Focal Passage: 1 Peter 5:1-14
Peter calls us to humility in 1 Peter 1-14. But all people, Christians as well as nonbelievers, are self-centered by nature. We are always thinking about ourselves. Sometimes we think of ourselves better than we ought. It is the pride of humanity that keeps us from honestly assessing ourselves. Other times we think about ourselves so lowly that we are driven into the pits of despair. When Peter calls us to humble ourselves, what should this look like? Moreover, how do we avoid swinging back and forth between self-righteousness and despair?
Let us be reminded that humility is elusive. As Tim Keller says, once you begin talking about humility, it leaves. There is a sense in which examining your own heart, even for sin, often leads to being proud about your diligence and circumspection. True humility is what C.S. Lewis called “blessed self-forgetfulness.” True humility allows one to no longer focus on themselves. As Lewis argued, humility is “not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
In 1 Peter 5:5 the apostle quotes Proverbs 3:34 which proclaims that God gives grace to the humble. It is only through humility that we can receive Christ. Moreover, it is only through humility that we can continue to apply the gospel to our own lives.
We obtain this blessed self-forgetfulness when we begin to focus on Christ and what He has done for us in the cross and resurrection. When we truly believe the gospel of grace we are kept from swinging from pride and despair. Moreover, when we see the beauty of Jesus in the gospel, we are able relate with humility toward one another, for we are all saved by grace. Let us take the initiative to actively clothe ourselves in humility towards others, in response to passively obtaining the grace of God ourselves.