1 Peter 5:6-7, “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.”
Whenever Christians face discrimination or persecution, they experience pressure that may cause them to act in a manner consistent with the gospel they believe. Peter’s concern here is to show Christians how they can stand fast in the midst of suffering. During our study of 1 Peter, we have seen the importance of consistent Christian behavior in the face of challenging circumstances. Whether we are elders in the church or not, every Christian is required to serve one another in humility, even in the face of difficulty (1 Peter 5:1-5).
The Lord promises that when His people are humble, He will pour out even more grace upon them- grace that will enable them to preserve through all of their circumstances. In 1 Peter 5:6-7, Peter instructs Christians to humble themselves before the Lord. When Christians do this, they are assured, the Lord will exalt them at the proper time (1 Peter 5:6).
Let’s be honest, who is good at humility? The answer, no one. Not a single one of us. The greatness of this command is that we have Jesus. Without Jesus, there is no way you and I would humble ourselves. Let’s also be honest, without humility; we will not submit to God-appointed authority, such as the delegated authority He has appointed to His undershepherds to shepherd His people in the local church. This is why God’s people must submit to the mighty hand of the Lord. When we, for example, rest in the providence of God, we acknowledge we will not ultimately be able to understand why difficult things happen to Christians but that all things have been ordained for our ordained good (Romans 8:28). The result of this is God’s people will patiently endure any suffering the mighty hand of the Lord permits, knowing, God will exalt those who are humble and reward them for being humble (1 Peter 5:6).
Humility does not come naturally to you and me as Christians. But one reason God’s people should pursue it is that we know God cares for His people (1 Peter 5:7). Christians can cast their anxieties on the Lord knowing He loves them and will faithfully bring them through whatever trials they experience, no matter how long or difficult they may be. When God’s people cast themselves upon the Lord, they become free to love and serve others with the humility He requires of them. Such knowledge means we no longer have to worry about ourselves or be obsessed with our performance for others. Instead, we are to be focused on serving the Lord from a place of humility. John Calvin says, “for all those who rest not on God’s providence must necessarily be in constant turmoil and violently assail others. We ought the more dwell on this thought, that God cares for us, in order, first, that we may have peace within; and, secondly, that we may be humble and meek towards men.”
In light of discussing humility and the sovereign care of the Lord, it’s tempting to ask the question of you my readers, “Have you humbled yourself before the Lord?” The real question you should ask though is, “Have you Dave humbled yourself before the Lord and continue to be humbled by the Lord?” And the answer is yes there have been many times in the course of my Christian life where I’ve been humbled and even been humiliated before the Lord.
When I confessed my addiction to pornography back in 2001 to my pastor and sought help, it cost something, but I also kept something. It cost me my pride to confess my sin of pornography, and it also cost a pastoral internship. But what did I gain? I kept my integrity. I demonstrated that I cared not about whether I gained a position but the Lord Himself and to grow in His grace. There have been other times in my life also where I’ve had to humble myself and confess my sin. For example, when I get in a fight with my wife since it’s my job to lead my wife lovingly, it’s also my job to lead in repentance and confession of my sin to my wife.
I have often taught men at men’s retreats that they need to apologize to their wives specifically. The response I usually get is this, “What is your wife’s response to that?” She would have you know she wants to know I know precisely what I did was wrong and why I did it, and why I’m apologizing. The same is true for your wife men. Your wife wants to know why you did it not just why you are sorry for it. The nature of true repentance is not just being sorry for your sin but turning from it to Christ alone on a daily basis.
The Lord sees, knows, and loves the beloved of the Lord. With that said nothing is beyond the gaze of the Lord. We cannot fool Him into thinking we are humble. He sees right through you and me today. Whether it’s a failure to repent or living like the Lord doesn’t matter He will bring low every person, particularly Christians who think they are all that and more and are indispensable to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. He has done this with me many times when I’ve had this attitude, and He will do so with you also.
You see you, and I need the Lord Jesus. We not only have a great need of Jesus, but we also have a tremendous daily need of the Lord Jesus. With that said, the Lord Jesus meets our daily need with the superabounding grace of God. It’s one thing to say you are convinced of this but does your life daily reflect this? I encourage you to ask those close to you, including your spouse if you are married, or someone else if you aren’t if humility is increasing in your life or not. And if not, ask for help. That shows real humility that you desire to submit more to the Lordship of Jesus. It also demonstrates that you understand that all of your life is in the sovereign care of the Lord.
One last question for you as we wrap up this article, “Have you entrusted all your anxieties and cares into the hand of the Lord, confident that He will take care of you?” Please take some time to think today about a particular worry you have perhaps concerning your work, children, family, job, or any persistent fears or worries you might have. Then commit them to the Lord Jesus today and find someone in your local church who will walk with you through your anxiety, worries, and fears with the help of the Lord and the Word of God.