“SELF-PRAISE,” says an ancient adage, “smells bad.” In other words, it stinks up the works.
God says He hates “haughty eyes” (Proverbs 6:17). He calls a proud heart “sin” (Proverbs 21:4). He says if praise is going to be directed your way, “Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth” (Proverbs 27:2). The apostle Paul, who had much to brag about, drove home the message with these words:
If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
There is no greater deception than self-deception. It is a tragic trap laid for everyone, but especially vulnerable are those who have achieved . . . and start reading their own clippings the next morning.
Here’s my advice based on three of the lessons I’ve learned about the futility of self-promotion:
1. Get a good education—but get over it. Dig in and pay the price for solid, challenging years in school, and apply your education with all your ability, but please spare others from the tiring reminders of how honored they should feel in your presence. No one cares about your GPA.
2. Reach the maximum of your potential—but don’t talk about it. Keep uppermost in your mind the plain truth about yourself: you must put your pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else.
3. Walk devotedly with God—but don’t try to look like it. If you are genuine in your depth of devotion to God, you won’t have to put it on display or try to make it known. People will be drawn to your piety and encouraged by it. Phony piety is a turnoff.
Instead of promoting yourself, promote the One who gave you your talents and abilities.