Last night, I read 1 Peter. It's long been my favorite book in the Bible. So I revisited it last night to remember why I loved it. As the final chapter was wrapping up, one particular verse jumped off the page.
The first four verses of chapter 5 are Peter's advice to his fellow elders. The following six verses are Peter's encouragement to young men. He begins, "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" Okay, so Peter starts by encouraging young men to embrace humilty and not pride. Why? It's hard to live a life that's all about God when your attitude is all about you.
The next sentence, verse 6, is the one that means a lot to me. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time." You may wonder why this verse is so cool to me. Did you know that every sixteen year old guy wants to rule the world? It's pretty much true. So many of us guys are puffed up with pride so that we each think we're A) invincible, B) important, and C) should be in charge. I'm not exempt. Do you know more than a few guys who are like this? It's all because of pride. Every teenage guy wants to be "lifted up" above the rest.
So why is 1 Peter 5:6 so cool? It's all because Peter promises us young men that if we humble ourselves, embrace humilty, and shun pride, God will then be able to lift us up in due time. I can't count the times that I've selfishly thought something like, "I could be a better pastor than that guy", or "I could be a better leader than him", or "If I ran things around here, I'd be world famous." Reading 1 Peter 5:6 last night made me realize that if I make it big on my own, what does it matter? Because making it big on my own is thumbing my nose at the Almighty God and pridefully shunning His help and plans. By humbling myself and saying, "Okay God, you know best, and I don't. I'll do whatever you need me to do, no matter how big or small. Where do you want me to serve?", then He can work though me because my pride isn't an issue.
Pride is one of the biggest issues in today's American church because pride almost completely separates us from God. After all, it's hard to live a life that's all about God when our attitudes are all about us.