“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (I Peter 5:5).
While reading the above verse in my morning devotions, I paused to think just how often we hear or use words like humility, gentleness, or meekness in our day-to-day conversations. The truthful answer is, seldom. For we live in a world that is saturated with self-promotion, or more simply stated, “Do you see me?”
In his first epistle, the Apostle John spoke of, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (I John 2:16). In the vernacular of the days, it can be stated this way: Lust of the flesh, if it feels good, do it. Lust of the eyes, I have to have one of those. The boastful pride of life, do you see me?
One of the best descriptions of humility that I have ever read, says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” This is epitomized in the words of the Apostle Paul when he said, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Today, these words sound so foreign to our ears, for the mantra of the world around us is, do everything you one can do to get to the top, to be seen, to be heard, to push one’s way to the front of the line. Willfully choosing the second place is not part of our natural human nature. It was Jesus who said, “And He sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35).
The sobering part of I Peter 5:5 is the phrase, “…for God is opposed to the proud.” The Greek word that is translated opposed in this verse means, to set oneself against. I do not know about you, but the last person that I need to be actively opposing me, is God. But that is just what He says He will do if we do not walk in humility.
Yet, on the other hand, He makes an incredible promise to the one who will humble themselves under His mighty hand. Listen to this, “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (I Peter 5:6). Our problem with that statement is that we want to choose the time and the place of our exaltation. But when God is free to do that, when it happens, He will be the one to receive the glory.
And, my fellow Christian, that is why we live and breathe and have our being, for His glory. “Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).