The Servant


Dr. John T. Barr, Th.D. – involved in fighting arts, self-defense arts and combative sports since 1949 – currently Director and Chief Examiner of the Kamido Aikido Association (1987 – present) – formerly Director and Chief Examiner of the Budo Aikido Association (1970 – 1992) – holder of black belts in Judo, Jujitsu, Hapkido, Kamido Aikido and Budo Aikido – Chief Instructor for the Budo Aikido martial arts television series broadcast for eight years on five cable networks (1984 -1992) – author of two books (published 1977 & 1985).

Some would consider the above to be pretty impressive credentials. But God’s word would classify them as wood, hay and straw (1 Corinthians 3:12). The writer of this same book, 1st Corinthians, went on to say that a day will come when each one’s work will be tested by fire to determine it’s enduring or lasting qualities and that truly enduring qualities are directly dependent upon the foundation upon which they are built. For many years the foundation upon which the above credentials were built was selfish pride. On that kind of foundation, wood, hay and straw would be burned up in the fire of testing and nothing of enduring quality would remain.

The apostle Peter made it very clear when he wrote that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). The proud do all things to draw attention to themselves. The humble do all things to draw attention to God. Pride has proven to be the downfall of many. Isaiah, the prophet of God, penned God’s words of condemnation concerning Satan’s pride which ultimately seals his fate in Hell. “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.” (Isaiah 14:13-15). (Also see 2 Samuel 15:13 – 17:23 regarding Ahithophel, a conspirator against King David; 2 Kings 5:1-19 regarding Naaman, commander of the Syrian army; 2 Kings 20:12-18, regarding King Hezekiah who displayed all his treasures to emissaries of the king of Babylon)

The apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy wrote concerning one who desires the position of an overseer, that he not be a “novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). Certainly, having more than half a century of experience in martial arts would not classify one as a novice. However, even a few years in the prestigious position of a black belt instructor can entice one to be “puffed up”. How does one who aspires to share one’s experiences with others in any endeavor not be considered proud or boastful in God’s sight?

For the above credentials to have any enduring quality, they must be removed from the foundation of selfish pride and placed on a Rock solid foundation. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians declares “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (v.11) On this foundation the above credentials can be miraculously transformed into gold, silver and precious stones and the fire of testing would burn away any impurities and increase their value. The same credentials when used to glorify self are nothing but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) but when used to glorify God they come forth as gold and take on enduring or lasting qualities.