Summary: Submission is a key to spiritual strength.


1 Peter 5:5-11

By Cleavon Matthews

August 20, 2006


It was a brilliant and bold declaration to the believers. They were pilgrims of the dispersion in the region of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. They were willing participants in the plan of redemption. They were associated with the Godhead because they were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, they experienced sanctification of the Spirit, and it was for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1:1-2).

However it was a time of trial, trouble, and testing. Christianity was an unwelcome reality in the Roman world. The members of the church were grieved by various trials (1:6). The genuineness of their faith was tested by fire (1:7). They were urged by the apostle not to be molded to the former lusts but to be holy in all conduct (1:14-15). They were identified as a chosen generation, royal priesthood, a holy nation, and peculiar people to proclaim the praises of God (2:9).

The saints were to live with honorable conduct among the lost in their world (2:11). They were challenged to submit to the government (2:13). They were challenged to be submissive to their masters (2:18). They were to endure suffering just as Christ (3:13-22).

The apostle writes this epistle out of love and concern. It would be easy for them to become discouraged by their difficulties. Included in this inspired epistle is a strategy for spiritual strength. The saints were…

Down and needed comfort

Hurting and needed healing

Suffering and needed support

Injured and needed encouragement

Crushed and needed consoling

Rejected and needed reassurance

Damaged and needed deliverance

Ruined and needed relief

Persecuted and needed power

Attacked and needed answers

The church today has identical needs. Prayer requests for spiritual strength are quite common for various reasons. There are different reasons for spiritual weakness such as…

• Despondency- Psalm 88:4 ‘I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength.’

• Affliction- Psalm 102:23 ‘He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days.’

• Iniquity- Psalm 31:10 ‘For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; My strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away’ (i.e. Ps 38:10; 39:13; Judges 16).

• Lack of trust- Psalm 52:7 ‘Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.’

You need spiritual strength when your…

Prayers are pitiful

Praise is pathetic

Worship is wanton

Giving is grudging

Commitment is cold

Attitude is angry

Tongue is transgressing

Heart is hopeless

Dedication is divided

Love is lukewarm

Faith is failing

Temptation is toiling

Mind is miserable

Laugh is lost

Smile is stolen

Desire is deviant

This text provides a strategy for spiritual strength. The text affirms the grace of spiritual strength but it also announces the process of spiritual strength. You must ask God in prayer for spiritual strength but you must not ask amiss. There are some things you must do in order to receive spiritual strength and there are some attitudes you must employ in order to experience spiritual strength.


1 Peter 5:5-7 “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. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

An attitude of submission is a precursor to the attainment of spiritual strength. Submission is one of the major themes in this epistle. The saints are directed to be submissive to the authority of the government (1 Peter 2:13-17). Slaves were guided to be submissive to the authority of their masters (1 Peter 2:18-25). Wives were directed to be submissive to the authority of their own husbands (1 Peter 3:1-7). Elders are to be submissive to Jesus Christ the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-4).

The text literally states, ‘young men be submissive to your elders.’ There is to be submission given by the church to the spiritual leadership. But the text specifically says, ‘young men’ perhaps because they are usually the most headstrong and aggressive.

But there is also to be an all inclusive attitude of humility which makes submission possible. Submission means ‘to line up under’ from the Greek hupotasso. Every member of the church is to lay aside self-promoting pride and respectfully place themselves under the spiritual leadership of the church.

Again submission is a precursor to spiritual strength. You can’t have the spiritual strength of verse 10 without the submission of verse 5. Peter call us to ‘be clothed with humility.’ The original word (egkombosasthe) is rare and interestingly it refers to a slave putting on an apron before serving. Jesus is the ultimate example of being clothed with the apron of humility and service!

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