If we have a foundation of humility that is grounded in receiving the power in the message of Jesus (Romans 1:16) and by being humble with the people around you, what is it for? So we can call ourselves nice? Religious? We don’t need another person that qualifies for external qualifications only. Humility that goes to our gut will draw us to God, self-awareness, sensitivity of the broader life that is in the Church and a perspective of grace when we suffer. Such is the case that an older, wiser Simon Peter lays out the case for a continuing follower of Jesus.
1 Peter 5
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time
The “therefore” mentioned is based on the preceding comments (see last post). Peter is now presupposing that the reader is willing to be humble with people but not as an either/or proposition but both/and. What you do unto your neighbor you are also doing unto God (Matthew 25). Yes, prayer in itself is awesome and needed. But isolating our experience of being humbled to prayer can be called being very heavenly minded while being no earthly good.
But being submitted first to God has the benefit of knowing He is in control. That is why we can cast our cares on Him reinforced by His love and submission to Him and not fear of Him.
Discipline yourselves, keep alert.
Getting back to the above verse about being under God’s mighty hand, we examine ourselves on if we are acting consistent with being in His will. If we are not walking in God’s will, we should not assume His protection and the ability to resist the devil.
for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.
Peter is switching gears by switching the reader’s perspective. So far in this passage, Peter has been writing about spiritual dimensions in individual and small community contexts. Now he is drawing them to see the worldwide Church in that knows suffering as a universal experience. With this, Peter is telling them that suffering is inevitable and it is not just happening to one person.
And after you have suffered for a little while
This “little while” could be for just a brief season of suffering. We hope not to suffer for the rest of our lives even directly for being a Christian. But in case the “little” in God’s eyes is years then we can know that He will bring things around but right now he will give you the grace to endure. He is the “God of all grace”. But make no mistake, it is rooted in eternity with a history of salvation offered to th world that is bigger than one person but accomplished with the cooperation of many. In the words of Mary, “May it be done to me, according to your word.”