Friday, August 26, 2011
It only takes about three followers on twitter to become a punk.Many endeavors in this life require endless self-promotion. Smart people generally realize pretty early on that doing something well is not enough - they have to make sure people see them do things well. And then it becomes very hard to separate the promotion from the reality.
But when you get a few followers on Twitter or start a blog or open a facebook account, something weird happens – you get a platform.
The problem is that platforms are such great places to “perform” from. It’s easy to just be you when no one is watching but on a platform there’s a great temptation to manufacture the best version of you. For a while, I wasn’t that concerned about it until I saw something in a familiar verse that I’d never noticed before.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about his famous “thorn in the flesh.” I say famous because it’s practically Christian law that you have to assume his thorn was also the exact same thing you struggle with personally. We’ve all read those verses, but what I missed was the reason Paul said he had the thorn in the flesh. Here’s what 2 Corinthians 12:7 says:
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”
That is terrifying.
Paul just said that in order to keep him from becoming conceited God allowed a messenger of Satan to torment him. Conceit is so high on the list of things God is against that would sooner have Paul tormented by a messenger of Satan. Of the two, judo chop by Satan’s minion or Paul becomes conceited, God went with the judo chop.
I have to admit to not being good at this stuff, hence I engage in almost no self-promotion. The result is that I get told, from time-to-time that I am very good at this stuff, but.... And yet I look at my business and it has become a success through years of doing good work, word has spread - certainly not world wide, but through enough of a network to allow me to make a very comfortable living.
Do I have a "thorn in the flesh?" Oh yeah, several of them - hate them - try very hard to steer clear of them. They tend not to engage unless I get too puffed up.
The best way I have found to avoid this trap, aside from a lot of prayer - and that is a dangerous thing since God's answer to prayers for humility is to engage the thorn, is to focus on the work. Don't worry about followers, believers, "likes" or any of the rest of it. Just focus on the work. Is it right? Is it true? IS it uplifting?
So, the next time you want to count friends or hits, maybe you should proofread that post, or look up an additional reference.