is to glorify God as God while helping one another to progress forward with joy in this faith, standing firm in it. Having this unity of heart with understanding of this love and humility exemplified in Christ, the only pride of our confidence found within is Christ and Him crucified: we boast in none else. Trusting His sacrifice, we live our lives with the realization of our need of Him, alive within us, uniting us as one in love of God. If you have ever met only briefly another person, and instantly known this unity of the Spirit with him or her, you know what I am talking about.

I read an inspirational quote recently that I cannot seem to find again, but the premise of it rolls around in my head a lot of late. Essentially, it said that in knowing who we are with realization of our purpose, our life choices would follow that path. Knowing who we are as believers of God in Christ does not only mean a realization of our fleshly being. It requires us to know who we are as God sees us, coming to realize His design and purpose in our being in this life at this time. When we know ourselves as God knows us and we know Him in ever-growing intimacy, that understanding dictates our priorities, empowering us to reach our desired end.

As we surrender ourselves fully to God, dying to our own interests that are dictated by our flesh-being trying to resurrect itself, Promotion03having God’s purpose and priorities as our directive, we possess His heart for our own lives and for those in it with us. This mindset and this fellowship of the Spirit remove all distinctions between us. Always desiring God’s best plan for each individual, we no longer compete against each other. This desire removes all jealousy, each of us living for the other as people, living to please God alone. In so doing, we inspire one another to higher ground on our journey to a humility that leads surely to the exaltation that comes from God.

Each of us surrendering to be one with the Father through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, finding His purpose for our own lives and trusting His purpose for those among us, we come into unity together in the fellowship of His Spirit. In this unity, jealousy that covets what another person has that we admire dies, for our focus is on God and His glory through our being all and only as He is, just as He created us to be. In this unity, the victories we each possess in life bring rejoicing to all, as our hearts bow to the glory of God found in each individual rather than in the exaltation of self.

Jesus set the example as He left the comforts of heaven to come to the cross for our benefit. He set the example through His desire for God’s priorities, purposes, and plans over that of His own or any other person’s desire for Him. Knowing and trusting God’s will made Jesus bold to stand firm in faith and to choose the path ahead in life (John 4:34; 5:20, 30, 43; 6:38; Luke 4:14-30; John 6:1-15). The King of kings set the example as He stepped into the lowliest of jobs saved for the least of the household slaves during that last supper with His beloveds (John 13:1-20). Taking towel and basin to wash their filthy feet, spending precious time in intimate communion with each individual one of them, He instructed us to do for one another as He just did for each of them.

Godly promotion comes to those who fully discover and understand humility that bows to God alone, taking a backseat to others out of faith in God who sees the heart of our surrendered-humiliation. One of the greatest things we can do is to deny self, even stepping into the lowliest of positions for the benefit of others who need the touch of God through us to the glory of God and the good of His Kingdom. Meeting the needs of others as God leads should be our only competition.

Beloved, sometimes bowing to God can mean being humble enough to allow another to wash our filthy feet, just as Peter learned while his Lord bowed to wash his. God knows our heart. He knows who needs the humility of serving others for a while and who needs that of being the one served. Both positions require surrender to God’s will and way, the emptying of ourselves through self-denial, and humility to submit. Following Jesus in surrendered service to God as both one who serves and one who receives the benefit of service is the pathway to promotion in God’s Kingdom.

hardest road

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” ~ 1 Peter 5:6, NLT (see verse 1-11, noting especially verses 4-5 and 10).

“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal” ~ John 6:27.

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege, the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ, and that I may actually be found and known as in Him, not having any self-achieved righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that genuine righteousness which comes through faith in Christ, the truly right standing with God, which comes from God by saving faith….” ~ Philippians 3:8-11, AMP.

“If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” ~ John 7:17.

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: Humility of Mind

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” ~ Philippians 2:4-6.

Humility of mind is vital to one’s ability to empty oneself and obey God at all cost. By implication, I see that failing to humble self before God stems from the prideful desire to be God. It sets our desire over His, failing to surrender to His right over us as Creator-God, Savior, Lord, and King. Humility is a major issue in the human condition, being difficult for us to truly achieve apart from the work of the Spirit of God within us: leastwise, that is my experience. Even in times of appearing most humble, there is too often a self-centered motive involved:

False humility says, “If I allow them to lead (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), perhaps they will like me (self-centered motive).”

God-centered humility says, “I must allow them to lead (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because that is God’s will in this situation (God-centered motive).”

False humility says, “I must surrender to their ideal (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because I want the managerial position opening up (self-centered motive).”

God-centered humility says, “I must surrender to their ideal (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because I appreciate God giving me this job and I serve in this position, doing my best as unto the Lord (God-centered motive).”

True humility of mind forgets self, thinking only of God. It asks, “What is God’s heart desire? What is His will and way in this particular situation?” Note in our focal passage that, though humility “regards the interests of others as more important” than one’s own interests, that practice does not rule out times of one’s own interests taking precedence, as it says, “do not MERELY look out for your own interests.” This tells me that true humility of mind allows God to inspire a right system of prioritizing, so we know when to meet the need or desire of others, and when it is important to follow our own heart desire.

Following the lead of the Spirit to know the will and purpose and pleasure of God is the key to true humility. This humility before God is the ingredient that enables a wife to know when it is important to give self to a friend for the day despite the dishes in need of attention, and when it is important to remain faithful to the duties of homemaking so the needs of the family are met. Humility that allows God to be God is the practice that helps us to discern when our mate’s or child’s need for our undivided attention trumps our desire to read or to watch a favorite TV program, or when our physical need of destressing takes priority so we can have a right attitude toward meeting their need. Our humility is toward God, and that humility has a vital purpose in life:

“Do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” ~ James 4:5-10.

Promotion03The Spirit of God empowers true humility; therefore, God is jealous to find His Spirit active and effective within us. The benefits of this humility toward God that surrenders quickly and completely to the leading of His Spirit, allowing Him to be God in our lives, include:

  • The Spirit of God increased and effective in our lives.
  • Increased work of God’s grace in our lives.
  • Automatic resistance and victory over the devil / demonic / evil.
  • Greater nearness to God, increased experience of relationship with Him.
  • Deliverance from habits and acts of sin.
  • Singleness of mind, settled on eternal purpose, having one heart with God.
  • Possession of God’s heart: rejoicing in the things that cause God’s heart to rejoice; weeping over that which brings Him to tears.
  • Exaltation / promotion by God as part of the royal court of God’s Kingdom.

Humility before God removes the joy that our sin once brought – sin being anything that goes against Him as Lord and His desire and purpose for our lives. With this heart toward God, we grow to desire the experience of God in every area of life. Anything that pushes away from Him brings remorse and bitter weeping. Growing to love God more than any other selfish desire produces ever-increasing love and desire for more of Him. When we reach this point in our love relationship with God, we grow stronger in our ability to obey at all cost, desiring that nothing come between our God and us. Beloved, as the day of evil increases in the world, it is vital that we develop this humility so our love of God protects us.

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“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. …The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who really loves Me; and whoever really loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him” ~ John 14:15, 21, AMP.  (See also John 3:36; 1 Peter 4:17; 1 John 2:3-5 and Romans 6-8)

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: The Reason

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” ~ Philippians 2:9-11.

On our journey to discover the pathway to godly promotion, the words, “this reason,” beacon us to discern the reason mentioned for Christ’s promotion to the Name above all. Finding the answer and discovering the pathway to our own promotion requires we go backward in the passage from here. Doing so, first we look at the example of Christ that is the reason for His promotion.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” ~ 2:5-8.

Jesus had it all. He was in the Eternal, the Omnipotent, Omnipresent God, with full authority as God. He chose to leave the Eternal, coming into the limits of a flesh being so-as-to set the example and live the life that led to sacrifice for the eternal hope of all humankind. That journey led Him back to the eternal for all time, imparting to Him as Christ, the Son of God and man, the Name above every name as King of kings and Lord of lords. Simultaneous with Jesus’ promotion, God imparted to us the Way to Truth and Life Eternal in Christ.

Jesus began where He wanted to be, came willingly to where we are, then returned to the throne that was His all along, making a path for us to follow. Christ’s example points us to two things necessary for godly promotion:

  1. The emptying of self.
  2. The humbling of self to the point of obedience.

Jesus left His high position, emptying Himself of all He had and was, to come on our behalf as Christ, Savior and King. He calls we who are in this Beloved union through Christ to the same. “Emptying self” is the call of Christ found in Luke 9:23:

“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” ~ NASB.

We must do as Jesus did, denying self-interest in order to take up the cross of self-denial as exemplified in Christ. The Amplified version of this verse tells us that to deny oneself means to disown oneself by losing sight of self-interest and concern, laying down one’s own interests, to refuse and give up self-centered purposes. Denying oneself takes up God’s purpose, plan, will, and way as one’s own.

Then the Amplified Bible explains that we take up our cross as we follow Jesus, cleaving steadfastly to Him, conforming wholly to His example “in living and, if need be, in dying also.” To empty self is the mindset expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

The Persona of Pre-Jesus, described in our Philippians passage as One existing in the form of God, willingly chose to relinquish who He was and all He had in order to walk in human flesh as the promised Messiah—fully man, while rightly God. We follow His example by emptying self of our flesh man to take up His likeness in Spirit and in Truth. Emptying oneself lays down the person we think we are and desire to be in order to discover the person He destined us to be. It lays down our individual, selfish want and any claim on one’s own life in order to take up Jesus, give Him full reign, and allow Him to complete His work on earth through us. In so doing, we become the body of Christ. This is the humbling of self before Him to the point of obedience at any cost.

Promotion03God “WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation” ~ Romans 2:6-8.

Godly promotion requires dying to self-interest, humbling self to obey God, trusting Him to be God, lifting us up and taking us to higher ground in His way and on His timetable. He knows what our promotion in life looks like and what it will take on our part for us to get there. Note that Jesus received a type of promotion through a degree of renown in the earth that led to thousands following to see what he would do next. However, even the closest of His followers scattered and denied Him when He was taken into custody and only a little over 100 followers of Christ remained in that upper room after He bore His cross. The true promotion of Christ came to Him as He took His seat at the right hand of the Father in the Eternal.

We too readily work for a promotion we can see here and now, failing to focus on the treasure of Heaven. If our promotion is not what we expect, bringing hardship and challenge to us as it did to Jesus, Paul, and others of Bible times, we too readily fall away and quit working for the things of God. The heart of Jesus often hurt over those who turned away, but He did not view His success from a worldview. He saw with eternal eyes and trusted the will and way of God. God’s idea of promotion and prosperity is not worldly, but eternal.

Jesus set the example to show us the way to godly promotion through emptying of self and living humbly as servant of God, trusting all to Him. Next post we look at what God expects of us who would receive promotion.

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 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” ~ Matthew 6:19-21 (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

“If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on the earth” ~ Colossians 3:1-2, AMP.

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: Realizing Opportunity

“I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” ~ Philippians 1:19-20.

The Apostle Paul was, and still is, a big man in Christendom. He is the example of one who follows hard the example found in Christ, taking every opportunity to glorify the Lord, “whether by life or by death.” As we begin our study to find the heart-song of godly promotion, what better place to begin than with Paul. Promoted by God as the best-known apostle of Jesus Christ, his road to fame was full of opportunity, but not of ease.

Paul wrote 2/3s of what biblical scholars deemed worthy books to include in the New Testament portion of the most published historic chronicle of our day. The Holy Bible is the go to authority for those desiring to follow Christ Jesus as Lord; and Paul was the number one, exemplary leader in teaching the way of following Jesus.

Because of his heart for God, Paul was highly promoted by God, but not in the way that we too readily tend to look for it. Paul often wrote from a jail cell or while in chains as a prisoner awaiting trial. He often relied on financial supply from those supporting his work and never, to our knowledge, had great, earthly wealth. Not much of a promotion in this worlds standard of measure, is it? Yet even here, in this letter written during one of those imprisonments, we hear his heart as he speaks of seeing the place he was in as an opportunity to accomplish God’s purpose and plan. Later in Philippians, Paul writes of learning the secret of being content. The secret he professes is that of seeing every situation in life as opportunity to trust in, rely upon, and glorify the Lord as his source of strength and supply (Philippians 4).

Paul was so successful as a follower of Christ, taking every opportunity to bear witness of Him, that people were jealous of his success as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We see that in his testimony in chapter 1:12-15.

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will.”

Others, seeing Paul’s example of faith in God despite circumstance, received inspiration to take every opportunity to share their own testimony of faith in God through Christ. Paul tells us that some preached Christ out of envy, hoping to cause trouble for him, but that did not bother him as long as Christ received glory in their sharing (1:16-18). These preaching out of envy are a picture for us of those who desire promotion with an ungodly mindset. They do not have as their greatest desire the promotion of the cause of Christ. Instead, their greatest desire is to achieve the prestige they see in others. These may have made a name for themselves in the earth; we don’t know for sure as they are not named, but these are an example to us of promotion sought after from a wrong mindset and heart-song. These desire prestige for self rather than the furtherance of Christ.

On this journey we walk in Christ, our promotion may not look like a good thing when viewed from a world viewpoint. Promotion as the people of God’s Kingdom, stationed in this world as ambassadors of Christ, God’s Holy Priesthood, truly effects our Kingdom position and eternal reward. Promotion from God’s viewpoint requires that we recognize every opportunity to take a step up for the glory of God, even when it may lead to our own momentary discomfort. The promoted and successful in Christ follow God and His will, accomplishing Kingdom purpose at all cost, knowing He is our supply, being content where we are, with faith that God is working His plan in and through our lives.

Each step toward higher ground with God only goes up when taken with a right and true heart attitude. Success on the Promotion03journey requires we have a mind set to please God alone with a right heart attitude, so we successfully participate in His fulfilling eternal, Kingdom purpose.

Next post we begin the journey of discovering the reasons for Christ’s promotion and the instruction God gives us who are the called, equipped by Him to come up higher as His Kingdom representatives.

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“Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves” ~ AMP.

The Heart-Song of Godly Promotion: Introduction

“There is no security on this earth, only opportunity” ~ Neal Caffrey character on the TV program, White Collar.

Several weeks ago, reading Philippians, I noticed something that caught my attention in a deeper way. I noticed the example of Christ with new understanding. Mulling over these passages in these weeks, while finishing the study of life at God’s side, asking Father the direction He desires we go as we look at these verses, my heart landed on one word: Promotion.

“For this reason also, GOD HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and BESTOWED ON HIM THE NAME which is above every name” ~ Philippians 2:9 (read Philippians 1-2).

Promotion has long been a big word in this world. Many people desire to come up higher in life, be a recognizable Promotion03somebody, do something big, and find security in the journey. More and more in the Christian community that one word rises up within bodies of believers. Many Christians watch for their promotion to higher ground in every area of life. They work toward it, long for it, some with undying resolve, others stumbling away from faith when their expectations go unfulfilled.

As I look at the example of Christ and think of the example of Paul, the author who penned the Philippians letter, I wonder if we are looking for promotion in all the wrong places and all the wrong faces. In light of the understanding flowing to me as I ponder these truths, “There is no security on this earth, only opportunity,” resounds with a wisdom that humbles me.

As I consider this saying from a secular crime show in light of the spiritual wisdom unfolding to my heart from God’s word, I can only hope and pray to write these thoughts with a clarity that helps us all to know the true prosperity God desires for us. As we share together this journey to discovering “this reason” that brings promotion, feasting on these words we will cover in Philippians, I pray we each desire and find the promotions in life that come from God alone.