1 Peterby David Burge
Have you ever met teenagers or young adults who seem wonderfully receptive to God's Word and to learning from their church family? They seem to sincerely respect their elders, and are good listeners. They carefully form their own views about God's Word, and yet realise they have so much to learn. They are quick to admit their shortcomings, and seem so grateful for God's grace. In a word, they have humility.
Whatever your age, how humble are you? How might you grow in humility?
Throughout Scripture, God seems to particularly bless the humble. The Law fostered humility by demanding that sin be regularly acknowledged through guilt offerings. The Prophets, Psalms, and Wisdom literature commended humility as a trait of the wise (see Isaiah 5:21; Psalm 18:27-30; Proverbs 1:5-7). And Jesus stressed the importance of humility by bringing healing to the humble who realised they were spiritually sick, rather than to those who considered themselves healthy; He calls sinners rather than the self-righteous (Matthew 9:12-13).
Having called elders to humbly shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:1-4), in today's reading Peter speaks to the young before addressing the whole church. What is the special message for the young? The young are to humbly submit to their elders (v. 5).
Peter's whole letter has urged all of us to be humble and submissive-in society, in the home, in the workplace, and in the church. A humble flock makes the elders' role much easier, and is essential for church harmony. With humility comes mutual growth and deep, loving friendships. Our church elders will make mistakes, and may not do things the way we think best, but these are the leaders God has provided to care for us.
When you get dressed each morning, why not recite 1 Peter 5:5: ″All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.'″ Whatever your clothes, don't forget to wear humility. In God's economy, humility benefits us and makes us more like Jesus, the greatest servant of all. The alternative is toxic human pride, but God and pride don't mix well.
We might be reluctant to submit to others if we are worried about the consequences. Peter seems to sense this by following yet another call to humility with an assurance: ″Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you″ (vv. 6-7)
God's care is not just emotional caring, but He is actually taking care of us. You can trust Him with all your anxiety! It takes a humble confidence in God for us to do that, but He blesses and relieves us as we do.
Some Christians cast their anxieties on God by writing in a prayer journal daily or praying in a small group. How might you develop the habit of daily casting all your anxieties on the mighty God who cares for you?
How would life be different for you if you cast your anxieties on God more regularly?