6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV)
Tonight has been a night of prayer and preparation, seeking and expecting, letting go and looking up. And, as I studied God’s Word tonight, one word in 1 Peter 5 stuck firmly in my mind: humble. The act / art of lowering one’s attitude toward themselves, to “not… think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Romans 12:3, ESV).
Peter tells us to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. In other words, we are to submit to God and His will.
And stay submitted.
Just before Paul warns us against thinking too highly of ourselves, he tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2, ESV). If we want to be transformed in our thinking – truly changed from the inside out – we have to start with humility.
Humility lets go. When our thoughts are Godward, anxiety isn’t an issue. Worry evaporates. Troubles shrink. This is because being humble requires faith. Faith that God is in control. Faith that He knows every circumstance that will come our way, every stone to stub our toe, every obstacle in our path.
We have to humbly trust that God knows what He is doing in our lives. If we feel stuck in a painful circumstance, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned, or another person we are to help. Any way we look at it, there are no accidents. We are where we are, when we are and why we are because of God’s purposes.
And when we stay focused on ourselves… well, that just isn’t what God has in mind for us. We are called to love, to put others first and above ourselves. We are instructed to cast our cares to God and trust that He has it all under control.
We are to be sober-minded. Not anxious or fearful, but calm and faithful, filled with joy and peace, resting in the Lord. Humbly. In faith. It is humble firmness in faith that sends the enemy running.
Humility helps us focus where we ought, by focusing our efforts in the right place: Godward.
Be transformed. I like that. I pray that for us all.