In church yesterday the pastor’s sermon was entitled True Humility and he spoke about David’s interactions with King Saul and how he did not try to steal the crown away from the king, because Saul was God’s anointed. Even though at one point God’s spirit left Saul and came upon David—the young man and future king, did not rush God’s plan through his own devices; but rather waited patiently for the Lord’s perfect timing. Talk about an awe-inspiring moment! That sermon hit me in the gut.

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As authors we love to write and that means if we want to continue to write—and get paid for it—we need to have an audience. How do we get that audience? In a nutshell: we need to continue to write books, brand our name and market and market and market. Sounds like loads of fun, right! So, what is a Christian author supposed to do?

We’re taught by God’s Word that humility as a believer is a high priority on God’s list. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (I Peter 5:5 NIV) Okay, so God wants me to be humble, but that is the antithesis of what I’ve been taught to do as an author in promoting myself and my books. Is it possible to be both humble and proud at the same time? How can a Christian author market his or her books in a way that glorifies God and doesn’t bring glory to him or herself?  This is a question that has plagued my mind for some time now and this recent sermon at church brought it squarely into focus again.

I’ve learned that God wants us to be in step with Him—not two steps in front and not two steps behind. Of course this is not always easy and we’re human so we (me included) falter many times. However, God never said we had to do this life journey alone. He has provided His Holy Spirit to be our guide and His Word is a light unto our path. Once we realize that following God’s plan will benefit us in the end, it’s easier to let go of our own desires and follow after Him. If you’d like to find out more about my own personal journey and why I almost gave up writing, please check out this post: What's Your Reason to Write?

Now, humility for the Christian means we are giving credit to God for all of our accomplishments and acknowledge Him as Lord over our lives. Sounds simple, but our pride many times gets in the way and this is especially tricky for an author or someone else who needs to promote self for career advancement. When you start to believe in your own power towards achieving success, you are heading down the wrong road. Pride goes before a fall. However, that’s where God comes into the picture as mentioned in I Peter 5:5—when walking in humility, God won’t oppose you, but He’ll shower you with His grace and favor. Now who wouldn’t want that? I know I’d prefer God’s umbrella over me rather than His opposition.

David was content to leave both promotion and demotion to God. He didn’t worry about when he was going to advance to be king. He was at peace leaving his advancement to God’s timing. Yes, David was human, so I’m sure he had his moments of doubt and indecision—like when he snuck up behind King Saul in the cave and cut off a piece of his royal robe. True, he denied his men the many chances to kill Saul, but even cutting off the piece of his robe caused him pain because he knew Saul was still God’s anointed. If only we all could experience such a check in conscience when we walk in offense towards God—but each day is a new day and God is a God of second chances. Amen to that!

In God’s perspective, we only get to the top of the ladder by helping others up before ourselves. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Usually I prefer reading the New King James Version of the Bible, but this verse pastor read from The Message version really hit home. “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” (Phil. 2:3) Since 2010 when I really started promoting my books, I started out with a perspective of doing unto others as I would have done to me. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back, but just to share part of my journey.

To me it made sense to help other authors get promotion because one day, maybe they’d help me when I needed it. I started my website and blog about 6 – 8 months before my second book came out. My first was published years ago and then I got sidetracked with life and did not writing anything new and slacked off majorly in the promotion department. So, while I was trying to build up my platform and gain followers—again, I hate saying this word because it goes against the grain of trying to live in humility!!—I figured no one wanted to hear about little ol’ me. That’s when the brainstorm came that if I promote other authors it would be a win-win situation. I’d get FREE content for my blog and they’d get FREE publicity.

It’s been wonderful because the situation worked out beautifully for all involved and I’ve made some good friends alone the way—many who have reciprocated with free publicity for me. I truly believe that two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. (Ecc. 4:9-10)

I believe it is possible to live in the limelight without becoming a glory hog—but you can only accomplish this with God’s daily help. If you think you can remain humble in the limelight on your own terms, you’ll be mistaken and will take a hard fall.

Wouldn’t you rather trust God to open up doors of opportunity for you that are exceedingly abundantly above all that [you] ask or imagine according to the power [Christ] that works in [you] (Eph. 3:20)? Isn’t it better to walk in step with God’s perfect timing and specific plan for your life? Don’t you think a God promotion is so much better than a God demotion? Can you imagine living under the umbrella of God’s unfailing favor and grace every day?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this subject and how you’ve dealt with it…


 
 
Our church is taking the E100 Challenge. What is this challenge? It’s a great way to read through the Bible—the challenge takes 50 passages from the Old Testament and 50 passages from the New Testament. This gives you an overview of the Bible and gets you into the habit of daily reading so hopefully by the time you finish the 100 day challenge, you’ll be hungry for more of God’s Word—and can participate in the E101 Challenge and beyond.

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My husband and I are taking this challenge. We’ve been doing devotions together last year, but have missed a few days and then sometimes had a hard time getting back on track with reading the Bible again. By taking part in this challenge—with everyone from our church—we feel that we’ll be better disciplined to get the readings done each day and form the necessary habit of daily Bible reading.

You can visit here for more information on the organization that created this challenge: Scripture Union. If you decide to take part in this challenge, they also have a guidebook available, which is great; especially if you’ll be reviewing this study with your small group. If not, they have the small reading guide which is a daily / punch-out card.

You can find more information about the E100 Challenge and get updates at: E100 Blog. For those participating, you can also follow them here: Find the E100 Challenge on Facebook. If you’re interested in taking this challenge, visit: Take the E100 Challenge today.

My husband and I have always found that having a devotional time together is great for strengthening our marriage and our walks with the Lord, both individually and as a couple. We do this E100 Challenge in the morning and at night, we’ve started the devotional: The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker. Do you have any specific plans for a devotional time with the Lord for 2012? 


 
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