If you're as old as I am and have ever been to church camp, I bet you know this song: Humble yourself in the side of the Lord, and He will lift you up, higher and higher…
It's scripture, of course. Sung in a round by the campfire. I now have a sudden urge to slap at mosquitoes.
At the moment, I'm working through a study on the life of David--written by Beth Moore. Yesterday's lesson had to do with pride. Beth asked a question, (like how I'm on first name basis with the woman?)
"What can you do to stay humble before the Lord?"
I think it's a fair assessment to say that we all battle with pride. It comes in many forms. I also think it's fair to say that leaders, teachers, anyone with a position may struggle even more so.
So how do we stay humble? The truth is, too-big-for-the-britches thoughts are going to invade our minds. Accolades and pats on the back for stellar performances are going to rise like delicious tingles on our skin. No one can escape them. Not me. Not you.
After reading that question, I decided to prowl the Word for practical applications. I'd be willing to guess, they'll be beneficial to you as well. So I'm going to roll out a series on How to Stay Humble.
Today let's look at 1 Peter 5: 5-11.
How to stay humble before the Lord:
Let's look at our main text first.
"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."
Who humbles us?
We do. It won't come automatically when we accept Christ as our Savior. It's a daily process, sometimes minute by minute.
It will come under the mighty hand of the Lord. Not above. Not beside as in partnership--there are things the Lord partners with us in. But when it comes to knowing our place...
We're below. He's above.
This passage in Peter is about submission. And boy isn't being submissive difficult! We live in a world where we have the opportunity to be our own gods. We live in a democracy. We have the right to vote, the right to an opinion, the right to decide, the right to speak freely regardless of what it is that spews out. We have more outlets to voice and present our rights than ever before.
Yes, our bodies live in a democracy. But if you are a child of God, your heart resides in a Monarchy. A place where you bow before your Majesty, and serve Him. A place where you can freely share your thoughts, but at the end of the day--His will stands. And it is always right. Always fair. Even when your fleshly tent that dwells in the land of democracy says, "That is not fair! I. I. I. I."
The second half of that verse is typically quoted on its own in relation to giving your anxieties and issues to God because He loves you. That is true. But it is tied to humbling yourself.
Because when we do anything less than give what we can't control or even things we can to ourselves and not God--it's exalting ourselves. It's pride. Jesus shoulders our cares. When we try to take that from Him, we come out from under His mighty hand and lift up ourselves.
We fret about jobs, finances, dreams, sickness, global warming, war, government offices, our kids, choices, insert worry or anxiety here ______________.
But if we put it in the mighty hand who has control. Peace. Mercy. Grace. Love. Perfect will for our lives, we are humbling ourselves. We are acknowledging who is King and who is not. We are bowing in submissiveness. When we do this, God will lift us up--in due time. Not necessarily our time because it's not about us. It's about Him and His glory.
Why do we do this? Let's skip up a verse. The word "therefore" links this scripture with the one above.
1 Peter 5:5 (We're moving backwards.)
"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (This is not saving grace. Humbleness is not a requirement of salvation. It's a free gift of grace.)
I do not want God opposing me and that is what that word "resists" means. If I don't submit, He'll make sure eventually I do--one way or another. Generally, it isn't pleasant. :) I'd rather grasp it now and humble myself with the help of the Holy Spirit. What about you?
I think it would be wise to "therefore humble yourselves under…"
Let's see the context in which Peter is sharing this verse. "Likewise, you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. 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."
That word "submit" in the Hebrew means "to arrange under, to obey, to yield to one's admonition or advice."
Peter is talking about submission in this passage. He even gives elders their does of medicine to humble them. 1 Peter 5:1-4 "Shepherd the flock…not for dishonest gain but eagerly, not as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock…"
Wise people seek good counsel. Foolish people think they know it all. The proud believe they have all the answers. The humble know they need godly advice and direction.
If you can't even submit to godly authority, how will you submit to God? I challenge you to really think about that. "I do what God says, but no person is going to tell me what to do." Is that doing what God says based on this verse? Could there be a root of pride?
To writers: Do we really think we can write a book all by ourselves, never seeking other writers who are godly and wise and can offer suggestions, ideas, and help? Does it make it less of our book? Does it mean we don't get all the glory because the plot twist actually came from someone else? Could I suggest if you're seeking all the glory, you have a pride issue to begin with? Let us examine ourselves.
Not just writers. All of us. Whose hand are we under? Are we under anyone's? Do we buck godly leaders? Do we try to take on our own worries, anxieties and cares?
The enemy is waiting for us to puff up just a little. One hurt he can play off of. One tiny sniff of cockiness and he pounces. He spots pride easily. It's how he fell in the first place.
"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8 The very verse after he instructs us to humble ourselves, to submit.
Peter knew better than anyone that a scrap of pride caused a feeding frenzy among the enemy. If you aren't paying attention, the enemy will have your flesh between his teeth, shake you about like a rag doll, devour his fill and leave you a bloody, shredded carcass on the side of the road.
Maybe that's you right now. You're weak. You feel as though you've bled out.
"May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, and settle you." 1 Peter 5:10
You may feel drained. But the blood of Christ never runs out, never runs dry, never withholds, never weakens, never waters down, never ever loses its power.
You are not alone.
"Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." 1 Peter 5: 9 And sisterhood!
Repent if you've been prideful. If you haven't submitted to the King in all areas. "For if you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 And that includes pride.
Now that is a King worth bowing the knee to!
Next week, we'll discover another way to keep ourselves humble! Hope you'll join me.
Do you struggle with areas of pride? How do you keep yourself humble?