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Posted by Daniel Maddry on



Bible: James 3:13

Bottom Line: Live well, live wisely, live humbly.


  • Timer
  • Ball 


Divide students into two teams of equal size and have them form single file lines.

Have a copy of this on hand: Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A

You will need a timer or stopwatch to use throughout the game.


Say: Raise your hand if you have learned your alphabet.

Great! You should have no problem playing this game.

This is one of those games that sounds much easier to play than it actually is. 

I will choose one of your teams to go first and give the first person in line a ball.

The goal of this game is to say the alphabet as fast as you can while passing the ball to the person standing behind you. 

So, you will say a letter, pass the ball backwards, then the next person will say a letter, and pass the ball backwards, and on and on.

When the person at the end of the line receives the ball, he or she will turn around and so will everyone else on their team. 

Now, the last person is the first person, the ball will begin to be passed backwards again, and the alphabet will continue.

Your teams will play one-at-a-time because we are going to time each team to see who is able to complete the alphabet the fastest.

If, at any point, someone on your team drops the ball, you will return the ball to the beginning of your line and start over—while the timer is still going. 

When you have explained the rules, you will choose a team to start, and the game will begin.

After both teams have taken a turn, announce which team was the fastest and who won the game. 

Great job!

I know you’re wondering why I thought that was going to be a difficult game because it was pretty easy. 

I forgot to mention… that was just the practice round.

Now, we will play the actual game.

We’re going to do the same thing we just did, but here’s the twist: you’re going to say the alphabet backwards

Trust me. It’s much harder than it sounds.

The first person in line will start with “Z,” the next person will say “Y,” and so on.

Do you think it will take your team the same amount of time to complete the alphabet this time?

We will see!

You can play the game best two out of three, or as many times as you would like as long as the students are interested. 

You can also mix the students up in their lines so that their letter changes for every round of the game you play.


Say: You guys and gals are really smart, but that doesn’t mean it was easy.

This was probably something you have never done before, unless you have actually practiced saying the alphabet backwards.

Some of you were the weakest link because you weren’t ready when it was your turn or couldn’t think fast enough on your feet—and that’s okay because it was just a game. 

Ask: Have you ever known someone who wasn’t good at something but wanted everyone to think that he was? No names, please.

Allow a few responses from students.

Be careful that they don’t use each other as examples.

It can be tough to admit when we aren’t good at something.

In fact, it can require humility on our part, and that isn’t part of our human nature.

Read James 3:13.

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

This verse points out that there is a humility that comes from wisdom.

Ask: Think about the people you would consider to be “wise.” Are they also humble?

Allow a few responses from students.

Jesus was all-knowing when He was on the earth, but He didn’t act like a know-it-all.

He was humble.

Truly wise people are always humble because they realize their wisdom isn’t their own but comes from God.

When we live with love and respect for each other, following God’s commands and living for him, humility will be part of our character.

It is impossible to be boastful, full of pride, or rude when you are living with wisdom that comes from God.

Ask: What are some reasons that people would act like know-it-alls or try to present themselves as wise, when they really aren’t?

Allow a few responses from students.

Any time we try to live in our own strength, we end up failing, but we don’t want to look like we are failing. No one does! 

So, we try to come across like we have it all together when we’re really falling apart.

Ask: How can God help us realize that we are trying to live in our own strength?

Allow a few responses from students.  

Share a personal experience of when you tried to do something in your own strength and failed.

Many times, we believe that, in order for God to help us, we must be perfect and have it all together.

But that’s a lie we believe that can keep us from turning to God in the times when we are weakest. 

God is always willing to help us when we come to Him in humility, admitting our weaknesses and our desire for Him.

It takes courage to admit your faults and the areas where you need God’s help.

But the truth is that all of us have faults and we all need God, even when it seems like things are going really well.

Watch out for those areas in your life where you think you don’t need God’s help.

At the root of that attitude is pride, which is the opposite of humility.

You will find that the less you think you need God, the more you actually do.

God’s wisdom is always available. If you ask, He will give it to you.

The only way to learn wisdom is by going through situations requiring that you rely on God and not yourself.

I want to leave you with these closing words: Live well, live wisely, live humbly.

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