James was the first apostle to write about humility. In his letter to Jewish believers who were forced to live outside Jerusalem, he writes these words, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10) The believers were struggling with discouragement and fear. They could not understand why their faith was being tested in such a severe way. This meant humbling themselves under God’s hand and allowing Him to raise them up to greatness and significance at the proper time. They also had to learn that significance from their perspective was different from God’s viewpoint.
Humility also changed the way the apostle Peter viewed God. He learned to submit his heart to God instead of pushing his desires or viewpoints to the forefront of his life. It also changed the way himself as being more important, but he saw himself as a servant and many times less than others. This does not mean that Peter had a low self-esteem. But instead, godly humility taught Peter how to evaluate his life from God’s perspective.
An example of this is in John 13, when Jesus looked that the disciples’ feet were not washed and no one was there to do it. And so He got up and washed their filthy feet. This is the Son of God who put that garment that fits all on and tied the knot in the slaves’ apron and bent down and washed their dirty feet. The apostle Peter probably remembered when the Lord put that on and when the Lord did that. We need to clothe ourselves with the attitude of a servant toward one another. Here are two principles that we can learn about humility.
GOD WIL RESIST THE PRIDEFUL IN HEART
1 Peter 5:5, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble“. Pride is not only dangerous, it is tremendously destructive. Proud people always think that others are talking about them. Somebody said proud people are self-centered, and self-centered people are usually miserable. They seldom apologize because in their minds they are always correct. Self-centered people will hardly approach somebody and say, I am sorry. They’re just too proud.
Nowadays, we see people stumbling around all the time trying to fix their life, looking for a solution or some kind of therapy or counseling that will work. They read a lot of books that they think will deliver them from their supposed dilemma and the bottom line may be there is no freedom, because they don’t want to humble themselves before God. Because of their pride, they are feeling the opposing hand of God in their life. Always remember that God opposes the proud but He gives grace to the humble.
GOD WILL REWARD THOSE WHO ARE HUMBLE IN HEART
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Pride is at the root of most of our anxiety. Proud people think it’s humiliating to cast everything upon God and be cared for. Humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God means we must relinquish control of our lives to Christ. Humility gives us the means to trust Him by casting our cares upon Him. In other words, humility is perfect quietness of our heart.
Don’t ever think you will be easily humbled, it takes much prayer for the death of pride. It also takes much rejection of praise and much confession of sin. Lastly, it takes much confidence in a caring God. If our lives are earmarked with the grace of humility, everyone we meet will know that we are intimately involved with the Saviour. Humility is something that God develops within us through the power of His Spirit. It is the fruit of the Lord Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on Calvalry’s cross, manifested in those of His own who are definitely subject to the Holy Spirit.