February 5, 2021 | 1 Peter 5:1-7
Dear Redeemer Friends,
I remember a time years ago when I felt Tripp, my husband, was being particularly prideful. I literally took a step away from him in the moment. I reminded him (almost comically but partly seriously) that God opposes the proud ( so I did not want to stand too close). Yikes! It actually was not meant to be a jab- just a true reminder- don’t go down that road of all the roads! It’s the one road God opposes.. Most likely I should have been considering more my own pride ( which would keep me plenty busy). Either way God cares that we move away from pride and toward humility.
See God cares about the way we relate to each other as His people. Whether we hold official positions ( of pastors, elders, deacons, small group leaders) or not – we receive instruction and encouragement on both our posture and behavior toward one another. From Peter we hear both how those in authority should treat others, and also how those “younger” are to respond and live. Peter wraps it up with giving us all a clear directive.
God cares about how those in the church treat each other. We have read painful stories of leaders who have abused their power. We have experienced our own pain in the church. As leaders, we have also felt the sting from others who were overly critical instead of yielding humbling. Peter makes it pretty clear how those in the church should interact.
He gives us simple imagery again. Clothe yourselves. Just as you would get dressed in the morning. Just as you would put socks and shoes on, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another” Matthew Henry writes, “Humility is the great preserver of peace and order in all Christian churches and societies, consequently pride is the great disturber of them, and the cause of most dissensions and breaches in the church.”
But what exactly is humility and why is it so important? Oxford dictionary says it is a modest or low view of one’s own importance”. Scripture would suggest that the true definition of humility is bound up in who God is. Paul writes, “Jesus humbled Himself…” We cannot truly understand the humility Peter wants without looking at Jesus. “Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men” It would seem humility has something to do with considering others better than ourselves, serving them, not insisting on our rights, or demanding what is “ours”.
If humility is wrapped up in our Lord it would make sense that He would oppose the proud- those who are not wrapped up in Him. The prideful ultimately believe that they do not need Him, or that they do not want to really follow Him down this path of humility. The crazy reality is what often drives us to our pride is fear and insecurity. God seems to foresee this. He says, instead of turning to pride in your “anxieties”, cast them on me.
“Lord, could this be true? Have you not only humbled yourself, gave up life itself for us, but also desire for us to cast more upon You? It’s too much! Haven’t you paid enough of the price?
You are truly a humble God.
You choose to take on our anxieties, to care for us, when you are not obligated.
You do this so that we may be free from pride or shame.
Help us to fully receive what you have offered.
Let us cast our anxieties upon you.
And let it move us to humility and awe as we consider your kindness, grace, and power to us.
Join me in this prayer and in moving toward one another with the humility of Christ by His grace. Let’s worship this humble God and King together this Sunday.
RPC Director of Care and Connection
1 Peter 5:1-7 ESV
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,[a] not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;[b] not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 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.”6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.