Over the last couple of months, I’ve had occasion to spend a fair amount of time meditating on 1 Peter chapter 5. It’s one of a couple of places in Scripture that God conveys to us this idea:
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 NKJV)
Besides the obvious lesson about humility toward those who have more experience and (hopefully) Wisdom than we do, Peter is making a much deeper point about who and what we trust in.
Put simply, a “proud” person trusts in himself or herself. This is something that is evidenced not only by a tendency to ignore advice and Wisdom from others in our lives who have something significant to impart to us, but also by the presence of worry in our lives.
The next couple of verses are very powerful:
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 NKJV)
The Greek word translated “care” here is merimna, which comes from a root word meaning, “to divide.” Literally, the word means “something that divides the mind or thoughts.” Another way to say this is, “a distraction.”
It’s the same Greek word Jesus used in the parable of the sower:
Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22 NKJV)
Perhaps you can identify with this. You’re humming along in life, pursuing your God-given dream, when “Bam!,” a situation comes along. It could be anything… but it’s something that you’re tempted to worry about. It begins to divide your mind. Your ability to stay focused—to allow your internal peace to continue uninterrupted—is disrupted.
You know the feeling… the nagging pit in your stomach… the anxiety.
When you find this happening to you, it’s important to realize that at that point you are trusting in yourself.
Your thoughts… and perhaps your words… become dominated by things like, “What am I going to do?” Or, “How do I get out of this one?”
This is when it’s time to realize that you have become “proud.” The dictionary definition of “proud” is that you depend upon yourself. And notice, “God resists the proud.”
I don’t know about you, but for me life is difficult enough without having God resist me on top of everything else. There’s plenty of resistance to my dream just with normal daily circumstances.
I don’t want God resisting me… instead, I want His help!
This is when it’s time to humble myself and say, “God, I’m looking to You for help. I know I can’t solve this… no matter how smart, creative or witty I think I am. I need You to handle this.”
Over the years I’ve learned that humbling myself amounts to making a simple internal adjustment. Yes… it’s a matter of surrender. It’s a moment by moment intentional act that keeps you in the state of mind (and spirit) that says, “I refuse to tackle this by struggling, striving and pushing. Instead, I’m going to relax and rest in the knowledge that it’s being handled for me.”
Does this seem irresponsible? Sure. Especially to someone who is accustomed to solving problems by reasoning, fighting or dealing your way out of them.
But it’s also thrilling to find yourself relieved of the burden of the situation.
I don’t know about you, but most of the challenges I face are bigger than me anyway. It’s a lot easier to decide that I’m not even going to begin to hold myself responsible for them.
And you know what I find? When I release the weight of these burdens over onto the Lord, that’s when answers come easily. It’s when grace appears and I find supernatural favor, Wisdom and ability. It’s when the things that I know I need show up on their own… without me struggling and pushing to try to make them happen.
Facing challenges today? Why not choose to humble yourself? You’ll be amazed at what happens.