Protrait of Humility

“All of you clothe yourself with humility toward one another…” (v 5b)

Some Thoughts…

   So, what does a humble attitude look like?

1)     It is willing to consistently submit to authority that God has placed on one’s life.  The phrase “be subject to” is a Greek phrase that carries the meaning of an ongoing way of life.  So, as a humble follower of Christ, I submit to parents, bosses, government officials, teachers, pastors, or anyone in a position of authority over me, refusing a rebellious attitude and simply doing as I am told, not for show or to get points with others, but as a way of living my life in the presence of God who has placed the authority there.  (This is a common theme in Peter’s letter and key to our Christian witness – see 2:15; 2:18; 3:11, 3:7;3:15; 3:22; 5:15.)

2)     The humble make a conscious effort to lift others above personal interest.  Peter tells us to “clothe” ourselves – likely to put on the servant’s apron (conjuring up the memory and image of Jesus washing feet at the last supper)…it takes an act of the will to choose to set aside the garments of self-gain and pick up the rags of serving others, and we serve with words of encouragement and a demeanor that leaves others feeling lifted up and important.  We serve by doing what most refuse to do because it is dirty, inconvenient, or difficult… We make a daily decision to take up our cross and follow our Servant-Shepherd wherever He may lead – No room for false ideas of an over-inflated ego – it is definitely “not about me.”

3)     “Christian humility is a realism that recognizes God’s grace”(Clowney, p. 209).  As cited here in this passage, God gives grace to the humble, not the proud.  (see also Proverbs 3:34-35; James 4:6ff and Luke 18:9-14)  Because of our realization of the bankrupt condition of our souls, we can see that no one deserves anything but God’s wrath.  Yet God willingly gives grace to anyone who would stop fighting His will and resisting His love…and so true humility is born in the heart of a realist who see the world as fallen and broken and in need of love and grace.  So, we choose to lay down our lives instead of conquering.  We chose passive resistance and mercy over aggressive domination and dictatorship.  We choose to live by the very grace we have faith in to save us…and in recognizing that gentle grace of God, we never forget His power and wrath, and we do all we can to help folks encounter grace so they don’t have to face His wrath.

4)     The reason we don’t feel the need for self-defense is because we trust God to “lift us up” and bring justice “in due time.”  We “cast all our burdens on Him” – literally we throw them off or “hand it over” – we lay the burden of justice for our personal lives on Him to restore us and correct wrongs and to fight for our rights as we fight for the rights of others.  And our faith reminds us that the “due time” may be the end of time (see 1:5,2:12).  God will take care of it all…I must be humble enough to trust His wisdom and plan and timing.

A Prayer…

   Father, help me live like a humble servant, never backing down from a chance to help another human being.  Amen.