By: Rev. Michael Jaatinen, Mount Zion ARP in Moncton, NB Canada
1 Peter 5:5-6 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.
How important is humility? According to Peter very important! Pride not only hurts our relationship with God, but also our relationship with others. How many friendships and marriages have been damaged or ruined over hurtful or angry words? How many families and workplaces have been divided by resentment and bitterness? How many reputations have been ruined through jealousy and hateful gossip? How true are the words, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
Do you have a humble spirit or have you allowed pride to impact your relationship with your spouse? Family member? Co-worker? Even Christ Himself? Peter declares, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” How can we clothe ourselves with humility? The term clothe refers to a servant’s garment or apron that would be worn over other clothing and tied so that it would stay tightly fixed to the body. Peter’s imperative here is that humility must be part of us like a garment tightly wrapped around the body so it can’t fall off. This garment is to be on all the time and never removed. Humility is essential in the Christian life. Just as Paul taught when he said in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Why do this? “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” How important is humility to you?
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.
Peter continues his teaching on humility in verse 6. He tells us to humble ourselves so that God may exalt us. Pride can be viewed as dependence or confidence in oneself. A person may think he is fully independent of others and self-sufficient. Is this true? Are we completely self-sufficient without any dependence on others? The reality is, no matter where we are in life, we do rely on others. We all appreciate family, friends, employers, customers, retail workers, doctors, and nurses and the list goes on. Think about all the people you rely on each day to make your life better and easier. We are not truly alone. There is One Who is actually in your life whether you recognize it or not. The Lord directs all of your affairs by an all-wise Providence. You don’t live in a chance world.
Peter brings us to the place where we need to recognize God working in our lives. Humility is having a full dependence on and confidence in God. This verse could be translated allow yourselves to be humbled, under the mighty hand of God. We must permit ourselves to be humbled. We must consent to let God take control. We must surrender to His will as He knows what is best for us. His hand is mighty and powerful. He breaks the power of sin and pride and molds us to be like Christ by His Spirit. He will exalt us in due time. Will you allow yourself to be humbled?
1 Peter 5:7 …casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
Verse 7 is governed by the verb in the previous verse. This means that humility is not just a negative lowering of oneself, but rather an active reliance or trust in God Who is able to handle our burdens, anxieties, and cares. Peter literally means to throw or fling all your anxieties on the Lord. What kind of image does this make in your mind? This reminds me of when I was young and I used to chop wood for our family wood stove. I needed to carry the cut wood into the shed, so I would pick up each stick one by one until I had a big load in my arms. Well, I didn’t take the wood off one by one like I did when I picked them up. What did I do? It was a heavy load, so I threw them down on the pile as quickly as I could!
This is just like us. We pick up our cares one by one and each time we add something we get weighed down just as if that heavy load of wood is in our arms. It’s very difficult to take those burdens off one by one. What does the Lord tell you to do with all your cares, burdens, and anxieties? Throw them off yourself and down on Him! Let Him bear the full weight of them all! He is willing because He cares for you. Are you willing to “Cast your burden on the LORD” (Psalm 55:22)?
Suggestions for Prayer: Give praise to God; He is willing to give His grace to the humble. If you struggle with pride, ask the Lord to grant you grace and help today so that you can repent of this sin and come to Him with humility and faith. Thank the Lord that He cares for you and wants to help you with your burdens. Ask the Lord to enable you to cast your cares upon Him and not just bear them on your own. Thank the Lord that we can truly have rest for our souls in Christ (Matt. 11:28).