“… Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility; for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 NKJV)
How often we have heard this question asked … or even asked it ourselves … on the occasion of seeing a particular attire we did not expect to see?
I would guess we can all call to mind such an instance. Especially if you are a parent or a teacher.
My youngest grandchildren, ages 5 and 6 can evoke that question quite often as they let their imaginations dictate how they are going to portray a character or animal as they play. My older grandchildren can too as they dress in the fashionable trends of the day. And some of the folks in their grandparents’ age group can do the same. Oh, but not me of course!
Humility is a great quality and a wonderful thing to observe in other people’s lives. What about in our own lives? Is it there? Do we let others see it? Do we force others to see it?
What does it mean to be clothed with it? What does it really mean to be humble?
Peter had his ego deflated in a most vivid scene on the night of Jesus’ betrayal. This lesson surely stayed in the mind of Peter and the language he uses in our text is very reminiscent of that scene in John 13.
Having come into the upper room with Jesus and the other apostles to eat their last Passover meal together, no one volunteered to perform the servant’s role of washing the guests’ feet. So, Jesus took a towel, girded himself … put on the apron of a servant … and washed their feet. How embarrassed they all must have been!
As the Lord did, so must we be willing to gird ourselves … cover ourselves with the apron of humility … clothe ourselves to serve one another! When we are ‘clothed with humility’ we will accept whatever God offers. It will lead us to learn all of God’s will. Nothing He requires is beneath our dignity.
Service comes from humility. You see humility is the preparation for service and service is the test of humility.
Are we really willing to serve others … the Lord? If a person doesn’t feel himself to be needy and low, he will never be able and willing to help those who are.
The apostle Peter knew these early Christians he was writing to by inspiration were about to face a “fiery trial” (1 Peter 4:12) and they would need strength and courage … not of themselves … but of the Lord to face it. And that’s where genuine “humility” is desperately needed. None of us … I repeat … none of us has the ability to face suffering, pain, loss, and even our very lives … by ourselves!
This life is not about living pain-free or being successful as the world might define it, being filled with pleasures of this world. What life is supposed to be from God’s perspective is … we resolve to live every day “striving, stretching ourselves out” to become the man or woman of God that He has called us to be!
Do not misunderstand, the Bible speaks with favor of those who were blessed with things and wealth, but even they are cautioned not to put “their trust” in what they have or want to have. Timothy records these sobering and faith-building words, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11) God’s way … God’s idea of success … God’s guidance to live holy, humble, godly lives!
Allow me to point out as kindly as can be stated: Unless we choose to meet the conditions set forth in 1 Peter 5:5-6 … we cannot be able to claim the wonderful promise of 1 Peter 5:7.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6-7)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.