Read 1 Peter 5: 5-9
God is calling us to be proactive with our faith so we can grow and be mature. This requires us to be faithful which requires us to submit and to be humble. The result is respect, cooperation, unity, community, and the power of His Fruit at work. But, if we do not submit, have disregard for unity, or have no respect for authority, our sinful nature will win out; the result will be quarrels (because of pride), discord, and shame. We have to see that God wants us to submit; this is best for us both individually and collectively as a church. Being a Christian and a church is about relying on Him, not ourselves; it is about His mighty power at work in us--not our feeble ways! His favor and power will be poured out on us when we are faithful, obedient, and meek (strength under control).
· Be warned that pride is the opposite of God's call, and that it will destroy relationships and churches fast and furiously; that is why God hates it so much! Thus, to be confident in Jesus and be used by Him, we need Him to empower us. With this mindset and empowering, we do not need to worry or fret because our mind is not on our status, situations, possessions, or experiences, but on Christ! This comes about when we realize that Jesus does indeed care, and loves us ever so deeply!
· We are called to be submissive! The Greek is "hupotasso" which means to line up under. It is a military term that means to "get in line" under the leadership of those who are more mature.
· To submit also mean to respect especially to elders, who were considered very important in Judaism, as those with more experience in life were considered to have more knowledge and wisdom; the younger people should learn from them and take heed. In practice this means having the elders speak first and younger people listen. It is about the attitude of submission, because young people are inclined to be aggressive and enamored with their own will and ideas, and thus tend to be stubborn and ignore older, wiser people.
· Clothe yourselves. "Enkomboomai" literally means to cover something on yourself with something like a work apron. It refers to the apron that a slave would put on over his clothes to keep them clean. It means to submit to one another by putting on humble service just as Jesus did in John 13:1-18!
· Humility means our correct understanding of who we are in Christ and how we are to go before God. This does not mean we are to hate ourselves; rather, it means to have a right respect and relationship with God (Prov. 3:5). Our attitude toward God will greatly affect our attitude in how we communicate and how we act. These will be revealed by the motives of our heart. We learn humility by the spiritual disciplines of being in His Word, and practice--before God--our dependence on Him, seeking of His will, and being in prayer. Our motivation is to be the realization that we are saved by grace, and kept by His love (1 Kings 8:58; Psalm 25; Mark 1:7; Luke 9:23; 18:9-14; 22:27; Romans 12:3; Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 1:18; Phil. 2:8; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:3-5).
· Humble yourselves. God opposes the proud, is a quote from Proverbs 3:34, and refers to the irrationality of foolish people who do not use wisdom, but choose rather to seek folly and thus bring adversity upon themselves. This also is refers to submitting to the sovereignty of God (Proverbs 1:24-33; 6:16; 8:13, Isaiah 57:15; 66:2; Micah 6:8). We remove our pride by "clinging" to the cross, confessing our sins, and seeking forgiveness from God and others whom we have offended. Our discipline in the faith will help strengthen our walk as we continue to grow in Him.
· He will lift you up. God alone deserves the right to be exalted and honored. God is the only One to exalt us! This is an essential attitude we must take before effective Christian character, maturity, or spiritual growth can be possible. God's plan for our life is far better than any desire--evil or good--we could ever have. His promise is relief from persecutions, either in this life or our life to come. The application is to trust Christ, to keep praying, and trust in our Lord, knowing that His love for us is real and true. God is merciful and is moved by our struggles; He does care (Ex. 2:23-25; 3:7-9; Jug. 2:18; 10:16; Psalm 107:9; Prov. 3:34; Isa. 2:11-12, 17; Ezek. 17:24; 21:26; Luke 1:52-53).Thus, it is logical and beneficial to be humble in Him (2 Chron. 7:14-15; Prov. 3:34; 25:6-7; Isa. 2:11-12; 5:15; Matt. Mt 18:4; 23:12 Luke 11:43; 14:11; 18:14; 20:46; 1 Pet. 5:62)!
· God's mighty hand means God's covering power, God's controlling power, and God's sovereignty; God is in charge. The mighty hand of God is the loving, caring hand of God in charge of us. It can be a shelter, a deliverance, a testing, or a chastening. God's mighty hand is always His best love for us so we become our best for His glory (Duet 26:8; Phil 4:13)! So do not debate with God; humble yourself under His will, under His Word, and under His power.
· Humility is mutual. When we are faithful and humble to God and to others, it builds our character and community. This parallels James 4:6-10. James puts the emphasis on poverty and oppression while Peter's emphasis is on our being disillusioned from persecution and subsequently falling away from God.
· Cast all your anxiety/your cares to Him. Being humble denotes being active in our faith and trusting in Him, so we trust God to direct our lives. When He is in control, we need not worry. Life is not about our circumstances; rather, it is about how we learn and grow in Him by our trust, faith, and obedience! It also means being repentant of one's behaviors and attitudes; but, furthermore, it means that being totally dependant upon God produces a better attitude that creates better actions.
We are to accept His mighty hand; then, we will be lifted up. We are to endure the pain and difficulties that life brings, for He will lift us up. We are to endure the trouble and trials, for He will lift us up. We should never think that our circumstances are too difficult; rather, we should seek to cast our anxiety on Him because we have the confidence that He does care for us. Take heed; God will not lift us up until we are ready for it. Our grace came after the cross. Our crown comes after the cross. Suffering comes before glory.
Humbleness and submission help us to be accountable and to honestly assess our actions and performance. This attitude of humility is a parallel to an attitude of submission. Submission attacks self-promoting posturing and pride; the attitude of humility attacks and nullifies the self-love mentality that causes pride. Humility minimizes arrogance and removes pride. It is the misunderstanding of our fallen nature and weaknesses that causes us to think we are better than we are, and that causes us to strive to lift ourselves above others and God. Humility admits that, most importantly God, but also others are responsible for our achievements. Humbleness enables us to be a teachable person who is willing to have a good attitude of submission and servant-hood, a person who confesses sin and remembers how Christ served us! Humility is not self-hatred or having a "poor me" attitude. In contrast, arrogance lifts our self-interests and self-sufficiencies, which seem necessary and good. However, when we are self-sufficient, we not only fail to see our need for redemption, but also fail to see our need for growth in spiritual matters. Therefore, self becomes the god, and any work of the One True God is muted and put aside.
1.What do you do when you are anxious, worried or stressed? What should you do? How does this passage help you?
2.What does it mean to you to be mature and faithful? What do you think is required to submit and to be humble?
3.How does humbleness promote respect, cooperation, unity, and community? Consider your work, school, family, and church! Why does God honor these? Why would Christians--especially those in leadership--not want to use these foundational building stones of submission and humility?
4. What blocks humility from working and being exhibited in you? How does humility give God the "power line" to empower you with His Fruit? What would your life and church look like with these percepts at work?
5.What happens when we do not submit, we have disregard for unity, or no respect for authority? How does this collectively affect a church?
6.Why do you suppose that His favor and power will be poured out on us when we are faithful, obedient, and meek? How does being confident in Jesus help you in this?
7.Do you worry? Why? Why do you not need to worry or fret? What happens when your mind is on your status, situation, possessions, or experiences and not on Christ?
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
© 2005, R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.discipleshiptools.org/