“and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5
There’s an old preachers’ illustration of a church awarding a “most humble” badge to one of its members, then taking it away because he put it on. While that story is humorous it makes an important point. What we try to pass off as humility might actually be pride in disguise. So, what’s the key to living with humility toward other believers?
First, we have to be humble with God. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (v6). Peter isn’t saying we’re under God’s thumb. It’s a matter of recognizing God’s authority over our lives and trusting Him with every situation. So when God puts us in humbling circumstances we allow ourselves to be humbled. That means setting aside our pride and releasing control of our day-to-day lives.
Pride loves power and position, and looks for recognition. Humility looks to the Lord, waiting for Him to open doors of opportunity rather than kicking those doors down. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). As we yield to His authority, the attitude of humility starts to cover us like a garment.
And the result? “God…gives grace to the humble.” You see, we cannot truly humble ourselves with one another until we humble ourselves with God. His grace enables genuine Christ-like humility to flow through us as we yield to His Spirit within us. We are clothed with humility because that’s the natural character of our Lord.
Are you in a situation that’s triggering your pride reflex? Will you allow yourself to be humbled—not so you’ll eventually be exalted but because that’s what God instructs you to do? Resist the temptation to promote yourself and to seek recognition. Repent of your pride and release control to the Lord. Remember, trying to appear humble is just pride in disguise. Living with humility day-after-day is the natural result of depending on God’s grace moment-by-moment.