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How Can I Stay Humble & Grounded When Achieving Success?

Silver trophies on a wooden desk.

Earlier this month, Uncommon Sports Group hosted the first-ever NXT Up Coaches panel event alongside the NABC Convention and other Final Four ministry events to equip the next generations of Christ-centered coaches. During the panel discussion, Associate Head Coach at Coastal Carolina University, Jayson Gee, shared a quote that spoke to remaining humble amidst achieving success:

“I think our challenge is a word called humility. Easy word to say, hard word to live. Because, in [coaching] you get a lot of pats on the back and you begin to believe that it’s you that is doing all of it. So, what I try to do myself, and model, and encourage those I have influence over is remind them when they say something, ‘isn’t God good?’”

A challenge that every Christian working in the sport industry faces is the temptation to rely too heavily on one’s own abilities to achieve success, and to believe that achieving success is done solely by one’s hard work. Simply put, this struggle is a struggle with the sin of pride.

In this blog, we will discuss the danger of overconfidence in one’s own abilities and success in a career in sports and how to remain humble and grounded during seasons of success.

The Danger of Pride and Overconfidence

It is evident throughout all of Scripture that God is in opposition to people who are proud. The Proverbs are riddled with verses that point out the downfalls of living in the sin of pride. Proverbs 16:5 says, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” The Lord does not kindly receive prideful behavior.

In Daniel chapter 4, we see an example of God opposing and humbling the proud and successful King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was the longest reigning king of the Babylonian Empire and is regarded as the greatest king of Babylon. 

In Daniel’s account, King Nebuchadnezzar received a disturbing dream that he required assistance from Daniel to interpret (Daniel 4:1-27). Daniel interpreted the dream to king Nebuchadnezzar and told him that God had issued a decree against him (Daniel 4:24). King Nebuchadnezzar had become a strong, proud, and powerful king (Daniel 4:22). 

God’s decree against the king was that he would be driven away from his people, live amongst the animals, and no longer rule as king (Daniel 4:25). It was because of King Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance and pride that God had issued this punishment against him, and it would not be until the King acknowledged the true God and repented of his sin that his kingdom would be restored to him (Daniel 4:26-27).

A clear lesson that we can learn from this story is that God opposes the proud, but lifts up the humble (Proverbs 3:34). Like King Nebuchadnezzar, it is tempting to rely on our achievements and to believe that our success is as a result of our own works.

The danger of living in a state of pride and overconfidence, as King Nebuchadnezzar was, is that we go against the living God. The Scriptures make it clear that those who are prideful in their actions and success are in opposition to God. In light of this truth and example from Daniel chapter 4, we should be quick to sniff out areas in our lives that are marked by pride.

God Honors Humility

The sport industry is a place where prideful behavior thrives, and is even encouraged. As an individual achieves more and more success they build a tendency to believe that their success is a result of their own efforts. This mindset breeds selfish behavior and pride.

As followers of Christ, we are called to follow a different code when it comes to our earthly success. That uncommon code is to seek to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ through our success, not ourselves. John the Baptist exemplifies this code in John 3:26-30.

In John 3:26, the disciples of John the Baptist came to him with a complaint about Jesus. They said that the people were choosing to go to Jesus to be baptized, instead of to John. In John 3:27-30, John the Baptist responds to his disciples:

“To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

Prior to Jesus’ arrival, John was a popular man. Many people were coming to hear him teach and to be baptized by him (Matthew 3:1-12). As Jesus began His earthly ministry, John’s role greatly changed. No longer was John’s ministry the focal point of the people, but rather Jesus was the person of interest.

The sport industry glamorizes the limelight. Being well known, working for a recognizable brand, winning championships, it is all seen as the ultimate goal. John the Baptist was given a moment in the limelight. Many people went to him for baptism and spiritual guidance. He could have believed that those results were produced by his own efforts, and sought his own glory.

Rather, John knew that his role was not to be the Messiah, but rather to be sent ahead of him to pave the way. He knew that his role was to decrease his own glory, and allow the glory of Christ to increase.

In the same way, as Christians working in sports it is important to be reminded that any and all success that is achieved should be in an effort to increase Christ’s renown and glory, not our own.


The Scottish catechism states that, “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The code that we are called to as Christians is the code of self-denial. We no longer live for ourselves, but rather we choose to live for the glory of Christ.

While the common behavior in the sport industry is to pursue self-glory, the uncommon behavior of the Christian in sports should be to pursue the increase of Christ in all things. Instead of seeking to build an earthly kingdom of our own, as King Nebuchadnezzar did, believers should be seeking to build the kingdom of God with their lives.


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If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to hear from you!


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