When I was a young soldier, the people I tried to impress most were my raters. After all, they controlled my career, or so I thought. Although I was a Christian, I had adopted the world’s view about success and promotion. My prayer to God was “Bless me, Lord.” It should have been, “Lord, help me serve you by blessing others. I leave the promotions to you.”
“For exaltation comes neither from the east, nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another,” (Psalm 75:6-7, NKJV).
In my early years I was promoted on time, and sometimes even early. I thought I earned it because my leaders often praised me. Hearing them call those not selected for promotion “duds” reinforced this attitude, and I resolved never to be seen as a dud. This set me up for a lot of pain and struggle later.
Moving through the junior NCO ranks, I often compared myself to my peers to see if I was among the best. I received good ratings, scored well on tests and was called a model soldier. This fed my pride. However, my journey towards humility began when I was not selected for early promotion to E-7. I was angry and jealous, but certain I’d be promoted the next year. God, on the other hand, was more interested in my heart than in my career. He withheld my promotion the next year also. Indeed, I learned that “He puts down one, and exalts another.”
As painful as not being selected was, it was the kindest thing God could have done for me then. The Holy Spirit began to teach me that whatever I did, I should work heartily as for the Lord, rather than for my career, and the Lord would reward me. As I compared my work ethic and motivation with this passage, I realized I needed to seek God’s forgiveness and help.
After not being selected yet again the following year, I finally resolved in my heart, not just my mind, that by His grace and strength, I’d do my best to serve my country while I served my God, whether I got promoted or not. Jesus taught me to be content in all circumstances and that I could do all things through His strength.
How about you? Are you doing your work to gain approval from others and get yourself promoted? Or do you serve God, trusting Him to raise you up at the proper time and in the proper way?
The content of this article comes from “The Warrior’s Bible” (2014) and is copyrighted by Life Publishers International. Used with permission.