Be Humble: Three Thoughts on 1 Peter 5:5-7
1 Peter 5:5-7
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, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
I am not a humble person. My days are filled with thoughts of my own survival and centrality. Like anyone I guess, everyday I think a lot about my next meal or snack or coffee fix, my schedule and tasks, my energy levels and feelings, and my desire to care for my kids and responsibilities. I think about myself a lot. It’s exhausting.
These are not always innocent reflections. More times than I’d like to admit I think and act as if I am central. I think I’m special. I trust my perspective … I boast in my life choices … and I often with no regard to consequence. All of this reveals an utter lack of humility and a bounty of pride.
I have to practice humility. I have to pursue humility. Everyday. Humility doesn’t come naturally to me. 1 Peter 5 has been deeply formative in this endeavor. In it Peter points his readers to three things: humility’s logic … humility’s reward … and humility’s pathway.
Be humble because God opposes the proud. This is humility’s logic. We should be humble and pursue humility because God opposes the proud (v.5). The last thing we should desire is to be opposed by God. That never ends well. He opposes the likes of unrighteousness, injustice and evil—and they are laid to ruin.
Be humbled so that you will receive grace and be exalted. This is humility’s reward. God’s kingdom comes with a kind of upside down reality—try to exalt yourself, you’ll be humbled … but humble yourself, you’ll be exalted (v.6). And when God is the one who lifts us up it is not for our own glory but his, nor is it momentary and fleeting but eternal and satisfying.
Be humble by casting all your anxieties on God. This is humility’s pathway. In admitting and disclosing our anxious thoughts and behaviors to God we are released from their power over us. And since God cares for us he desire to hear these things from us. When we confess anxieties and cares to God we are admitting we can’t help ourselves which is a foundational belief for the humble.