We’re looking at 1 Peter 5:5-11 today, and I ask you: Is verse 5 just for “you younger people” and you alone are told to “submit yourselves to your elders”? I don’t think so!
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.” ~ 1 Peter 5:5
Notice he follows up with “yes, all of you” and instructs us to be submissive to each other. From David Guzik: “Humility is demonstrated by submission. It is the ability to cheerfully put away our own agenda for God’s, even if God’s agenda is expressed through another person.”
The good Lord granted me a little reminder lesson in humility and submissiveness this morning. I don’t always learn these things easily!
I won’t offer details, but I’ll tell you this: I could clearly see how God was using the situation for His glory, yet I still felt I deserved something out of it for my contribution. Then I opened my Sunday school notes and discovered I’m teaching on this very verse, and I felt that little ‘nudge’ of correction from the Holy Spirit. God is amazing!
This verse tells us that “humility is demonstrated (acted out in our lives so others can see) by submission”. This morning I had to demonstrate humility by setting aside my own pride. I had to submit my own will and sense of pride to God’s will.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
~ Romans 12:3
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.
~ Ephesians 4:2
Guzik even suggests we are called to submit cheerfully! I certainly wasn’t happy or upbeat about my submission this morning. As a matter of fact, I was just grumbling to my wife about the situation!
The one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
~ Romans 12:8
Remember that God gives “grace to the humble”. That means the humility comes first! What follows is grace. I didn’t begin the process of submission this morning with a great attitude. But as I continued to bend my will to His, God changed my heart. I allowed myself to be humble about my circumstance, and God used that humility. He’s given me a spirit of grace as a result.
“Grace” according to Google is “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings”. I love grace, and I want more of it! I need to be humble. Again, and again, and again, and again.
I’ve known many employees over the years that struggle with this issue – Christians and non-Christians alike. In the working world, we are wired to want credit for what we’ve done! Our pay and compensation is often tied to our accomplishments. Much of the working world does not reward humility, submission to one another, and setting aside our pride. The same can be said of sports, or in school. The world tends to reward individual achievement. However, God doesn’t call us to look to the world for our prize.
In verses 6 and 7, the Bible tells us that when we humble ourselves, He will exalt us when He chooses to.
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.
~ 1 Peter 5:6-7
Some examples from the Bible on humility:
Humbly seek forgiveness – Jacob humbled himself and sought forgiveness from his brother Esau for his sin in Genesis 33
But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”
Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me.
Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.
~ Genesis 33:9-11
Humbly accept help from others – Rahab helped the spies sent by Joshua in Joshua 2
And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there.
And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.”
Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.”
But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.
And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.”
But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof.
~ Joshua 2:1-6
Humbly serve God and serve others – Anna continually served in the temple in Luke 2
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
~ Luke 2:36-37
Do not boast unless boasting in the Lord-
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
~ Jeremiah 9:23-24
God will exalt us when He deems it the right time. That time may not even be while we’re here on earth, it might happen in eternity! Verse 7 then says “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you”. When I am frustrated, like I was this morning in my moment of pride, the Bible tells me to cast those cares on God because He loves me and cares about me.
Peter (a fisherman) is using a fisherman’s language here. I enjoy casting for fish with my rod. But I really enjoy it when the cast goes off beautifully and sails way out on the water. Peter and his coworkers would have been fishing with nets; so a cast for them looks different but it’s the same idea. Send your worries and frustrations way out there on the water! Toss them over the boat for God to handle for you. When we do that there is great relief to our mind, heart, and soul.
Peter also takes some time here in his letter to give a stern warning.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
~ 1 Peter 5:8-9
Be sober and be vigilant – these are two warnings you would give to a soldier, a warrior, or a watchman on the wall. Be awake, be aware, watch out, don’t fall asleep! Know what your enemy looks like and how he works!
During World War 2, the United States issued to servicemen a special set of playing cards that included a silhouette of the enemy planes on them. This way, as they were playing cards in their downtime they could also be studying what the enemy planes looked like so they could identify them coming or as they were overhead.
Similarly, the Bible warns us to be sober, vigilant, and aware of our enemy Satan. We need to know what Satan’s tactics are and know how to identify when he is attacking us. Remember in the Garden of Eden how he attacked Eve? He didn’t look like a roaring lion then, he came in smooth as a serpent. He used trickery on Eve just like he uses on us today!
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
~ Genesis 3:1-6
Satan lied to Eve, and she believed him. He told her that she would not die. The truth is, she did eventually die didn’t she? She had a life in the Garden that God had created for her, and death didn’t exist then. Satan hates God and since each of us were made in God’s image, Satan hates you and me.
While Satan may act like a roaring lion, his greatest method is often simply convincing us to sin. As a result of his lies to us, we may disobey God, like Eve did. We might lie, cheat, or steal. We might doubt God’s word like Eve did.
So, how do we learn what to watch out for? By reading the Bible! God gave us His word to instruct us and to show His love for us. He also gave us the Bible to warn us and to keep us on the right path.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
~ Psalm 119:105
Read God’s word every day and you will be amazed at what you learn! I recommend starting in the Book of Genesis, and just reading it all the way through to the end.
God tells us in verse 9 to “resist him, remain steadfast in the faith”. How do we do that? Read the Bible, pray, and go to church where we can learn from and serve other Christians. Hold onto that faith, and know that we are all in this battle together.
Again, God’s grace
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
~ 1 Peter 5:10-11
God is “the God of all grace”. The Bible tells us that every good thing in life comes from the Lord.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
~ James 1:17
God, who has given us everything that is good in our lives and calls us to eternity with Him, also tells us we’re going to suffer for a while. But that suffering serves a purpose! It is to “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” and me. God could have chosen to leave us in the sinful and fallen state. Instead, because He loves us He chose to rescue us from this pit that Satan tricked us into!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
~ John 3:16-17