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God is with you - Part 34

1 Peter 5v5-7

Humility and Faith

16th February 2018

1 Peter 5v5-7
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

In the preceding verses, 1 Peter 5v1-4, Peter has been talking about elders - church leaders - urging them to be eager to serve and examples to the flock. Christian leaders should be Christ-like in their leadership. In the same way, those who are not in leadership should be Christ-like members of the church, and those who are young should have a godly respect for those who are older.

Of course, that's easier if the older members deserve respect, but the gospel teaches us to give people more than they deserve. If God gave us only what we deserve, none of us would be saved. Christ-like love gives much, much more than people deserve. That's why it's called grace. And we are called to respect our elders.

Young or old, male or female, leader or follower (and we're all followers really) Peter tell us, "clothe yourselves with humility towards one another". The young should be humble before the old, and the old should be humble before the young. Women should be humble with men, and men should be humble with women. Followers should be humble towards leaders, and leaders should be humble towards followers.

There are many good reasons to be humble, but Peter mentions only one of them here. He reminds that Proverbs 3v34 says "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (although the NIV rendering of that verse is slightly different, its meaning remains the same).

This is a difficult teaching for those among us who struggle to shake off worldly values. Some of us misunderstand humility, thinking it's weakness. But Christ, the Lion of Judah, is humble (Matthew 11v29). And for those of us who acknowledge God's sovereignty and Christ's leadership, humility is a vitally important Christian virtue. And God rewards the humble.

It can be difficult for an immature Christian to humble yourself under God's mighty hand but, if you do, God will lift you up in due time. That's how it works. How many Christian's lives are ineffective, frustrating and unsatisfying because we refuse to humble ourselves? But God will pour out His blessing on humble believers.

Mary understood this:

Luke 1v46-53
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

As I say, that's how it works. The way up is down. God bring down rulers and lifts up the humble. God sends the rich away empty but fills the hungry with good things. Do you believe this? Or are you one of those who are proud in their inmost thoughts? Perhaps your church doesn't realize you're proud. Perhaps you hide your pride away in your heart. The person you're hurting the most is you. You're missing out on God's blessing.

Matthew 3v3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 3v5
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

It is possible to choose meekness and humility, if we trust God and look to Him to raise us up and fill us with good things, and then wait patiently for Him to move in our lives. We don't need to fight for good things, we just need to patiently receive what God gives. We can trust Him.

Dear Christian brother or sister, Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. God will not let you down.