“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” – Prov 27:2

The movie Air takes you inside the early days of Nike and tells a marketing story that has become a cornerstone of the modern sports era. How does a person transcend to a brand? Michael Jordan’s success story, which glamorizes the box-breaking power of believing in yourself, has set a standard not just for sports, but for every industry.

In a world of increasingly automated tasks, people are searching for a way to demonstrate value, and we are told that the answer is found within. Not in a cultivation of character, virtue, or skills, but in the passionate promotion of self. It hardly matters what you’re doing, the question is can you look good doing it? The Bible would lead us another way.

Jesus shows remarkable, almost baffling restraint in how he talks about himself, considering he is the only hope for humanity. He shrinks from self-glorification so thoroughly that his circumlocutions in the gospels form a theme called the Messianic Secret. “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing,” Jesus says. (Jn 8:54)

Like all wisdom principles, we must resist universals. When shaping a resume, humility is not writing one line: “just talk to my boss.” There are times you must speak up for yourself. God wants his people to walk with confidence. But the pitfall of excessive deference is a rare one. Timid people usually have more roundabout ways of virtue-signaling.

This proverb feels more archaic in the internet age but is perhaps all the more important. An increasing number of jobs fall into the model of self-employed, independent contractor. Self-promotion, therefore, becomes part of your job description. The lines between personal and business are thinner than one generation ago. More people feel the temptation to “never turn it off,” because your next big opportunity could be one conversation away.

We are not actually so far removed. In Solomon’s time, people lived on farming estates or in small towns, where everyone knew each other. Your personal integrity and business credibility were one and the same. The impulse today, though, is not toward building trustworthiness, but brand recognition.

We want the shortcut to success, not meaningful longevity. If we’re honest, most of us are tormented by the fear that, “If I don’t publicize who I am, no one will know, and I’ll never become what I could have been.” God knows. From what I have observed, those who pour their energy into self-marketing usually achieve results, but always at the expense of substance. Their best efforts are consumed in mastering the art of platform construction so that they have very little to say when they get on the platform.

God has a different way of reckoning impact that we should try to mold our minds to: “Many are first who will be last, and last who will be first” (Mt 19:30). It’s funny how quality seldom remains a secret. Make Jesus your focus and let him worry about your reputation.

Read More 

Might Will Not Make Right

Might Will Not Make Right

“Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.” - Proverbs 3:31-32 A school bully conjures up many feelings, but envy is not typically one of them. Why...

Good People Get Good Things

Good People Get Good Things

“For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.” - Proverbs 2:21-22 As a child, I loved watching superhero cartoons, but adults often find...

Politicians Are Not Jesus

Politicians Are Not Jesus

Rumblings about a second American Civil War have grown louder. People confine themselves to dark allusions, for fear of naming it into existence. Yet one can hardly fail to notice the widening political chasm. Crossing the aisle today looks like a tightrope across...

Prepping for the Impending Apocalypse

Prepping for the Impending Apocalypse

“Are you the right person to write this article?” was the feedback I’ve been chewing on for several weeks now. In one sense, obviously not. Unlike some neighbors on my street, I don’t have a chicken coop or an imposing beard. I’ve never been hunting. I can barely keep...

Leave a comment.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DON'T MISS ANYTHING!

DON'T MISS ANYTHING!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest content.

You have successfully subscribed!