Can a Demotion Be Good? (Y1.T1.D26) - Extra
Unsplash; "Dallas Reedy"
Even though we know Jesus told us, "The last will be first, and the first last" (Matthew 20:16), it’s easier to celebrate promotions over demotions in our life.
But what if demotions are just as good as promotions. Maybe even better?
Demotions can be good.
They can serve to remind us of our role related to Christ. John the Baptist is a great example. He went from being an acclaimed prophet to a condemned prisoner. This humble man was well-known—his popularity caused many to follow after him. Before he was arrested, his disciples noticed Jesus was starting to usurp their leader. “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, he baptizes, and everyone is coming to him” (John 3:26).
These disciples didn’t want the work their hero—John—had accomplished to be taken from him.
But John didn't see it that way. He told his followers, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven” (John 3:27). This meant Jesus could not do the things he was doing unless God allowed it. And it meant God allowed John’s demotion as well.
It’s hard to consider the pain in our lives to be a gift from God, but we can learn from John. This man might have known his purpose since he lept in his Mother's womb. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but once he was old enough for cognition, he'd worked his whole life accepting the day he would be demoted, stating, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Job said it this way, “Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked will I return there. Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away. Blessed be Yahweh’s name” (Job 1:21). And after Satan continued to attack him, his wife said to him, “Do you still maintain your integrity? Renounce God, and die” (Job 2:9).
Job then responded, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10).
When we choose to give our lives to God we have the advantage of celebrating everything that comes our way; this includes demotions as well as promotions. Remember, “All things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
In fact, the more we recognize that great things come when we place our deepest desires on the altar of God's love for us, the easier it is for us to "Count it all joy" (James 1:2). What recent demotions has God allowed in your life? Ready to celebrate?
This Life Is Not about Me
22 After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them and baptized. (John 3:22)
1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples), (John 4:1–2)
23 John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized; 24 for John was not yet thrown into prison. 25 Therefore a dispute arose on the part of John’s disciples with some Jews about purification. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, he baptizes, and everyone is coming to him.”
27 John answered, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. 33 He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. 36 One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:23–36)
19 but Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things which Herod had done, (Luke 3:19)
20 added this also to them all, that he shut up John in prison. (Luke 3:20)
21 “If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is an impurity. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They shall be childless.” (Leviticus 20:21)
5 When he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. (Matthew 14:5)
14b preaching the Good News of God’s Kingdom, (Mark 1:14b)
13 Leaving Nazareth, he came and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, (Matthew 4:13–14)
1a But there shall be no more gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time, he brought into contempt (Isaiah 9:1a)
17 From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and God’s Kingdom is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News.” (Mark 1:15)
4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander to the peoples. 5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you don’t know; and a nation that didn’t know you shall run to you, because of Yahweh your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he has glorified you.” (Isaiah 55:4–5)
2 When pride comes, then comes shame, but with humility comes wisdom. 3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them, but the perverseness of the treacherous shall destroy them. (Proverbs 11:2–3)
Thank You for my current position in life. Give me the humility that comes from wisdom rather than the pride that brings shame (Proverbs 11:2). Help me not to think of myself more highly than I ought to think; but reasonably, as You have apportioned my measure of faith (Romans 12:3). I don't want to do anything through rivalry or conceit but humbly, counting others better than myself. Help me not just look at my own things but also the things of others (Philippians 2:3–4). I can’t do this of my own strength so give me a portion of Yours.
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