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Mar 24 Be subject to elders. Clothe yourself with humility

1 Peter 5:5 “In the same way, you who are younger, be subject*~ to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves*~ with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

The treatment of seniors or people of authority is to be an ingrained cultural practice based on biblical principles. In this passage, Peter is dealing with the attitude of church elders toward their flock.

Leaders must not be motivated by compensation or the need to lord it over others; rather, they must be an example for others to imitate (1 Pet 5:2–3). Peter instructs the younger people to “immediately decide to be subject…to your elders” (lit. “to arrange under or be subordinate”).

We must decide to submit to our elders, who have been given the responsibility to take care of God’s people (Acts 20:28). This is the same word used in 3:1: “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your husbands.” Wives learn by watching their husbands’ submission to their authorities (i.e., to church, job, state, taxes, and God).

To facilitate a healthy relationship, Peter commands them to be “clothed with humility.” The word clothed means “to tie on oneself,” coming from the word meaning “an apron of a slave.” We are to figuratively dress ourselves as humble slaves. We are to see humility as a beautiful adornment. Unselfishness, the essence of true humility, opens the door to trustworthiness and sincerity.

Peter’s imagery is reminiscent of the night when the apostles were arguing about who would be the greatest in the coming kingdom of Christ, when Jesus silently arose to wash everyone’s dirty, sandaled feet. Peter concludes, “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Pet 3:8).

The pride within us resists this value of humility, so Peter alludes to Proverbs 3:34 to emphasize God’s distinct attitude toward the proud and the humble: “God resists the proud.” In this sense, resists literally means “sets Himself against, or ranges in battle against.”

On the other hand, He “gives grace to the humble,” which refers to the special favor God bestows on a person’s life. We become what we desire and value. It’s our choice. He is listening.

“Dear Lord, You bless Your children when we obey Your principles. Today, guide my thoughts and actions as I seek to humbly submit to those who have spiritual authority over me.


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