The Good Fight// Part 1
In the summer of 2004, at the ripe old age of 18, I played in a rock band, and we had a show that I will never forget. On this specific night we were playing out of town in Pine Lake, Alberta. It was a memorable night for a number of reasons.
First, it was the first show for our new guitar player, Jaron. Second, we were playing to a packed out venue, and there is no greater feeling as a musician than playing at a venue full to capacity. Third, it was an amazing crowd. Those people in Pine Lake knew how to rock! They sang hard, they danced hard, they threw people in the air. It was awesome.
It was for all of these reasons that when we had finished our set, we walked off the stage to a whole bunch of cheering, and as we entered the backstage area, the favorite phrase every spoken, by all musicians was spoken. Well... actually... it was chanted!
ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG!
So we did what any sane person would do... the people had spoken... THEY WANTED ONE MORE SONG!
It was during this song that the unimaginable happened. During the show, the staging that was constructed at the venue started drifting apart, and because we were in the midst of living the dream, none of us seemed to notice!
The band was playing, the crowd was singing, and jumping, and yelling, a great time was had by all! At this particular moment, three quarters of the way through the song, I jumped. It was an epic rock n roll kind of jump, and it was awesome. As I landed this jump, my foot got caught in between the staging. Unfortunately, I was already turning my body, and as my leg stayed straight, I felt a pop, and fell to the ground, twisting my body, and of course saving my guitar.
The band didn't realize I was hurt, for a moment I didn't either, so they kept playing, until our new guitar player came over and asked if I was ok. Thank God for Jaron. The guys stopped almost immediately, as I lay on the stage with my knee dislocated. My knee cap was now no longer facing forward, it was facing straight into the ground, it was loosely laying on the ground beside me.
From there I was rushed to the hospital, where they knocked me out and put my knee back in place. I spent the next 6 weeks in a full knee brace, and another 3 months after that in Physio Therapy.
We are currently in a conversation at Engage City Church called THE GOOD FIGHT: The New Guide to Conflict, Conversation & Reconciliation, according to the Life & Words of JESUS. Specifically, we are looking at Matthew 18. This past week, we looked specifically at the first 10 verses.
This chapter of scripture represents one conversation between Jesus and his disciples. He begins this conversation by answering a question: Which among us is the greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus responds in the best way possible... he calls a child into the room and uses a visual illustration to smack the disciples upside the head.
As the conversation develops, JESUS begins to eloquently articulate a strategy for building both lasting and successful relationships. Here is where he starts: HUMILITY.
Here is what I believe: HUMILITY CREATES MOBILITY.
When I injured my knee, I became deeply dependent. I couldn't drive, My leg stuck straight out, I had to be chauffeured around in a '98 Chevrolet Astro Van. I couldn't get into the shower without help, I couldn't get dressed without help, and I could barely tolerate the day without some form of painkiller. I was stuck.
Even after the brace came off, and the crutches disappeared, I lived differently. I stopped skiing. I stopped wakeboarding. I walked cautiously and carefully. I didn't jump. I didn't run. And I avoided stairs like the plague.
I was haunted by injury.
Is it possible that the reason I find myself stuck in life is because I am haunted by my past? Let's take it a step further. Is it possible that pain that I have experienced previously in my life is actually making my decisions for me?
When we are hurt, or recovering from an injury we become cautious, and we fiercely guard ourselves against anything that may cause us that kind of pain again. We do the same things in our every day lives.
You feel stuck? You feel like you aren't going anywhere? Is it possible that your past pain just dictated your future? You didn't take that opportunity, you didn't pursue that dream, you pre-maturely cut off that relationship, all because you didn't want to get hurt...AGAIN.
HUMILITY CREATES MOBILITY.
In his conversation with his disciples JESUS starts where we are starting today. If you want to move forward, if you want to be great, if you want some traction, if you want to build a lasting relationship, If you are looking for some mobility, if you want to recover from your hurt... meet: HUMILITY.
I love what Dr. Warren Wiersbe, in his book, BE LOYAL, says about humility in regards to this conversation between JESUS and his disciples.
"True humility means knowing yourself, accepting yourself, and being yourself— your best self— to the glory of God. It means avoiding two extremes: thinking less of yourself than you ought to (as did Moses when God called him, Ex. 3: 11ff.), or thinking more of yourself than you ought to (Rom. 12: 3). The truly humble person does not deny the gifts God has given him, but uses them to the glory of God."
HUMILITY gives us the internal infrastructure to mange the road blocks of life. HUMILITY causes us to RELY ON JESUS more than we RELY OURSELVES. HUMILITY helps me realize, it's not all about me. HUMILITY helps me realign my life. HUMILITY gives me permission to ask for help.
Looking for some traction? Looking for some mobility? Meet: HUMILITY.
Dr. Wiersbe fleshes out this thought, "HUMILITY begins with self-examination, and it continues with self-denial. Jesus was not suggesting that we maim our bodies, for harming our physical bodies can never change the spiritual condition of our hearts. Rather, He was instructing us to perform “spiritual surgery” on ourselves, removing anything that causes us to stumble or that causes others to stumble. The humble person lives for Jesus first and others next— he puts himself last. He is happy to deprive himself even of good things, if it will make others happy. Perhaps the best commentary on this is Philippians 2: 1– 18...The truly humble person helps to build up others, not to tear them down. He is a stepping-stone, not a stumbling block."
So where do we go from here?
1. ASK FOR HELP - Both Spiritual & Natural - SELF-EXAMINATION most often leads to SPIRITUAL SURGERY.
2. TRUST JESUS - Even though the process of healing and moving and forward isn't always easy, JESUS is present, and wants to walk through this with you. Also, just because it isn't easy doesn't mean it isn't God.
3. TRUST PEOPLE - I think this is probably the hardest part. You've heard the phrase, "Guns don't kill people, people do!" It can be scary to trust again. But the only way forward is to get outside of yourself and trust again.
4. START SMALL - Make meaningful and tangible steps towards your future. It happens one step at a time. It starts with one relationship. Trusting one person. Changing one thing in your life. Addressing one issue. Take it one day at a time. One step at a time. One moment at a time.
Here's the thing... none of this is fast. None of this is easy. But if you start walking towards HUMILITY, you will quickly realize you are moving forward, that you are realigning your life, and that what you once fiercely protected because it caused you pain, is now the fuel to take the next step forward.