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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

A Mandated Uniform (1 Peter 5.5)
Date Posted: April 2, 2024

"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.'" (1 Peter 5.5). The submissive spirit that this passage anticipates is absolutely key to achieving Peter's objectives here, but more importantly, this spirit is essential to pleasing God. God gives grace to the humble but "resists" (or is set in opposition against - jb) the proud.

Now note the figure of speech Peter chooses: "Be clothed with humility." Concerning this phrase, The On-Line Bible says: "This was the white scarf or apron of slaves, which was fastened to the belt of the vest and distinguished slaves from freemen, hence in 1 Peter 5:5, 'gird yourselves with humility as your servile garb' means by putting on humility, show your subjection one to another. Also, this refers to the overalls which slaves wore to keep clean while working, an exceedingly humble garment." Jesus clothed Himself with humility when He girded Himself with a towel and washed the disciples' feet (John 13.1-20). The spirit of humility that Jesus exhibited throughout His earthly ministry is enjoined upon His disciples. Or to put it precisely in Jesus' words: "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him." (John 13.16). Since that is the case, if Jesus clothed Himself with humility, wouldn't it be expected that His servants also clothe themselves with humility?

The requirement for humility was not a new requirement. Micah explicitly included humility among the requirements for righteousness when he said, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6.8). Jesus also mandated the same attitude when He included, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5.3) in the beatitudes. Unless one is of such a heart as to admit to his/her constant need for God in his/her life, the humility demanded by Peter is simply not present. The broken spirit of Matthew 5.3 is the spirit that typifies kingdom citizens. Humility was a requirement of the Old Testament and it is a requirement for the new. Pride and arrogance are diametrically opposed to humility; these "garments" must be laid aside before donning the garments of humility specified by Peter in the text under consideration.

When a would-be disciple of Christ first has intentions of following Him, the mandate is clear - renounce self and affirm the complete and utter dependence upon God! That message is not a popular message now nor has it ever been! The work of the Old Testament prophets was frequently hindered by pride in the lives of the hearers. In the case of Jesus, it was human pride that nailed Him to the cross, but it was selflessness on His part that held Him there. The thought that Jesus must bear the cross alone is a thought that never enters the mind of a faithful disciple. Jesus shouldered the weight of the cross willingly, and so must each disciple!

It is one thing to know about humility and it is quite another thing to adopt the attitude of humility displayed by Jesus. Such is the meaning of the mandate, "Be clothed with humility!"

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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