"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God" 1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves - The opening verb is tapeionothete. Here it is imperative, passive. That means it is a command to do something to yourself. "Make yourselves tapeinois", says Peter. Humility is an act of the will. But remember that in Hebrew thinking, this means to become ani (the Hebrew word for "afflicted on purpose") to make yourself of lowly estate. This is to be done "under the mighty hand of God." The word for "hand" originally meant the whole arm, reminiscent of the Old Testament phrase, "the arm of the Lord."
Peter's letter contains many imperatives, but none is more important than this one. Without the deliberate choice to put ourselves in the position of service, we nullify God's purposes. Jesus demonstrated over and over that the mindset of a servant was the way of God in the world. Self-sacrifice is the foundation of Christian love.
The experience of Christ's complete self-sacrifice changed the lives of the apostles. Once they were self serving, power hungry, defensive and competitive. But their experience of the risen Christ altered their lives forever. They became men of humility. Today, those who are really Christ-like exhibit the same behavior. They become the servants of others out of worship for their Lord. Why is it so important to decide to make myself humble? Because being humble places me in the proper relationship with God and with men. It is the divine order of the universe.
We have all encountered the person who thinks highly of himself. Sometimes there may even be good reason for his pride. But self-adulation is opposed in every way to the proper relationship under God. Why? Because all that we have is really from Him. There is no basis for human pride. Even in the smallest doses, self-adulation is the sin of replacing God with me.
Peter tells us to take deliberate action against this possible trap. It is so easy to start thinking that we are worthy of honor and respect and praise. Once we step onto that path, we are walking away from God. So, examine yourselves. Watch your attitude. And choose humility. You will find God's strong arm will lift you.
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inspirational devotions by Skip Moen.
"Today's Word" devotional, from Skip Moen . © 2003 is used by permission. All rights reserved.
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