Transformation In God's Time
Every follower of Jesus, and especially every Christian leader and trainee, is commanded to dismiss pride and embrace humility. In this chapter alone (1 Peter 5:1-5), Peter has given five reasons: Jesus was humble; we are saved to serve; God opposes proud people; God gives grace to humble people; Jesus is bringing His reward to humble people. In today's verse, Peter stresses that true humility does not come by an externally applied, enforced submission; it has to be a voluntary personal choice which leads to willing lifestyle changes in line with God's Word.
The command, 'humble yourself', is very different to the prayer ‘Lord humble me’. Of course, if we persist in pride then God has no choice but to humble us; and ultimately every knee will be forced to submit to Jesus (Philippians 2:8-11). But the only way of blessing is to humble ourselves. When we realise that God is fully opposed to our pride (1 Peter 5:5) we need to make proactive decisions which will lead to changed attitudes, behaviour, habits and character. If Jesus could willingly humble Himself to be born as a baby, live as a servant and die as a criminal for our sakes (Philippians 2:1-8), then should we not also humble ourselves?
Although humility has many applications, the key to this verse is 'under God's mighty hand'. Although we must submit to parents, employers, leaders and governments, our first responsibility must be to accept God's authority over us (1 Peter 2:13-19). When we do so, every other demand can be evaluated by the priorities which His Word reveals, because it is only God who can raise us up (John 6:40), giving us the honour which He has chosen for us (1 Peter 1:4). By contrast, proud people assert themselves to win money, power, fame and popularity which have no lasting value. Soon after the world lifts us up, it drops us down. But when the Lord lifts us up, He will never throw us down.
But when will that happen? In God's time! We have our human ideas of service and reward (and business management manuals are full of them), but only God knows how and when to reward His faithful servants. He knows the right interval between sacrifice and recognition; the cross and the crown (Job 23:10). He fully understands that giving great rewards too early, may make us proud, and eager to accept the human glory which should go to Him. On the other hand, He is not unrighteous to forget your labour of love (Hebrews 6:10). So, true believers go forward, trusting God's promise - that He will honour those who humble themselves under His authority, confident that He knows just the right time to use His hand of power for our blessing.
© Dr Paul Adams