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? What is humility? It is lowliness of mind, modesty, lowliness of human pride, having a humble yet honest and fair opinion of oneself. For belittling oneself in front of others is just inverted pride, for it still focuses attention on oneself, unless we are talking of true repentance here. For although we should not think too highly of ourselves, we should also not degrade ourselves and think too lowly, but we are to think with sober judgment, for we are all God’s creation.
Basically, humility takes the attention off oneself and it gives it to other people. Now, this is not saying we can’t talk about ourselves. I mean Paul talked about his experiences all the time. He told his stories of the things that happened to him. So, we can certainly share our experiences with others, and we can share what is going on in our own lives, and we can share our testimonies. But we should not be braggards who just talk about ourselves and who don’t inquire about others nor listen to their stories.
And humility is not refusing to speak the truth in love. Humility is not afraid to stand on what is right and to speak against what is evil. For example, Jesus was humble and he was meek but he was not weak when it came to the subject of evil people doing evil to other people. He spoke very strongly to the Pharisees, and not just once. So did Paul and so did Peter and so did Stephen, and Stephen was Spirit-filled, godly, and had the face of an angel, and yet he spoke strongly to the religious hypocrites, too.
So, it is not pride to speak the truth in love, and to sometimes speak it strongly when that is called for. Now it can be pride if we are speaking out of prideful hearts, but the act of speaking the truth in love to people and addressing the subject of sin sometimes in strong terms does not mean you are prideful or that you are not humble. Being humble, in fact, means you are willing to speak the truth in love and to be hated and mistreated in return, and to be thought ill of, when your heart is in the right place.
And humble means that even though you are in the right, and what you are doing is according to the will of God and according to his word, you are willing to be mistreated and thought evil of for standing on truth and on righteousness. It doesn’t mean you never come to your own defense. Jesus did. Paul did. Peter and John did. But you are willing to have people think evil of you because you stand for the truth. You will do the right thing even if the right thing is criticized by others as the wrong thing.
And then you trust God with all these difficult circumstances in your lives over which you have no control. You cast all your cares and concerns upon him and you rest in him. If your consciences are clear, and you know in your heart that you did right and not wrong, but others don’t or won’t see it, then you just have to release it into the hands of God and let him work in your heart and the hearts of other people, and you have to trust that God knows best and that he will work all things together for your good if you love him.
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.”
Now, this is the absolute truth! I know it from personal experience! I have an enemy who is like a roaring lion seeking to devour me because every day I speak the truth of God’s word on the internet where people from many parts of the world can read them (the writings) or hear them (the videos). And Satan doesn’t want the truth of God’s word to get out to the people. And that is why he has convinced so many professing Christians to buy into his lies. He is trying as hard as he may to obliterate the truth.
So we do need to be serious-minded Christians who take God and his word to heart, for so many people today are believing the lies and not the truth, and many of the lies are half-truths, so they are disguised as truth but they are twisted truth. And we absolutely do need to be watchful for there are so many deceiving spirits out there speaking lies to the people through the mouths of pastors of church congregations and through social media memes and through some written Christian devotions, etc.
So, we need to be people of God who are students of the Scriptures, who study them in context, and who apply the teachings of Christ and of the apostles, which are for the church, to our daily lives. And then we need to be those who are testing what we are reading and hearing from other professing Christians and from pastors and evangelists and those who call themselves prophets or apostles and those who write and publish Christian literature. For just because it is called “Christian” it doesn’t mean it is truth.
1 Peter 5:10-11 ESV
“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.”
And yes, if we are teaching or sharing the truth of God’s word with others, in context, and if we are confronting the lies and if we are exposing them for what they are, then we are going to be opposed, and we are going to be persecuted, and so we will suffer for doing what is right at the hands of mostly people who deliberately and habitually are doing what they know is wrong. Yet some of our persecutors may be well-meaning people who think they are doing right and who have no evil intent.
But through the things that we suffer, God is shaping and molding us into his likeness. He is pruning and purifying us so we will share in his holiness. It is painful, yes, but the end result is for our maturity in Christ and for our steadfastness of faith, and for us to be moldable clay in the hands of the Potter ready to do his will, even if everyone opposes us and turns against us, and even if all desert us and no one stands with us and supports us. And he needs to bring us to that place to where we will stand alone for what is right even if everyone else stands for what is wrong, if that could happen.
[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.