5 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.”
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Roughly 30 years after Jesus’ crucifixion Christians found themselves under heavy persecution. Nero was burning Christians alive, blaming them for his failures and as an excuse to build new grand buildings in his name. Likely written from Rome, Peter code named it “Babylon,” the Apostle penned a letter to the church family.
He exhorts the younger generation to obey and learn from the wise elders, and for all Christians to submit to one another. As an extension of these themes, Peter brings into focus Christian humility, quoting the Old Testament, specifically Proverbs 3:34. He goes on to explain the reasoning and outcomes from practicing Christian humility.
In verse 5 the Holy Spirit, via the Apostle Peter, commands believers to clothe, or to cover, themselves with humility. The Greek word used here for humility is “tapeinophrosynē,” which means “to be of low mindedness.”
In ancient times, as well as today, the world system did not characterize humility as a virtue, but instead a flaw. Popular culture today celebrates those who get ahead, focusing on themselves. Except in extreme circumstances, our culture does not celebrate those who routinely put other’s needs before themselves.
Peter tells us just the opposite, that we are to put others desires and needs first, not our own. The reasons are explained in verses five to seven:
- God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. When we see our true nature in the mirror of the Old Testament, we see just how much we need His grace. The longer time goes on, the clearer the reflection becomes in the mirror.
- God will exalt the humble in His due time. God delights in being trusted, especially when we think we should handle everything ourselves. At some point in our lifetimes we will all experience circumstances that engender us to rely 100% on God. There are no exceptions, it’s a gift from God! Starting that continual habit now aligns our relationship with Him, and gives us supernatural peace, even in the face of certain adversity.
- He cares for us. God desires us to cast our cares on Him. We are to be anxious for nothing, He cares about us deeply. Our Father knows what we need before we ask. Trusting in ourselves and putting ourselves before others does not please God. He wants to exalt us but won’t without proper and on-going humility.
We do not merit Gods favor, He chooses to give us His grace. All the glory rightfully belongs to Him. To place our trust in God, we are to cover ourselves in the proper attitude of humility at all times, striving to put other first. Amazingly, he will exalt us when the time is right, not because of what we have done, but because of who He is and as a display of His love for us.