Something happened to me over the weekend. It was something that I did not expect but needed to happen, nonetheless. It has been said countless times, “the day you stop learning is the say you die.” Well the other day was no exception because I got some learning that I needed to get. After sharing with it with my wife and wrestling with it for a couple of days, I prayed about it because I was pretty angry, to the point that I was ready to make some drastic changes. Then God spoke to me through 1 Peter.
Now, I cannot equate with what the recipients of Peter’s first letter may have gone through. What I can say is that what he said to the church in his letter can speak to anyone that has or is going through some sort of malaise. If we look at chapter 5 in Peter’s first letter, we find him giving words of wisdom, warning and encouragement. This is what he says in verses 5-6:
5 In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because
God resists the proud
but gives grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.
There will be times in our lives where will be subject to those that are over us. This can be on the job as well as in the church. Peter is telling us that we should also show humility toward our brothers and sisters. In other words, in all of these examples, there has to be a sense of humility involved. If you think you know everything or if you think that you are unable to learn anything, you will not be able to flourish in ministry, or anything else you feel God has called you to. If I may quote lyric from Kendrick Lamar, “Be humble, sit down.”
Now before you say anything, let me remind you that verse 5 says that God gives, “grace to the humble.” However, I need you to hear me out for e second. Even though Peter advises us to be humble, he also reminds us that humility does NOT mean we have to take any mess either. Look at what Peter is telling us in verses 8:
8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.
In other words, we must be humble but we also must be cautious. While we are busy being as humble as we know how, there are those times when the enemy see this as a vulnerability. He will try to attack you through your family. He will try to attack you through your job. He will even try to attack you through your ministry. Anyplace that God has asked you to show humility, Satan thinks you have a weak spot. This is why Peter reminds us, “Be serious!” and, “Be alert!” Another thing to remember is that you are not the only one that is going through something. Peter is telling the recipients of this letter that they are to resist and be firm because what they are suffering through, other believers are suffering just as well.
Finally, we get the encouragement and reassurance from Peter that it is God that has been taking care of you this whole time:
10 Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. 11 The dominion belongs to Him forever. Amen.
Yes, God wants us to be humble. Yes, God also wants us to be cautious and serious. Most importantly, God wants us to be reassured. He is the one that called you and He is the one that will sustain you. This why this passage speaks so clearly to me. I had forgotten who called me. Yeah, I just graduated from college and no one can take my degree away from me. But had it not been for “the God of all grace”, I would never have finished.
He personally restores me when I feel let down
He personally establishes me by setting me apart
He strengthens me when I am weak
He supports when folks are against me
He can do all of these things because He has the dominion over all and has it forever.
This is a powerful lesson that we need to learn. God has called us for a purpose and since He has called us for His purpose, we have to understand that there will be some conflict. Not because we are doing anything wrong necessarily. That was the lesson for me. What happened to me, the other day made me mad. Actually, I was more hurt than mad but the anger swelled. I know that I have been faithful to my ministry. The lesson in humility that I had to learn was that people have the right to question my commitment to my ministry. The rub is, I also have the right to take offense to the question of my commitment. Now, I don’t equate myself to Paul but even he got mad when his ministry was questioned. Thankfully, I know that God called me and I ultimately have to answer to Him in the end. He knows my struggle and knows what I have endured. I am so thankful for the God of all grace…