I Got Into A Fight

I’m not much of a fighter. Yes, I have a punching bag in my basement, and yes I sing the “Rocky” theme song when I punch it, but in general I’m not a fighter. In high school, I never got into fights. Of course that was because I was home schooled, but if I had been in public school I don’t think I would have gotten into fights. I like movies that have long, extended, manly fight scenes, such as “The Bourne Supremacy”, but I could never do anything like that. But recently I did get into a fight, a fight with God as a matter of fact. I took on God as my opponent.

Several days ago I was in a meeting with my dad and the other pastor on staff at our church. During the meeting, the three of us were discussing the best way to approach a certain situation. My dad wanted to do it one way and I wanted to do it another way. My dad, who is significantly wiser than I am, had the better way. But in my pride, I was totally convinced that my way was the right way, and that he was being a fool for not seeing it my way. In reality, I was the fool. But God was kind enough to convict me of my sin and lead me to repentance, and now I see that my dad’s way was indeed the better way.

James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” To say that I was proud during the pastoral meeting is a colossal understatement. I was massively arrogant. James tells me that God won’t tolerate my pride. In fact, when I’m proud I am taking on God as my opponent. When I am proud I am engaging in a head to head battle with God Himself, for God opposes the proud. And I don’t want God as my opponent.

The opposite of pride is humility, and it is to the humble that God gives grace. If I want to experience the grace of God I must be humble. Oh how I want to experience the grace of God! Do you want to experience the grace of God? Do want your daily experience to be one of experiencing God’s grace? Then pursue humility. Pursue it daily, regularly, consistently. Meditate on this verse from James. Read C.J. Mahaney’s book “Humility”. Confess areas of pride to your spouse, friends, and pastors. If you do, you will experience the grace of God. Otherwise, you will have God as your opponent.

  • Ryan Rippee

    Stephen,

    I love your honesty and your humility in sharing something that happens to all of us. I had the privilege of serving with my father-in-law in ministry for five years, and as the youngest pastor on staff, I was constantly putting my foot in my mouth and making my youthful pride obvious to all watching.

    And the one thing my own father told me when I accepted the position at the church was, “Ryan, stay teachable. Stay humble. Be quick to hear and slow to speak.”

    And, by the way, I was given a copy of “Humility” at the Together for the Gospel conference last year, and I finally read it over the Christmas holiday. That book is such a blessing, we have added it to our servant-leadership training course at our church.

    God’s grace be with you,

    Ryan

  • Stephen Altrogge

    Thanks for your encouragement Ryan. Like you, I am putting my big fat foot into my mouth all the time. I need humility!