The quest for significance drives many to be the best or the most important, admired, powerful, or famous. The command in 1 Peter 5:6 is the opposite of everything our culture tells us we need to be happy.
The connective “And” ties this verse to the preceding one: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 5:5). Now our verse literally means it is wiser to “immediately decide to humble yourselves,” which means “to make low, assign yourself a lower rank below others who are honored or rewarded” or “to submit oneself in a lowly spirit to the power and will of God.”
Instead of striving to be in total control of our lives and destinies, the aorist imperative verb demands an urgent decision to submit to whatever God’s will permits whenever He commands it. We must make an internal commitment to trust in the “mighty hand” of God to engineer the circumstances and timing He deems are best.
Jesus taught us the importance of this principal: “Everyone who lifts himself up will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be lifted up” (Luke 14:11; 18:14).
Humility does not mean depreciating or “running down” your self–worth but replacing your self–centered motivation with other–centered priorities. We must decide that our personal needs, desires, interests, and ambitions will take a lower priority while we make the needs of others our primary mission (Phil 2:2–-4).
In this context, a God–centered, self–humbling process occurs when one ceases to want to control his life and lets God have it fully. The next verse says, “[Cast] all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (5:7). These imperatival participles describe the means of this humbling process. It is humbling to let God have control.
It is vain to believe that you can run your life better than God can and that you can meet your own needs (and desires) better than God can. It is often humiliating to become totally dependent on God’s interventions in order to survive.
God’s way toward exaltation is to give up that control. Can you trust His “mighty hand” to provide for you . . . in His own time? Will you take on a lowly task for God that benefits others and that few may see?
“Lord, my ego is so deceptive that I tend to think of my importance and what I think I deserve in life more than the importance of others and what I can give to them. Teach me to think humbly.”
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