1Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (KJV).
In the Kingdom, it is not about earning a position; it is about being faithful with the one you already have, so God is able to promote you to the next one. The problem lies with those who want the promotion without performance in their current position. They say they will be faithful with a new position, but their performance in their current one proves that a false statement. How many carry out their duties in a mediocre fashion, yet are upset when they do not get the position that requires excellence? It is amusing to see people whose performance is sub par, but expect a raise or to be moved up the ladder anyway. It actually shows a lack of integrity when people fail to be faithful with the “smallest” of things. If a person does not have integrity, how can God promote him to a position that requires great integrity?
This statement is good to remember: character matters! The first thing God examines is the heart, and that is where He determines the qualifications. Talent has little to do with it. Think about it: God gave us our talents, and it is important the way we use them. We have seen over the years that History repeats itself. Many have come and gone with great abilities, but had no character, which in turn led to ruin. There are numerous examples in the Bible of those who started out well, but ended badly. In modern history, how many companies have come to ruin because of those in leadership had no honor? They were loaded with talent, but when they got into positions of authority, they lent their talent to unrighteous behavior, which led to the demise of other people’s livelihood as well. With promotion comes responsibility, especially because it affects other people as well. A person with great nobility and little talent is more reliable than one who has great talent and no nobility. You can at least trust the former, while the latter is questionable at best. Faithfulness and righteousness go hand in hand, and those who despise righteousness will not be found faithful. Favor is found with the righteous: “For Thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield” (Psalms 5:12, KJV).
There are those who have an excellent spirit, but have yet to be proven. They have not demonstrated they have the capacity to operate at a higher level, simply because of the lack of time in service. As we will see this is not a cut and dry issue. For example, most people begin with an excellent attitude when they first start out, but for some that changes with time. In a matter of days or weeks, their wonderful attitude moves out and a lousy one moves in. Once that happens their performance plummets and they become unreliable or at best mediocre. Their “excellent spirit” is not so excellent after all. Nonetheless, there are those who truly have an excellent spirit, but they must go through the fire before they go to the next level. Promotion requires process. James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (KJV). If God does not take us through trials, we will not be prepared to handle the more difficult things of the next level. It pays not to push for promotions; wait on the Lord. When a person is being tried, that trial is for other people’s benefit as well. For one thing, faithfulness through the “thick and thin” testifies of the goodness of God. It may cause those who do not yet know Him to want a relationship with Him. Secondly, your trials actually encourage others to press on when they face their own. “If they can endure, I can endure.” Thirdly, people gravitate to those they know who have already been tested. It is easier to follow someone proven over time than a novice. There is a sense of trust that accompanies experience. Face it; people love confident leaders. Those who endure to the end grow to be confident in the One Who dwells in them, and that is the best confidence to have. With fire comes purity, and with purity faithfulness.
Psalms 75:6-7 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another (KJV).
It can be a frustrating thing when a person believes he is in line for a promotion and does not get one. Adding insult to injury would be getting bypassed for advancement by someone who was lower on the proverbial latter. How many right now are waiting for a promotion that does not seem any closer than the first day they started their current position? Likewise, how many are waiting for a promise from God come to fruition that still appears to be in the far distance? When we see others promoted it would be easy to protest, “Where is mine?” Perhaps the problem lies with one’s definition of promotion. It may be time to rethink that one, especially if one claims to be a follower of Jesus. Sometimes people have been promoted without realizing it, which goes back to how they define what that means. Secondly, it may serve people well to ask themselves why they think they deserve one. There is more to promotion than “deserving it.” This leads to a third question: how do you define “deserve?”
For the believer, promotion comes from God, which means it would be a good idea to find out how He defines that word and what His criteria is for advancing people up the latter. Jesus is our Ultimate Example of how it really works in the Kingdom. As we examine His example, we will also find definition. Philippians 2:3-11 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name: That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (KJV). Jesus actually took a demotion, which led to His promotion. While being equal with God the Father, He humbled Himself before Him and gave up His rightful position in order to serve and save us. He maintained that position of humility through the Cross and Resurrection. He did not demand the Promotion that He did indeed deserve; He allowed the Father to exalt Him. While being the Author and Finisher of our faith, He is the Author and Finisher of true faithfulness as well. From being born in a manger and through out His entire earthly ministry, He was faithful with everything the Father desired of Him. Even now, Jesus still serves and saves by with the will of the Father.
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (KJV). Many say they want to follow Jesus, but when the rubber meets the road how many actually do? It is one thing to say a prayer at the altar and call oneself a Christian, but it is another to be a true disciple of Christ. The question to ask our selves in the mirror is, “Am I a true disciple?” If you go where Jesus goes, you will be promoted. If you go somewhere else, you are in line for a demotion. Sometimes a demotion is a promotion in the Kingdom. In order reach certain people, we may need to go where no one else desires to go. That may include taking a “lower position” in order to serve someone in a “higher position” (or any position for that matter). In many cases, the servant gets closest to the one who holds the position or title (presidents, kings, CEOs, stars, etc.). For example, Joseph had to become a slave and a prisoner in order to have an audience with Pharaoh. He served well in both positions and was promoted to the highest position in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. He did not serve for advancement; he served out of faithfulness to God. It did not look like Joseph would see the promises of God fulfilled when his brothers sold him into slavery. That unfair act led to the salvation of the entire nation of Israel (read Genesis 37-50). Truthfully, it is the soul of the individual that matters to God, and not the title or position. That means it is just as important to go to the “nobody” as it is to the “somebody.” The bottom line is that we go where Jesus sends us, without having respect of persons. He rewards us according to our faithfulness to Him, regardless of what we think is important.
The trouble for some is that when they feel fearful they go to Dr. Fear for counsel. They want him to confirm what they feel is real and what they think could happen, will happen. The doctor loves to prescribe a bottle of what-ifs, and then try to get his patients to ingest all of them at one time in hopes they will overdose. For a number of people, Dr. Fear was their pediatrician. Their parents took them to their first visit and they have been going to him ever since. When he is busy, he loves to refer patients to Dr. Doubt. They both work against the Word of God by trying to inoculate people from the effects it could have in their life.
When Christians come into the Kingdom, they are suppose to change physicians, so they can become believers. The problem is they are too comfortable with the old one. They are well acquainted with his ways. If they became acquainted with the new Physician, they would have fewer problems with fear. If they become intimate with Him and His ways, fear would have no place in their lives and Dr. Fear would have to close his office due to lack of business.
Colossians 2:12-15 Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (KJV). Fear has no more power than what you give it. It has been made powerless because Jesus stripped the enemy all of his authority. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, fear being one of them (see 1John 3:8). The devil has no power over the believer. The only thing he can do is get the believer to agree with him. By making suggestions through various ways, he tricks the Christian into making a wrong confession, so his words gain power through the authority a believer has. While we will not cover the ins and outs of confession and everyday conversation, remember: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21, KJV). Secondly, if the enemy can influence a person to think a certain way, he will respond accordingly. For some, fearful thinking is their default mindset; therefore, they will create an environment that feeds off fear. They open the bottle of what-ifs and start swallowing. It is time to throw that bottle down the toilet and flush. There is no such thing as “what if” in the Kingdom of God. However, if a person insists on playing “the what if game,” perhaps change the negative what-ifs to faith-filled ones. For example, “What if God’s Word is really true?” Even this question reveals that there are no “what-ifs” in the Kingdom because God’s Word is true, no question.
Dr. Fear has many MOs (modus operandi), so we will only address a few. These should help bring clarity to methods he employs. Keep in mind, he loves to lie and he is big on elusions. He will try to use your past against your present. Dr. Fear loves to take past hurts and failures and project them into your current situation. He will remind you of similar past circumstances and try to convince you it is the same now as before. Have you ever found yourself say, “Here we go again?” “Nothing ever changes.” The elusion is that you are stuck in the past. The scheme is to get you fear the present and lose all hope. If there is no hope, there is no faith, since faith is the evidence of things hoped for (see Hebrews 11:1). There are times the Father will allow circumstances to mirror the past in order to bring up a hurt that needs healing. In the process, He reveals the hurt, addresses any un-forgiveness issues, and brings us to ultimate goal of healing. The Father’s endgame it to bring us into deeper walk with Him, not make us afraid of our present.
In the realm of works of the Spirit, Dr. Fear says, “If you don’t do, it will not get done.” The idea is to get us to move from faith to dead works of the flesh. Everything that begins in the Spirit is supposed to remain in the Spirit (see Galatians 3:1-9). Therefore, God fulfills His promises to us as we walk in the Spirit. If the doctor can counsel us to try to bring them to pass in our own strength, he will succeed in moving us farther away from the promise. Roman 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (KJV). Anything we do in relation to the promise is a question of listening and obeying. We do not have to try to come up with some method of success. Likewise, our righteousness is maintained by faith in Jesus; it is not doing works of self-righteousness. Our sanctification is by the Blood and the Spirit. Therefore, we maintain right standing with God through faith.
The Word of God works brilliantly against fear. We should always take counsel with God and trust what He has to say to us. We agree with Him and declare what He says over our circumstances. In so doing, we encourage ourselves in the Lord. Our greatest asset in combating fear is love. 1 John 4:17-18 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love (KJV). Fear has no chance at survival in the presence of Love, since God is Love. Galatians 5:6 tells us faith works by love; therefore, as we walk in love we are assured of victory in every area of our life. The more we walk in love the more we walk by faith.
Editors note: two great resources for this topic are “The Art Of Blessing” and “The Faith Of Jesus In The Life Of The Believer (His Faith, Not Ours),” by Curt Klingerman.
There is a collision between what people hold to be true and what is Truth taking place. Ultimately, Truth prevails in the end. In order for Truth to now succeed in individual lives, there has to be a willingness to embrace it. The challenge for many is having their belief system challenged by the Truth. They are comfortable with what they hold to be true; therefore, anything that begs to differ with their belief system agitates them. They will ardently defend their “precious treasure” until the end. With walls of pride in place, they refuse to budge from their position, even if their position has no sure foundation. This refusal to engage the Truth prevents the Light of Day to penetrate their dark fortress. Self-deception has them locked away in their dungeon. Ironically, the very Key required to unlock the iron gates is the very thing they refuse: Truth!
In order to walk in the freedom God intended for people to have, which is what their souls actually crave, they need to swim in His Truth. They must allow the Word of God to wash over them (see Ephesians 5:25-27). They need to drink in His precious Word because it is life giving. Jesus said, “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32, KJV). He also said, “He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified) (John 7:38-39, KJV). Without Truth, there is no freedom, only bondage.
For centuries human beings have gone on quests to discover their “true selves.” As long as they go it alone, apart from God, they will never know their true identity. In order to know one’s self accurately, one has to know God. Since we are made in the image God, though that image may be disfigured by sin, we need to know what the Original looks like in order to see the true image. The Truth unveils our true identity. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (see John 14:6), and our identity is found in Him. The more we conform to His Image, the more we recognize our design.
In Jesus, you are free to be yourself. You do not have to be bogged down with the weight of the world nor lost in sin. The world can no longer dictate “who you are” by its standards. You will discover you are uniquely made to have a relationship with the Father that no other person can have besides you. You are His favorite. Because God is your Father, you are royalty. Because He is your Maker, you are fearfully and wonderfully made (see Psalm 139:14). God is Wonderful and He only makes things wonderful. Because He is Wonderful, you are wonderful. Confusion comes when you believe the lies of the world spoken over you. It sounds prideful to say, “I am wonderfully made.” However, it is arrogant to say something about yourself that is contrary to what God says, don’t you think? Since God made you amazing, you do not have to make yourself amazing. Since it is God Who completes the work, you only need to submit to His working in your life (see Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 1:6). It is not up to you to mold yourself into His image; He does that. His Truth will shape the way you think. Let what you hold to be true collide with the Truth. The only thing that survives that collision is His Truth. There won’t even be any fragments of falsehood to pick up. It will be totally obliterated.
Remember, For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16, KJV). We love Him because He first loved us (see 1John 4:19). This is important because it means you did not and cannot earn His love. You are important because He said so. For some, that Truth will eradicate self-esteem issues if they simply believe.