Humble Yourselves – 1 Peter 5:1-10

In the first part of this passage, Peter encourages believers to continue in the faith in spite of the opposition and oppression they would face in a fallen world by reminding them that all those “sufferings” would be worth enduring now for future benefit. Having focused on the future, Peter then, in verse 5-10, tells believers how they are to deal with the oppression and opposition in the present. The first thing which he implores they do is “humble” themselves, which literally means to be “lowly minded”. This is because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. So just what does this mean? Those who are lowly minded, those who don’t think they know better than God, those who do things God’s way rather than their own, those who choose to let God handle things for them rather than having a do-it-yourself mentality, position themselves to receive grace, they receive God’s grace because they realize they need it. Those who are “high-minded”, who think they can handle things on their own and only call on God for the really heavy lifting, do not receive God’s grace because they are not aware of their need for it. These are ones God “opposes”. Why and how does God “oppose” them? He opposes them because the place of humility is the place in which we can fulfill God’s purpose for each of our lives, and God opposes the proud by using the circumstances of life to bring them to a place of humility, to bring them to the place where they realize they cannot “handle things” and must learn to rely on God to “handle things” for them. These difficulties then are from God and have a good purpose, but are temporary and will end “in due time”, when they have achieved their purpose. In verse 7, Peter then returns to his instruction to those who are “humble”, telling them that in the midst of the opposition and oppression they face to cast all their cares upon God. This is the method by which we learn to humble ourselves. Casting our anxiety upon Him means leaving the situations of life in His hands, not continually focusing on, thinking about and worrying about the situation and all of its possible outcomes, but casting all of that upon Him and choosing to focus on other things. This is why we are told to be “self-controlled and alert”, for those who are not will find themselves obsessing over a situation, thinking about it and focusing on it continually, which is the opposite of casting it upon Him, which is not leaving it in His hands but trying to figure it out and deal with it ourselves. This is being “high-minded”, and sets us up for opposition, which comes from our “enemy the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. In the context here, what this says is that when we are “high-minded”, when we do not cast our cares upon God, when we obsess over a situation rather than leave it in God’s hands, we give the devil opportunity to harass us, to use our obsession upon the situation to bring us ever-increasing fear, worry, anxiety and stress, along with the physical consequences which come with those particular states of mind. Peter tells us to “resist him”, and we do so by casting our cares upon the Lord, not giving the devil opportunity to torment us with fear, anxiety and stress, but leaving it in God’s hands, which we do by not continually thinking about and focusing on the situation, but focusing on other things and leaving God to deal with the situation. Life in this fallen world will inevitably bring into our lives situations which can be the cause of much fear, anxiety and stress, and all of us will face those type of situations at times. Peter here gives believers the means by which they are to deal with these situations. They are not to obsess over them, for by focusing on them, we give the devil opportunity to torment us and bring much fear, anxiety and stress into our lives. They are, rather, to cast them upon the Lord. placing the situation in His hands and deliberately choosing not to think about it or focus on it, but to “place their minds on things above” (Colossians 3:2), for doing this will help keep us from unneeded fear, anxiety and stress, and cause us to be “strong ,firm and steadfast” (verse 10) instead.

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