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Be Humble


1 Peter 2:13-14, 17-21; 3:1-4, 7-9; 5:5-7
Related Sunday School Lesson, Family Bible Series, August 22

The November 22 devotional in My Utmost For His Highest has the following statement: “The passion of Christianity is that I deliberately sign away my own rights and become a bond slave of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I do not begin to be a saint.” My journal comment on that day in 1999 was “The Lord continues to remind me that I serve at His disposal. I will try again today to surrender my rights to Him.”

The key word in my comment is “again.” The practice of humility and self-surrender is a battle that believers wage daily, and each day we try “again” to run up the white flag on our wills.

No one can surrender their lives to Christ unless they are humble. Are you a humble person? And are you automatically disqualified if you answered yes? I don’t know, but I do know that humility in a believer is one of the godliest traits a child of God can possess. I make this statement based upon Philippians 2:8: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”

To be like Jesus means to be humble. He was born in humble circumstances; He was submissive to the authority of His parents; He was gentle and humble; He washed the feet of His disciples; and He taught that he who humbles himself will be exalted. Once again, to be like Jesus is to be humble. One writer opined, “Humility is the soil in which the other traits of the fruit of the Spirit grow.”

It almost seems strange to read Peter endorsing humility. We tend to think of Peter as rash, outspoken, and “full of himself.” Some scriptures lead us to believe that Peter was so prideful that he could strut sitting down, but those scriptures don’t tell the whole story.

For example, when Paul confronted Peter in Galatia over the circumcision issue, he submitted to Paul’s correction. I know this is just one instance, but if you will scan the scriptures, you’ll find other illustrations in the life of Peter that will support his declarative assertions about the benefits of humility.

There are a couple of areas where Peter encourages humility. He encourages humility in our relationship to governmental authority and in our marital relationships.

As believers, we are to be submissive to our government and its laws. We are to be obedient except when commanded to sin. In the past, God commended some of His saints for defying the government, but they were in defiance because the law of God trumped the law of man. Some of the people that I am referring to are the Israelite midwives in Exodus 1, the three young men in Daniel 3 who did not bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar, and Peter and John in Acts 4 and 5.

There are some laws of our land that I do not agree with, but I am bound to follow them. And we are never encouraged to take the law into our own hands like Paul Hill. Hill shot and killed an abortionist in Florida because he believed that abortion was akin to murder. You may agree that abortion is murder, but you can’t take another man’s life in protest.

Hill and I worked on a landscape crew together while he was a student at a Presbyterian seminary in Jackson, Miss. I never would have believed he was capable of such a violet act. But it goes to show you how a lack of humility towards the government can cause you to take matters into your own hands. It also shows you how a deranged mind can confuse the law of God and the law of man.

Peter also encourages submissiveness and humilty of wives towards their husbands. According to Gary Chapman, this submissiveness does not mean that the husband is more intelligent than his wife or that he is more valuable in the relationship. It’s just that according to God’s hierarchal system, the husband is positioned as the spiritual leader in the home and his leadership is to be respected. This position of leadership on the part of the man does not give him the right to be dictatorial nor abusive. Neither should he make decisions without consulting his wife or considering her opinions.

The antithesis of humility is pride. It was pride that got Satan cast out of heaven. A prideful, haughty spirit echoes the self-sufficient nature that many people possess.

Humility respects other people and other structures of authority. Would you be classified as a “humble” person? Pay attention this week and see how many times you demand your rights and assert your personality. Remember that one of the greatest traits of the child of God is humility, and it can only be achieved by being filled with the Spirit and allowing God’s presence to pervade your life.