Thursday, November 27, 2014

Grace to the Humble

I have been studying 1 Peter and have been ruminating on a very familiar passage- 5:5-7, "Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."

Submission requires humility. Peter tells us how to be rightly submitted one to another - in humility.  Humility requires a faithful trust in one another, and God most of all.  We are given motivation for this in the statement, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Often times it is said that the wife is to be submissive to her husband.  And while that is true (and we'll not go off in the direction of egalitarianism or complementarism) Peter is saying much more.  Peter says believers ought to be submissive one to another - Elders and young people, Husbands and wives, masters and slaves. Each to the other.

Humility is a grace toward each other.  But as regards God it is the grace given to humble people.  Toward God our humility is evidently due - few would question that (though today some might).  In the light of His presence we all do shrink back.
But we do not regularly think like this toward one another.  Why?

In a word - Pride.
We think we know better, or are stronger, or that our experience is greater than the person before us.

And our deceitful heart will not tell us differently.  We become deluded and deceived so much to the point that we dare not question our motives.  And the only time we do admit weakness - is when it is too painfully obvious: We are too short or weak or some other malady which we evidently cannot hide and our ability for the task is lacking.
Brethren - Peter does not say submit when you have no choice, like an army does when confronted with defeat.  He simply says be submissive to one another.

Humility is not often displayed because we think it exposes us AS weak wimpy or too stupid to fully grasp a thing.  Who likes to present themselves this way?!
But oftimes isn't this actually the case? Aren't we? 

Now look at Christ.  He was not in any sense weak, wimpy or stupid.  Paul tells us how He voluntarily gave up all His heavenly prerogatives to go to the cross for our sakes in Philippians 2:5-11. 
But, we object, I have gifts!  I want to share! I don't want to be misunderstood!

What!  You don't want to be thought of as stupid? or weak? or wimpy?
Then think of it as laying down your giftings for a time - like as Christ did that He may do His perfect work in you.  For isn't it true that it's not us who works but Him?  Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

Don't let pride in your abilities or your great strength or your mental prowess get in the way of the work of God in your life or that of another.
Paul tells us of the work of God in a most beautiful passage in Ephesians chapters 1-2.  We are very familiar with verses 2:8-9.  But look at verse 10, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

Let the motivation of the use of any gift of strength, mental prowess, or artful creation be used in the glory of Him who gave us the very gifts themselves that He gets all the glory!
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Amen

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