Humble Yourselves

Text: 1 Peter 5:5-7

Humility is a tricky subject. As soon as you think you’re humble, that’s usually a sign that you’re not. But humility is not constantly degrading yourself. In fact, humility is not about you. Tim Keller says, “Humility is only achieved as a byproduct of understanding, believing, and marveling in the gospel of grace.” That means the more we see Jesus, the more we gaze upon the cross, and understand the gospel and apply the gospel and celebrate the gospel, the more our lives will center upon Christ and not upon us.

That’s the essence of living in biblical humility. Because of what Jesus did for us, taking our punishment on the cross, freeing us from the burden of our sin, we are now able to live lives that focus on others and not on ourselves.

And that’s what Peter is teaching in our text today. Last week, we only focused on the first 4 verses, and the instructions for pastors to lead with humility. Today, we are going to focus on verses 5-7 and how Christians are to respond to their pastors and one another in humility.

1. Follow your pastors. 

[5] Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders…

While Peter is addressing the younger Christians, he is not saying that only people who are young in age should submit to their pastors and church leaders. We see in other areas of the NT that everyone – young and old – are called to be teachable and humbly submit to their pastors. (See also Hebrews 13:17)

“Be subject to your elders”, to your pastors, does not mean you will agree with everything your pastors say and do. When it comes to what a pastor teaches or preaches, you need to see for yourself that it’s in the Bible. Following your pastors means you take seriously what we preach. It means you have a heart bend to trust, to respect, to support, and to serve those who are called by God to care for your soul. You are praying for us and joining with us on mission to see the gospel spread and the lost saved. It means being teachable, being open to correction. It means encouraging them, and being encouraged by them.

2.  Serve one another.

[5b] Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

When he says, “clothe yourselves” with humility, it’s very likely that Peter had in mind the time when Jesus takes a servant’s apron, ties it around his waist, and washes each of the disciple’s feet, a task usually reserved for the lowest ranking servant of a household. Jesus was teaching them humility, not just by telling them, but by showing them.

True humility is shown with action. It is shown by giving up our comfort zone and our convenience, and serving one another. It means thinking of others more often than you think of yourself. Being more concerned with the needs of others than your own needs. Being aware of what others are going through and how you can serve them in their time of need.

Humility in serving one another means living out that grace, that forgiveness we have been given, and give it to one another. It means we confess our sins to one another, quickly and completely. It means we forgive one another, quickly and completely.

3. Humble yourself before God. 

[6] Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, [7] casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

It all comes back to the heart. To submit to pastors and to serve one another, all of that comes from a heart that is first joyfully submitted to God. That’s the life of the Christian – joyful submission and trust to God Himself which shows itself in our worship and adoration of Him, and in our affection to one another.

Humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God means we do not lean on our own strength to get by, or our own ability to “grin and bear it” under life’s pressures and trials. It means we admit to our own weakness and our need for God’s strength.

And trusting in God’s strength means you will be “exalted”, or “lifted up”. God Himself will sustain you. When you think you can’t go on, when your last bit of strength is gone, when you are hitting a wall with your kids, when it seems like you’re holding onto the last thread in your marriage, when you can’t seem to be free of that sin that ensnares you over and over – you humble yourself before God. You lean on His strength. And He exalts you, He lifts you up.

Pride says you don’t need anyone, and you can do it alone. But humility says I can’t do this alone. I can’t bear this alone. I’m going to throw my anxieties, my worries, my fears and insecurities – I’m throwing them all on Jesus. His shoulders are big enough to handle it, and he cares for me.





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