What does it look like to be humble?
One place for you to test whether or not you are humble is the way you respond to conflict.
We are looking at James 4:6-12 and identifying six commitments the humble person makes in the middle of relational difficulties.
Commitment number one.
When I am getting a little bothered and my desires are telling me to react a certain way, I say no, what does God want,because what He wants is what matters most.
Commitment number two.
“I commit to taking how I act and how I think and how I speak in the middle of a disagreement with someone else, seriously.”
When you are in the middle of a conflict you can easily get so focused on what that other person did wrong and getting what you want that you don’t usually stop and think about the big picture, which is that we as Christians are in the middle of a spiritual war.
In other words, we have an enemy.
Who hates us.
And who hates what God is doing through the church.
And this enemy has strategies in his war against us, and one of those strategies that he’s used so effectively throughout the years is stirring up sinful strife and conflict within the church.
I think of Ephesians 4:26 and 27 as an example of that.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
Paul’s saying, be very careful about the way you deal with your anger, because if you don’t deal with it correctly, you are giving the devil an opportunity.
And the humble person recognizes that.
It’s not so much that disagreements freak him out and he thinks all is lost because now, he’s in a conflict. He knows this is going to happen. But, as all this begins to happen, he’s careful, he’s prayerful, and he’s dependent on God.
Because he know he’s in a war, and he has an enemy, who wants to lead him away from God, to a selfish, worldly way of thinking and living, and he knows that enemy often uses conflict to do just that.
There’s a kind of pride.
That thinks I don’t need to be careful.
Others might have struggles with this, but not me, I know what I am doing, and that’s the kind of pride that often leads to relational chaos, because, you are just so unaware of your own weakness, and the enemy you are going up against.
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Which of course is a great promise.
Even though we have this supernatural enemy who wants to tear us down, there is hope, if we’ll take it serious.
We have to resist.
Which do we how? By doing Ephesians 6, by putting on the whole armor of God. Righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, the helmet of salvation, the word of God, praying at all times. These are the kinds of things we are doing all the time, I hope, but especially in the middle of conflict. We are going back to justification by faith and enjoying the righteousness God has provided. We are thinking and meditating on the way in which the gospel has given us peace with God and created peace with other believers. We are enjoying the salvation God’s provided. We are focusing on the truths we find in Scripture. We are on our knees in prayer, crying out to God for help.
Which we might think sheesh, that is actually a lot of armor to be putting on and wearing all the time. Why can’t I just go into this unprepared and wing it? You can’t go in unprepared, because you are in a war, that’s what I am getting at.
You know how it goes.
There are times when somebody does something you don’t like, and you just start saying stuff. You are not thinking. You are just talking. And, you are not taking what’s going on seriously. And you know, what you do in that moment, has these unbelievable consequences, to your relationship, and it’s really hard to get it back.
Because you are not resisting. You are not putting on your armor. You are so proud, you aren’t aware of the ways that your sin can do damage, long lasting damage to others.
Which is why you need to make this second commitment.
“Before I speak or really do much of anything in the middle of a conflict, I am going to slow down and remind myself that I need to be very careful, because it’s not just me and the other person disagreeing, I am in the middle of a spiritual war, against a fierce enemy, who hates me, hates the other person, hates the church, and hates my Savior Jesus Christ.”