We are to Humble Ourselves

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.”

How do we clothe ourselves with humility toward one another? I think one of the ways is in being honest with others about ourselves, to not put on airs, and to not pretend we are better than we are. It doesn’t mean that we tell everything about ourselves to others, but that we don’t lie to people or put on a performance or give off a false impression. And if we have made a mistake, we should own up to it, and not try to hide it out of pride.

For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. And who are the proud? They are the self-reliant, the self-made, the selfish. They are those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord in surrender of their lives to Jesus Christ, because they want to maintain control over their own lives. They don’t want to let go and let God. They want to be their own god, in reality. And they don’t ever want to be told that they are wrong or that they are doing wrong, because they don’t want anyone else telling them what they should or should not do. So they are self-made.

But we are not to be like the proud. We are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt us, not we ourselves. And to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God begins with us being crucified with Christ in death to sin, and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And it involves surrender of our lives to the Lord to do his will and to walk in his ways in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).

And we are to cast all our anxieties on the Lord, because he cares for us, and because we are not to be anxious (fearful), because that is a sign of lack of faith in the Lord Jesus and what he can do in our lives and in our circumstances. And fretting over anything never makes anything better, but usually only makes things much worse. So we are not to be anxious or fearful about anything in this life, but we are to give those over to the Lord, trusting him completely to work it all out for our good.

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.”

To be sober-minded means to be serious-minded about God and about the teachings of the Scriptures. Yet, it seems not too many Christians these days, at least here in America, really believe the Scriptures and the warnings given to Christians, or they just don’t take them seriously. Probably this is because so many professing Christians have bought into a diluted gospel which makes no requirements of the “believers” in Jesus to repent of their sins and to walk in obedience to the Lord. So there is no fear of God before their eyes. Too many people too nonchalant about their walks of faith.

But we are to be serious-minded about God and his word, and we are to be watchful. And to be watchful means that we are not just going through life casually doing mostly the things we like to do without much regard for God and for what he wants for our lives. It means we are on guard, and we are armored up with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20), and we have our eyes wide open and we are paying attention to what is going on all around us so that we aren’t caught off guard and risk falling back into sin.

For we have an adversary, an enemy, the devil (Satan) who is out to capture us in his net of deceit. He is out to devour us, and he has all kinds of tricks up his sleeves, so to speak. He is full of deception and trickery and manipulations and mind control, etc. If he can’t get us one way, he will try another. So we have to be on the lookout for him and for his tricks, which will not happen if we are filling our minds with the garbage of this world. We have to bathe our minds and hearts with the word of God and be walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands.

For you know what the Scriptures teach about God’s grace? His grace, which is bringing us salvation trains us to renounce (say ‘No’ to) ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14). So if we want to resist Satan, we have to be living godly and holy lives to the glory of God. We can’t do this in our flesh, for the flesh is opposed to the Spirit. Only in the strength of the Lord can we resist Satan, and only if we are walking in obedience to the Lord and if we are not dabbling with what is of the flesh and not of God.

1 Peter 5:9-11 ESV

“.. knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 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.”

If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, Satan is going to be against us, especially if we are walking in obedience to our Lord and if we are sharing the truth of the gospel of our salvation out in the public, and if we are publicly refuting Satan’s lies, too. The more we oppose our enemy, the more he will find ways to try to oppose us. For we are a threat to his kingdom because we are exposing his kingdom for what it is and we are telling people the truth with regard to God’s heavenly kingdom.

So the suffering being spoken of here is directed at suffering at the hand of our enemy via whatever God permits him to throw at us. For Satan can do nothing to us unless God allows it, like he did with Job. And God allows it to take place for a purpose, usually to humble us, to teach us what we need to learn, to grow us in our walks of faith, to test our faith, and to teach us perseverance and to produce steadfastness of faith in us. But God is with us who are with him, and he will carry us through to the very end.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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