“…Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
(1 Peter 5:5 ESV)
Most of us like to think of ourselves as humble. We would never admit that we believe ourselves to be greater or more important than others. We would never admit that our tendency is to put ourselves first.
In fact, we would say that we despise the proud. We would say that the attitude of the prideful is a complete turn-off for us. We would say that we want nothing to do with these people.
However, this humility that we profess tends to be a false humility. In reality, we do believe ourselves to be greater and more important than others. In reality, we believe ourselves to be smarter than most. And, in reality, we do put ourselves first.
We constantly question those who are in authority over us. We question their decisions and the actions they take. In fact, we look down on them and tend to think that we could do better.
We tend to think that people should listen to us. We tend to think that they should heed our instruction. It should be clear to them, we think, that they have a thing or two to learn from us.
We tend to believe that we’re entitled to the help that others have to offer. We tend to think that they should gladly be there for us. We tend to think this way even though we’re too busy to help others.
We tend to think that our needs should be addressed, first and foremost. Although there are countless others who need help, and although there are many with greater needs than our own, we think that our needs should be the priority. We think that everyone else should cater to us.
There are many more examples we could cite, but you get the point. Although we claim a spirit of humility, we are a proud people. Although we claim to detest pride, we display it unceasingly.
This is why we need Peter’s admonition, seen above. He calls upon us to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another. He calls on us to possess a modest opinion of ourselves when it comes to others.
He goes on to say that God opposes the proud. He tells us that God is against the proud. And this stands as a warning for us.
We cannot live in a spirit of arrogance and rightly expect God’s blessing. We cannot live in a spirit of conceit and expect to be in his favor. This attitude makes us deserving of his disapproval. It makes us deserving of his resistance.
However, Peter says, God gives grace to the humble. God gives his grace to those who recognize how little they deserve. He gives his blessing to the one who understands his lowliness in relation to God and others.
May we, then, recognize the pride in our heart and confess it to the Lord. May we recognize our arrogance and repent. May we ask God to transform our heart so that we gladly lay aside our desires and interests for the sake of others.