For the second time, I am posting the manuscript for a message I will deliver (God willing). Please indulge the contractions and devices I use to aid in delivery. This is part two of my thoughts on humility. Click here for part one.
The Hallmark Of Humility (1 Peter 5:5-6)
For the last couple of weeks I have been much drawn to the idea of humility & convicted that this is an area of my life in which I need God’s help.
Definition: Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. OR: Humility isn’t beating yourself up, but serving others for their good. OR: Humility is pursuing God’s glory & will in all things before our own.
Today’s text has been a part of my life since I was a pastor in Mtgy, AL. During a difficult time of stress, vs 6 settled in my heart. But I focused on the wrong part of that verse! I hung on to, “At the proper time He will exalt you.” I should have embraced what came before it… humility!
Now I’m trying to work that part of the passage deeper into my heart & I’d like for you to go on this journey w/ me. Thus our text for this morning…
Don’t miss that this is written by PETER. The man who would draw… shoot… then aim. The brash Apostle who was always running off at the mouth. Consider what is written in Lk 22:31-34…
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go w/ you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
Do you see the hope in what Jesus said? Satan wanted to test Peter severely. But Jesus prayed for him! Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith wouldn’t fail. Not that HE wouldn’t fail… but that his FAITH wouldn’t fail. There IS a difference!!
Notice also that Jesus told Peter that after HE failed, he would be restored AND strengthen his fellow believers. It was only AFTER these positive statements of affirmation that Jesus told Peter about the failure that was in his future.
Application! Jesus prays FOR us (Jn 17:9, 20; Ro 8:27, 34)! He only allows into our life what will glorify Him & be for our ultimate good. “Just b/c we don’t see how something can be good doesn’t mean it isn’t good!” So in your tests… & failures… remember what Jesus said to Peter, b/c it’s true for you too!
I believe it was specifically b/c of Peter’s experience as we just read that he wrote 1 Pet 5! This is not sterile theology… it is the result of experience. A lesson learned thru fire. Embrace it!
Return. W/ the balance of our time let’s examine 1 Peter 5.
God begins by saying that humility is to be worn like clothes. It is to cover everything about us & everything we do. It should be the first thing people see as we approach them & the last thing they see as we leave their presence. Humility is the brand name of who we are.
This humility should be directed toward others. Thus “Thinking of ourselves less.” We are to treat others as more important than ourselves as written in Phil 2:3-5…
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…”
For us to grow in humility, Peter gives us several encouragements. Let’s look at them…
God inspired Peter to write, “God opposes the proud.” That’s the worst thing I can imagine! The thought that when I wake up in the morning that God is against me is frightening. That means that there is nothing I could do that God would bless. He wouldn’t be a help, protector, or my defender. Let that sink in for a moment… Do any of us want to live there?
By contrast, God “gives grace to the humble.” Grace means “gift.” He gives His peace… protection… strength… wisdom… joy… & blessings that result from His presence.
That means that whatever situation I find myself in, I am not alone. Whatever comes my way, God is on my side. No matter what transpires in my life, God is in the middle of it… working in a positive manner RATHER THAN in opposition to me. THAT is of great comfort!
Vs. 6. Here The Spirit shows us a few things about humility. First it is something we are responsible for. It isn’t something that “just happens.” “Humble yourselves…” This means we are to submit ourselves to God’s will. As written in Phil 2:8 about Jesus… “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Humility begins w/ obedience to God. Doing what is right b/c of His love. Forgiving… showing mercy… following God regardless of the cost. THAT is our joy & honor as sons of The King! That is how we become humble. This is done recognizing “God’s mighty hand…”
Skip to Vs 7. “Casting all your anxieties on Him…” Casting is a fishing term. It refers to casting a net into the water. It means to take our anxieties & throw them onto Jesus. All our fears… the emotional difficulties… our worries… everything that burdens us & hurl them onto Jesus.
We do that by prayer. Telling Him w/ raw emotion our struggles. Placing our requests at His throne. We express this in weeping, frustration, & by not holding anything back. We even express our anger about these things to Him… knowing HE will do what is right & glorifies God.
In all these things we submit our will & desires to the sovereign all powerful God “who is able to do exceeding & abundantly above all we ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20). Then we trust Him 100% w/ the outcome… whatever it may be… b/c THAT will glorify Him! (Which is MOST important)
Vs 7b. “B/c He cares for you.” Again, written by one who’s experienced it in the fire! Since God has already given us THE greatest gift there is in His son, is there anything God He will keep from us (Ps 84:11)? The answer is no. Everything that is good GOD WILL GIVE!
Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this that he lays down his life for his friends.” Since Jesus has already shown how much He loves us, why do we doubt that now? Work that into your heart.
Now back to Vs 6b. “That at the proper time He may exalt you.” Humility trust God’s timing. Humility trusts that when God is ready, He will act. Humility believes God! Humility knows that deliverance IS coming… it IS on the way… it WILL take place… without a doubt, it is certain.
“He may (will) exalt you.” Do we believe God? If we do… then worry has no place in our life. Humility is contentment. Humility is peace. Humility knows God will do what He says He will do.
Humility begins w/ a recognition of our inabilities. It begins by u’standing we can’t do it ourselves. That we must rely completely upon God or else failure results. We cannot save ourselves.
Humility is the basis of salvation… AND DAILY LIVING. Only when we come to the place of complete dependence upon God to be saved will we begin to be able to live each day in the abundant life Jesus promised (Jn 10:10).
Have you not figured out that God is who you need? When you admit that to both God & yourself w/out reservation, THEN you will obtain the thing you need above all. THEN you will know the peace that passes all understanding. THEN you will have God in your life.
Come to Christ today. Cast all your anxieties upon God b/c He DOES care for you. Humble yourself in whatever situations you are in. Submit to God’s will. Give your life over to Him to do whatever He so desires. And in so doing you will be glorifying God!