Fast Forward 2018 – Jesus Judo Part 7: Humility & Pride

FFp4With the arrival of the last installment in the Jesus Judo series, we come to Humility and Pride. In case you have missed any along the way, all of the parts of this series along with hundreds of other teachings are on my website at To make sure you don’t miss any future blogs, please sign-up here.

In this series we have already looked at the first six of the ancient seven deadly sins and the corresponding seven Christian virtues: Chastity / Lust, Temperance / Gluttony, Charity / Greed, Diligence / Sloth, Patience / Wrath and Envy / Kindness. We also provided an Introduction to Jesus Judo and the Law of Opposite Actions at the very beginning. Today we finish up.

Opposing Forces

A heart of humility leads us into a life of service. It causes us to see the value of others and creates in us a desire to partner with them. Humility sees the God-given gifts inside of others and causes us to search for ways in which we can assist them in accomplishing their divine purpose.

A heart of pride, on the other hand, causes us to see ourselves as better, smarter, wiser and more important than everyone else. It causes us to see people as stupid, inferior or irrelevant. It ignores the reasons that God created them and placed them in our lives. Instead, pride can cause us to perceive others as annoyances.


The enemy of our soul uses a plethora of categories to tempt us toward pride: Race, Social Class, Economic Status, Education, Nationality, Career, Religion, Politics, Skills, Physical Fitness, Car, House, Family, Spouse or Significant Other, Popularity, Talent, and Intelligence are just a few of the life situations he uses to help us excuse our feelings of superiority over other children of God.

Most of us know that the Bible tells us that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling,” [1] but for some reason we have trouble keeping that monster under control. What did you call the last person who pulled out in front of you? What did you say about the clerk who gave you the wrong order? How did you feel toward the person who disagreed with you or posted something you didn’t like on Facebook? All of these may be indicators that pride is seeking a foothold.

Extending & Receiving Grace

As a Pastor and Life Coach, I often have the opportunity to see people at their worst. While it is certainly not my favorite part of God’s calling, I am honored by the trust that people extend. There is incredible power and freedom when we humble ourselves before another human being – in an atmosphere of safety – and tell them where our life has gone wrong.

In these situations, I keep myself balanced by reminding myself of all that God has done – and is doing – in my life. Sure, God may be working on me in different ways than He is someone else, but His work in me is no less serious than His work in someone else. Likewise, I always try to extend grace when others do not treat me well. I hope that my grace for them, will extend to grace for me when I need it. If not from them, I at least know it will from God. [2]

A Servants Heart

As I mentioned in the last post, it is important to see others as more important than ourselves. [3] When we do for others without a big show, God takes care of us in greater ways than we can ever imagine. [4] Astonishingly, we are called to have Christ’s attitude, who “gave up his divine privileges to become a slave and martyr for us. [5]

Scripture has a great deal to say about humility and overcoming pride. Here is a sample:

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” [6]

By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life. [7]

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” [8]

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. [9]

The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. [10]

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11]

Missing the Forest or At Least the Logs

One of the most sinister things about pride is its ability to masquerade as something harmless. Through a million different justifications, the enemy is more than happy to help us justify our feelings. Yes, it is true that sometimes people act stupidly, but if we are honest, “people” includes us. As I alluded to earlier, if we ever want to receive grace, we must be willing to extend it.

I am always saddened when someone comes to me after a strong message and points to someone else who “needed to hear it.” The Word of God was not written to be a weapon against the people God loves. It was given as a mirror for us to check our own hearts and lives and is an invitation to become more like Jesus. [12]

It is specifically about the issue of pride that Jesus was speaking when he said, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” [13] Though the quote is often misused in our modern culture to say we can’t compare someone’s life to scripture, nothing could be further from the truth. This is evidenced from the passage a few verses later, “You can identify them, by their fruit, that is, by the way they act… A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.” [14]

What is often overlooked is the significance of verses two and five. The former tells us that we will be treated as we treat others. [15] A wise person wants to be corrected, [16] but no one likes to be belittled or condemned. [17] The second part of verse five helps us clarify, “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” [18]

Clearly, Jesus is telling us that helping others live holy lives is a good thing, but we must first consider our own shortcomings and do so with humility and grace. This is why Paul teaches, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” [19] Many fail and fall today because of their unrighteous judgment of others without extending grace and accounting for their own weakness.

False Humility is Also Wrong

After reading or hearing a message on humility, there is a temptation to swing all the way over and see ourselves as worthless pond-scum. This is not true humility, but rather false-humility. Ironically false humility is a form of pride. There is tremendous irony in that we humans can be proud of being humble. (Or at least thinking we are.)

It is not humility to belittle or minimize the blessings, talents and gifts God has placed in our lives – it is ungratefulness. I am grateful that He has made me a good speaker, musician, pastor, writer, geek, etc. I know these things, because others have told me that I have blessed them with these gifts.

The important thing here is that I recognize that these gifts were not given to puff me up, rather they were provided from my Heavenly Father to lift others up. Though I may possess the gifts, they are not mine, they come from God through me for the benefit of others. I have the blessed task of handing out God’s gifts to others. My greatest pleasure in life is seeing others become greater people of God as a result of my service. How can I take pride in something I did not create? My prayer is that long after I have returned to dust, the gifts of God that flowed through me will continue to be a blessing for generations to come.

Is Any Pride Good?

Surprisingly, the Word of God does allow us to take pride in one thing – our work.

“But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” [20]

While we are not allowed to take pride in where we were born, how much money we make, what color we are, or any of those other thousands of reasons that people like to tout, we are allowed to be proud of doing a good job and being a faithful servant to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is accomplished not by comparing our work to that of others, but rather comparing our work against what God has told us to do. Then, we can be legitimately proud of ourselves without diminishing others, and can expect Heaven’s rewards to rain down.

So take pride, but be humble!


[1] Proverbs 16:18 (NASB)

[2] Matthew 6:14 (NASB)

[3] Philippians 2:3-4

[4] Matthew 6:4

[5] Philippians 2:6-11

[6] Luke 14:11 (NKJV)

[7] Proverbs 22:4 (NKJV)

[8] 1 Peter 5:5 (NKJV)

[9] James 4:10 (NKJV)

[10] Psalm 147:6 (NKJV)

[11] Matthew 5:3 (NKJV)

[12] 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)

[13] Matthew 7:1 (NLT)

[14] Matthew 7:16-17 (NLT)

[15] Matthew 7:2 (NLT)

[16] Proverbs 9:8

[17] Romans 8:1

[18] Matthew 7:5 (NLT)

[19] Galatians 6:1 (NKJV)

[20] Galatians 6:4 (NKJV)

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