God gives Grace to the Humble

1 Peter 5:5-7 ESV

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

Humility is lowliness of mind, modesty, a renouncing of pride, and having a humble (proper, honest, fair) opinion of oneself. As followers of Jesus Christ it involves complete dependence on the Lord Jesus for and in all things. It means we are no longer reliant on the flesh, but on God. It is freedom from pride and arrogance. And it is having the mind of God about ourselves.

To clothe ourselves with humility means that we apply humility to our lives. We put humility into practice. We don’t fake it. It has to be genuine, from the heart. We must become humble, and we do that by renouncing prideful thoughts and by accepting the truth, and by living the truth and applying the truth to our hearts, minds, thinking, and behaviors, by God’s grace.

So, if we are humble towards one another, we are not going to exalt ourselves over others. Now, this does not mean that we don’t present the truth of the gospel or that we take on sinful practices so that others will think we are just like them and that we are not being self-righteous. But we are to have an honest view of who we are and of our total dependency on God. And we should always give God the glory for the good inside of us.

Now, we go through lots of things in this life, and life is not always fair, is it? Sometimes we get accused of things we did not do or we are treated unfairly. And sometimes we are to combat the lies with the truth, as did Paul, and as did Jesus. But sometimes we just have to let things go, knowing that people are going to think what they want. So, we have to guard against wanting to defend ourselves just so that we look good to others.

1 Peter 5:8-9 ESV

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

Now, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, and we are walking in his ways and in his truth and in his counsel, our enemy, the devil (Satan) is going to come against us. His goal indeed is to devour us. And so he will try to instill his thoughts in our minds, and he will try to get us to doubt God and his word, and he will try to convince us that we need to take matters into our own hands rather than trusting our lives into the hands of God.

So, we need to resist the devil like Jesus did when the devil was tempting him in the desert. Jesus responded to the devil with the word of God, with Scripture. We can get into such messes when we try to fight off the devil with our own thinking and in anger or with weak emotions. We need to put on (apply to our lives, put into action) the armor of God (Eph 6:10-20).

And the devil is going to use other humans against us, too, to try to trip us up with our words, or to try to get us afraid, or to attack us falsely, or to do evil against us. And in our flesh we may want to try to defend ourselves, which is appropriate sometimes (examples of Jesus and Paul), depending on the circumstances or on what we are hoping to accomplish through it. But we need to be listening to the Lord and not go ahead of God.

Basically, we need to make certain we are not following our own emotions and that we are not reacting in pride, but that we are responding to the devil’s assaults as the Lord would want us to, which sometimes means saying nothing. Jesus knew when to speak and when to remain silent, and we need the wisdom of God to do the same. And I mean “We”.

But in all of this we are to remain faithful to the Lord, and we are to continue to stand on the word of truth and to never compromise truth, morality, and righteousness, no matter what others think about us. Yes, we are going to be called names. Yes, they will accuse us of being self-righteous, prideful, hateful, intolerant, and of being legalistic, but we need to remain faithful to the Lord and to the truth of the gospel and give them over to the Lord.

1 Peter 5:10-11 ESV

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Jesus said that if we are his disciples (his followers) that we will be treated as he was treated, and so he is our example in how to respond to mistreatment. But let me say here that many people quote a passage of Scripture from the gospels from when Jesus was on trial and when subsequently he was crucified for our sins which says, “But Jesus remained silent” (Matt 26:63). Well, he wasn’t silent the whole time. He said plenty. He spoke right after that (Matt 26:64) and before that (Matt 26:55-56).

The point of what I am saying here is that we are not always to be silent. There is a time to say nothing but there are plenty of times when we need to speak, even in defense of ourselves and of our ministry, again as did Jesus, and as did Paul. But we need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to know when to speak and when to not, and it helps to evaluate our own motives for speaking, too, or for remaining silent.

It also helps to have a biblical view of our suffering and an understanding of why we must suffer, and what purpose it serves in our lives. And we must accept the will of God for our lives, and accept his sovereignty over our lives, too. And we must trust him with our circumstances and pray for the correct response to suffering. Sometimes we suffer because God is trying to teach us something we would not learn otherwise.

And the encouragement here is that God has a purpose in our suffering, and it is to grow us in our walks of faith, and to make us holy, and to train us in righteousness, and to humble us, and to teach us perseverance, and for us to learn to depend on God and not on ourselves, etc. And he will do good in our lives through it for his glory if we let him do his work in our lives through our suffering and if we do not resist him and go our own way.

And one day he is going to return for us or we will die and we will be with him forever and our suffering will be no more. All our pain will be gone. Our tears he will wipe from our eyes. No more temptation from the enemy, either, for there will be no evil in heaven but only good, and only what gives glory and honor to God. One day he will deliver us from this evil world and we will be in his glorious presence forevermore.

Mary, Did You Know?

Songwriters: Greene Lee Rufus / Lowry Mark Alan

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re
Holding is the great, I Am

Mary, did you know?

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