J.I. Packer On Our Battle With Pride

15 Apr

J. I. Packer has great insight and excellent advice for us when it comes to the discipline of self-examination and our battle with pride.

“Whereas introspection, whether it ends in euphoria or in the gloom of self-pity and self-despair, can become an expression of self-absorbed pride, self-examination is the fruit of God-centered humility, ever seeking to shake free of all that displeases the Father, dishonors the Son and grieves the Holy Spirit, so as to honor God more. Thus self-examination is a fundamentally healthy process, leading into repentance, where mere introspection can leave us just feeling sorry for ourselves” (Praying, 125).

One particular area where we need regular self-examination concerns humility and its mortal enemy, pride. To detect whether humility is growing in us, notes Packer, we

“can prayerfully invite God’s help in self-examination as we ask ourselves such questions as: Am I able to joyfully perform tasks in my church that have little or no visibility? Do I regularly credit others for their labor? Can I value and enjoy people who are not normally considered respectable Are my thoughts toward the difficult people in my life infused with grace? Do I give my spouse first choice of TV channel, room temperature or vacation? Are my prayers usually on behalf of other people? Is it relatively easy for me to give my time or my money – and tell no one about it? Do I see every opportunity not as an earned right but as a gift from God? Do I cut short thoughts of comparing myself favorably with others? Do I honor others with my thoughts, words and actions? To the extent that we can honestly say yes to questions like these, we are beginning to learn humility toward others – and so to conquer the sin of pride” (Praying, 130).

On the other hand,

“humility cannot be fully detected or measured by direct inspection, for trying to inspect our own humility is itself a yielding to pride (which is why it was so grotesque when a listener said after a talk: ‘I’m so glad you spoke on humility; that’s my strong point, you know!’). The most we can ever do is concentrate on negating and mortifying the various expressions of pride we are already aware of, and on asking our Lord to show us what more negating and mortifying needs to be done. That is a request that the God who watches us even as he watches over us, and who maintains his perfect knowledge of us in all matters where we do not truly know ourselves (that means, in every matter without exception all our lives!) is fully equipped to answer” (Praying, 130).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).


Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Christianity, Faith, Religion


Tags: , , , , , ,

18 responses to “J.I. Packer On Our Battle With Pride

  1. Little Monk

    April 15, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Is it not strange? That ultimate power and authority were (are) gained through the most extreme humility and submissiveness?

    He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name… (2 Philippians:8b-9)

    (Note the words: “For this reason…”


    • Levi Thetford

      April 15, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Good morning LM. I agree mans ways and thoughts of strength are totally opposite of Gods. At the Fall we turned 180 degrees from God. Praise The Lord for His marvelous grace and mercy. I hope you have a great day.

      Btw, I pulled your post up yesterday and was kicked off over a dozen times on my ipad. I only got about a fourth read. I’m going to go on my PC today and read it. I have no idea what the problem is. For some reason only your blog I’m not able to read it on my ipad.


      • Little Monk

        April 15, 2014 at 10:14 am

        Thanks for that iPad info… I’ve just checked on my own iPad, and it opens ok for me, both from the link off an email title-link, and going in straight by addressing with Safari. Page appears just as it does on my PC. Sorry you’re having this happen. Let me know if anyone has any suggestions or ideas how to correct this.

        I love your posts, Levi! Thanks!


        • Levi Thetford

          April 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

          It must be my ipad . I’ll have to see if I can find out the problem. Be blessed my Friend!!!!!


  2. Equipping The Saints

    April 15, 2014 at 5:36 am

    Thank you for your post. It was the book that was written by J.I. Packer (Knowing God) that helped me to understand eternal security. Please continue your excellent writings.

    Senior Pastor/Equipping the Saints
    Philip 3:10, “That I May Know Him”


    • Levi Thetford

      April 15, 2014 at 7:03 am

      Mr Packer has really taught me over the years as well. Thanks a lot. I hope your day is pleasant 🙂


  3. samueldpoetry442

    April 15, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Sounded like a pastor
    This post of
    Yours is spiritually uplifting and
    To you
    God bless your household
    And you


    • Levi Thetford

      April 15, 2014 at 6:59 am

      Thanks a lot Samuel. I hope you have a great day:)


  4. Ryan Micheal

    April 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Great! Really thought provoking and spiritually uplifting. Have you ever read J.I. Packer’s book “Knowing God”?


    • Levi Thetford

      April 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Hello Ryan. Yes, I read Knowing God when it came out probably 30 yrs ago. I reread it again last year. It is a newer classic. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. anchorrock4

    April 15, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Reblogged this on theperfectprescription2014 and commented:

    Reblogged from Levi’s Daily Thoughts


  6. insanitybytes22

    April 15, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I loved that, thank you. One of my favorite quotes says, “the problem with humility is that it’s elusive. Once you declare you’ve achieved it, you’ve gone and lost it.”


  7. Elaine

    April 16, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Great post Levi. great information for us all on humility vs pride! It’s a challenge sometimes!



    April 16, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Thank you for this Levi. I was much convicted about the part of self-pitying


    • Levi Thetford

      April 16, 2014 at 7:11 am

      It is a convicting thing. Hope your day is a good one. Thanks.



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