Monday 20 October, 2014

1 Peter 5:1-5

5 I’m speaking to the elders among you. I was a witness of Christ’s sufferings. And I will also share in the glory that is going to come. I’m making my appeal to you as one who is an elder together with you. 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock, the believers who are under your care. Serve as their leaders. Don’t serve them because you have to. Instead, do it because you want to. That’s what God wants you to do. Don’t do it because you want to get more and more money. Do it because you really want to serve. 3 Don’t act as if you were a ruler over those who are under your care. Instead, be examples to the flock. 4 The Chief Shepherd will come again. Then you will receive the crown of glory. It is a crown that will never fade away. 5 Young men, follow the lead of those who are older. All of you, put on a spirit that is free of pride toward each other as if it were your clothes. Scripture says, “God opposes those who are proud. But he gives grace to those who are not.” (Proverbs 3:34)

I’m not an elder or (regrettably) a younger man, but the key verse is for all of us and I love how Peter phrases it: “Dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another” (v5).

Being dressed is not my natural state (naked). But my nakedness would cause no end of awkwardness and offense to others: certainly not something I’m comfortable with. Deciding to dress myself is definitely a winner.

Humility is not my natural state either. The consequences of exposing my natural selfishness and pride are no less damaging to those around me. I need to consciously put on humility: consciously copy Jesus in making others more important than myself (Phil 2:3-8).

No less than with my clothes (they get tired and crumpled and smelly), it’s not enough to dress myself in humility once. I need to put on humility every day (and sometimes several times a day).

It may be cute when a small child takes their clothes off unexpectedly, but it’s not something that I should do. Note to self: keep humility on at all times.

Sometimes humility doesn’t seem a comfortable fit. When my clothes stop fitting it’s rarely their fault. Sometimes I need to be disciplined in controlling my appetites and exercising so I will fit into humility.

Peter gives specific applications of humility for elders (leading out of love not ambition) and younger men (accepting the authority of the elders). I’m challenged to apply it at work: I have some co-workers who are anything but humble; but I need to dress myself in humility towards them unconditionally. Not just if they do. I’m challenged to apply it in my role as father.

Thankyou Jesus, that you humbled yourself for me. Clothe me in humility to be more like you.

Written by David Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. Kim Fleming says:

    Thanks David for this witty but wise reflection. It has given me some great pictures in my head to go about my day, week, life with.

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