Summary: Growing in Christ.
Preparation For Promotion Part 1: Test of Trust
Ephesians 4:13-15 “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (NIV)
This will be our foundational Scripture in this series. In these verses, it is clear that we are expected to grow in Christ and with that growth become more stable, not being tossed around with every storm that will come our way. So in this series I will focus on your “promotion”, where you come to be mature, leaving your infant stage behind. The title of this series is “Preparation for Promotion.” How many of you are aware that God has a desire to “promote” you? Well in case you did not know, He does. In this series we will cover several “tests” that you will face as you are being groomed for your promotion. But I want to make one thing perfectly clear – the promotion that God has for you is for you and you only. God’s promotion is nothing like the promotions we receive on our jobs where we are competing against everyone else. In those situations “the best man or woman” may or may not get the promotion depending on the circumstances and what is going on in that environment. However, with God’s promotion, the promotion is already yours. No one else can do what God has planned for you. You are currently in the preparatory stage getting ready for the promotion. When you are ready, God will promote you. The other thing to keep in mind is that our promotions will be private. Others will see after we have begun to operate differently, but there will be no emails, large announcements or publications from God detailing our “new position”. This will be between God and us individually. Finally you may not see it coming. One day you will notice that you are acting different from your past – more confidence, assurance and understanding about things happening in your life. But eventually you and others will see that you have been “promoted”.
Webster’s dictionary defines promote as “to raise to a higher position or rank; and to further the growth or establishment of.” The second part of the definition says that to promote someone or some thing means to “further the growth or establishment of.” Not only does God desire to bring us into a position of increased responsibility based on our willingness and desire to serve Him, He is also focused on our continued growth and establishment as we are moving towards the place He has for us. When I think of how He does this, Proverbs 18:16 comes to mind. In this verse, Solomon says that “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” One interpretation of what Solomon was referencing pertained to a bribe and how people can bribe their way into the presence of someone greater than themselves. However, I want you to look a little deeper at this. Everything that God has placed within us is for the body of Christ. Whatever our talents, gifts and abilities, we are to use them to further His Kingdom. When God is actively promoting us, one of the things that He does is bring us into the presence of others where our gifts can be utilized and sometimes even appreciated.
When we use our gifts and talents to help others, they become a gift to the person on the receiving end. Think about Oral Roberts or someone like TD Jakes. Their ministry gifts and what they have accomplished opens a lot of doors for them, especially Oral Roberts. Although he has counseled several presidents, it was the gifts that God placed within him that he fully utilized that opened the doors. When you are willing to use your gifts for God, He will be like a “promoter” for you, making sure you receive the opportunity to use your gifts. That is one of the definitions of “promote”, having someone pushing you forward. In this message I will not focus on God promoting us to others like an agent does, but what God desires to do within us to bring us to a higher, stronger, place with Him.
So let’s look at the first part of the definition promote. It says to promote means “to raise to a higher position or rank.” It is something that is earned or given to you based on your accomplishments. For example, one promotion that we all have in common is being promoted while in school. I remember when I was in elementary school we all thought you got promoted based on whether or not the teacher liked you on the last day of school. So on the last day when we would find out if we were promoted, everyone would sit quietly at our desks trying to make sure the teacher liked us. One day a teacher explained to us that it was not how we acted that day that would decide if we got promoted, but the grades we got all during the year. My point is this, in order to move from one grade to another, you had to do the work and you had to pass the tests. If you did not pass enough tests to show that you had learned what you were supposed to, then you would fail and have to repeat the grade again. If you did the work and demonstrated that you were competent in the grade, you would go to the next higher grade. The important thing to remember is that you could not get promoted unless you learned what you were supposed to learn. Why does this work this way? As you move up in grades, the lessons become harder because they are taking you to the next level. Every time you got promoted to another grade, the expectation was that you had learned the information from the previous grade and you were ready to continue that learning in your new grade.