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"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. 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
Every time I read this verse I am reminded of the lyrics in the old Mac Davis country song, Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way, I can’t wait to look in the mirror……well you get the drift.
Humility is not something in which we regularly live. In fact, the society we live in today is a society built on high self-esteem. Sometime in the early 80’s and well into the 90’s there was a movement toward believing that low self-esteem was society's greatest issue and began a craze that influenced generations of adults and children. This movement encouraged parents, and later teachers and coaches to make very concerted efforts to tell every child how smart, talented, beautiful, and incredible they were.
While this seems to be a worthy goal and certainly has some merit when done correctly, what it quickly turned into was a society where false humility reigned. A culture where schools were encouraged not to tell kids that they had failed but that they needed improvement and every little child athlete handed a participation trophy.
In turn, we have built up a culture that thinks more highly of themselves than perhaps they should. Once again as believers this creates an issue when one of the chief assets in the kingdom of God is not high regard for oneself but rather Christ-like humility.
When Peter wrote these words to a culture with its very own humility issues, I can't help but think he did so while picturing the Lord Jesus with a towel wrapped around his waist and washing his dirty feet. Peter learned a lot about humility that day and we could stand a reminder ourselves.
Perhaps Paul's words to the Philippian church give us more hands-on advice when he writes, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
So what's take home from all of this? Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. Count others more significant than yourselves. Be an example of the gospel to the people around you by the way you treat them and speak to them. If our Lord, the great creator, and sustainer of the universe was willing to humble himself to the point of the death on the cross for our good, then let's humble ourselves for His glory!