The First to 11 Wins!

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

I Peter 5:5

I cannot count the number of times in my life when I have been humbled due to my pride. I have been punched, kicked, dumped, fired, and cheated on. I have tasted the bitter dregs of humility and it has always left a sour taste in my mouth. When I get too big for my britches, God chooses to readjust me.

I love to play basketball even though I am more like Spud Webb than Shaquille O’Neal. My dad played with me as far back as I can remember and I have always enjoyed playing. To this day, one of the most relaxing things for me is to go and shoot some baskets. One day, I was talking about my love for basketball at work when a guy overheard me and said he liked to play as well. I looked him up and down and laughed at his statement. I did not take him for being much of a basketball player as he certainly did not look the part. He mentioned we should get together and play sometime, and I said, “Sure, let me know when you want to get taken to the wood shed.” He laughed at me and said, “Sounds like a plan.”

We agreed to meet up before work to play our game of one on one, and I started to talk this up to my fellow coworkers and to anyone else who would listen. I had been playing pretty regularly, so I was confident I would walk away with the victory. The day finally came to meet up at the gym, and he came out in a headband and a knee brace. I laughed and rolled my eyes at his appearance, and began to lick my chops. I figured I would beat him into submission and we would go and have lunch.

The game was played with one-point shots, and the first to reach 11 with a two-point lead was the winner. I started the game off strong, scoring the first ten points, and was cockier than ever because I knew this was going to be my day. It was not. I did not score the rest of the game and he beat me 13-11. I played him game after game, with each game yielding the same L for me. I did not win a single game that day even though I begged my friend to keep playing. He offered to buy me lunch to console my pride, so I finally raised the white flag. I dreaded going to work later that night as I had told everyone that I was going to destroy him. When we got to work, they asked him how the game went, and he simply said, “We had a lot of fun.” I was shocked by his response, first, because he was so gracious, and second, because I wholly disagreed with the notion that we had fun. They laughed at his response and gave me a high five, but I told them the truth and said I got whooped. He smiled and said, “It wasn’t that bad. Rosendo gave me some great games.” I was humbled by his answer and humbled by how well he handled the situation. That day, he humbled me both on the court and off the court. I learned to not underestimate anyone and to keep my opinions of myself to a minimum.

What does God have to do to you to humble you? In moments of humility, are you quick to defend yourself or are you willing to be humbled? Do you resist God and think you can live the Christian life without prayer and Bible reading? What do your actions say about you? Do you justify your sin? Are you clothed with humility or are you puffed up with pride? How would others describe you? Are you someone who is approachable, or do others cringe when they have to confront you? May we be humble before others, and more importantly, may we be humble before our God. It is hard to help someone who knows everything and is always right. May we have a humble, teachable spirit, and may we seek grace from the One who has unlimited grace to give.

Stay in the Fight!

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