Setting People Aflame

FlameI’m a pretty big fan of myself. If a Stephen Altrogge fan club existed, I would be the first to join. And the truth is, I want others to be big fans as well. I want people to associate my name with great songs, great preaching, great blogs, and great books. When people hear me preach I want them to come away saying, “Never since the days of Charles Spurgeon have we heard someone preach with such authority!” I want my name to be mixed in with words like “incredible”, “life-changing”, and “steals your breath away”. Why? Because I’m really proud and want people to worship me instead of God.

Can you relate? Maybe it’s not books or blogs, but computers or basketball. You don’t want people to think you’re a great preacher, but you would love for them to think you’re an incredible project manager. Or mom. Or intelligent college student. Or great elementary school teacher. You get the point.

When I see my pride it makes me sick. I want to have the attitude of Charles Spurgeon. Listen to these words from his autobiography:

While I was on the lower ground, riding in a hansom cab, I saw a light before me, and when I came near the hill, I marked that light gradually go up the hill, leaving a train of stars behind it. This line of new-born stars remained in the form of one lamp, and then another, and another. It reached from the foot of the hill to its summit. I did not see the lamplighter. I do not know his name, nor his age, nor his residence; but I saw the lights which he had kindled, and these remained when he himself had gone his way. As I rode along, I thought to myself, ‘How earnestly do I wish that my life may be spent in lighting one soul after another with the sacred flame of eternal life! I would myself be as much as possible unseen while at my work, and would vanish into eternal brilliance above when my work is done’

O let that be my attitude! That I might seek to serve God without any thought of personal glory. That I might set people aflame with love for God without ever being seen myself. That the glory of God would be my one, consuming obsession. I’m not there yet, but I want to be.

Lord humble me! You must increase, I must decrease.

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I’m married to Jen, and I have three kids. I know a lot about Star Wars, and I live in a van down by the river. I’ve also written a number of books, which people seem to like.


  1. Stephen Altrogge says

    Kevin – Glad it was helpful for you. May we set people aflame with love for the glory of God.

  2. says

    For me, some of the problem lies in trying to find a balance between keeping a good reputation (a good name is important in Proverbs) and just plain old pride in myself. (For instance, I try to watch what kind of blogs I link to, or what kind of books I’m seen reading.) I’m thinking that the difference between the two, though, is that pride seeks self-praise and a good reputation is so that we will bring praise to God.

  3. says

    Nice post. I also want to be an invisible servant…maybe one day…but I suppose I’ll never be completely invisible as long as even my left hand knows what my right hand is doing….

  4. Caleb says

    What a great post! I never knew you had a blog! Thank you for your humility! How often we waste time trying to further our own kingdoms, when only Christ kingdom and mission matters!
    and on a side note…I would join your fan club. I think your cd (In a little while) is awesome!

  5. Stephen Altrogge says

    Rachael – Yes, unfortunately the presence of pride still remains a strong factor in my life as well. I’m just going to continue asking that God will help me be humble!

    Caleb – I’m so glad you enjoy the album. Thanks for your encouragement!

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