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Promoted for a Purpose

The Purpose of Promotion

God is a perfect Father who desires to bless His children, Bill Johnson says, and does so when we demonstrate the heart and maturity to handle those blessings, or “promotion” well. “What does it look like when significance is carried well?  God is glorified, we are strengthened, and the people around us benefit,” he explains. He also gets at the root purpose of promotion: “The Bible is so much more than a book of principles that I can mimic to be successful. It is by nature an invitation to walk with the author.” Along with that idea, Bill introduces a concept he calls “reigning in life,” which he defines as “succeeding in a way that glorifies God through the realized effect of the death and resurrection of Christ.” He says that reigning is often misunderstood, because of modern notions of royalty. By the word reign he does not mean self-exaltation, but rather, “living according to the plan, purpose, and design of God.” He believes that when we live according to God’s plan we also find our greatest joy. One of his favorite things to say, which expresses that idea, is: “If you knew who God made you to be, you would never want to be anyone else.” To that Bill adds, “Every assignment in life is an invitation to excellence, creativity, and integrity. These are the hallmarks of achievement for the believer; they truly express the wisdom of God. The external parts of life are only window dressing. To live wisely is to reign in life.”   

The Process of Promotion

God promotes His children, Bill says, according to their willingness to give honor and loyalty. "The fullness of our lives is not measured in what we have. It’s measured in what we’ve given away. And one of the greatest gifts any of us could give is honor.” In everything from following the fifth commandment to honor one’s father and mother, to honoring those in need through the giving of time, talent, and treasure, to honoring unbelievers by sharing the gospel with them, Bill says we honor God when we honor one another. Loyalty is another key to promotion, he states, recounting his own father’s fierce loyalty to his church family. He says that a person isn’t ready for the responsibility that comes with promotion until he’s proven loyal to authority. “Many don’t realize this as they aspire to new positions of leadership, to new places of service in the body of Christ, or even the community. But because they have not dealt with their underlying attitudes and issues toward authority they don’t realize that God keeps pressing them down and will not give them the promotion.”  

Bill explains that God also uses trials to prepare people for promotion, like disappointment, loss, rejection, criticism, and betrayal, through which He can produce godly character. He points to David in the Bible, who suffered greatly at the hands of Saul. “They (trials) became the potter’s hands that shaped David, the man with a right heart, into the greatest king in Israel’s history. What all of us would have rejected and renounced became the back door for promotion.”

Peril of Promotion

Solomon is the ultimate example from Scripture of what Bill calls, “the peril of promotion.” The Lord had blessed him in more ways than he could have imagined, for the good of Israel, and in response to his humility and obedience. However, with all the blessing and favor or God came the temptation for pride. “The blessing of the Lord breeds entitlement in the people of God if they don’t remain humble and practice discipline.” In the case of Solomon, Bill says, ”He led Israel into their greatest season of significance and influence.  He then tragically brought them into bondage that would take multiple generations to remove.”  

In addition to being wary of pride, Bill also says we must manage our inner world of thoughts and emotions in order to rightly handle promotion. Striving to maintain genuine faith, humility, and purity of heart and mind are essential to our outward behavior, he believes. “Jesus always addressed matters of the heart. That’s the place from which our lives are lived. It’s the basic reason that material things are a poor thermometer for measuring our spirituality.”   

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