Summary: An exposition of I Peter 5:5-7 about what true humility means.
True Christian Humility
You Tube Video of Mac Davis singing “Oh Lord Its Hard to Be Humble…”
You have probably heard about the guy who won an award for humility, but had it taken away because he displayed the award in his office? I heard about a preacher who was vacationing out west with his wife. They came to one of those “ECHO CANYONs”. The sign said that any loud yell would bounce off the distant ridge and come back in an echo. The preacher was skeptical, so he shouted, “Baloney.” Sure enough, the echo bounced back with a very distinct “Baloney.” He tried it again and yelled “baloney”, and the echo once again said “baloney.” Then the preacher’s pride got the best of him and he yelled out, “I am the greatest preacher in the whole world!” He turned his ear for a response and after a long pause the echo came bouncing back, “Baloney!”
The issue of humility is wrapped up in the verse that Paul told the Corinthians, “He that stands, take heed lest he fall.” You may not be experiencing fiery trials and troubles right now, but take heed, lest the comfort of your situation gets the best of you and you get arrogant and say, “Things are going pretty good right now…” and you start to live without God actively leading your life. It is usually in those situations that we end up falling because of our pride.
After the death of Adolf Hitler, The Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler was the most hunted man in Germany. Himmler and his two adjutants did their best to secretly fade into obscurity. They disguised themselves as members of the secret police. Himmler shave d his mustache and wore an eye patch. But it was his pride that did him in. He could not bear to see himself wearing the uniform of a private, so he chose the rank of sergeant. The instructions given to the Allied forces were to arrest all members of the Secret Field Police beginning with the rank of sergeant. If it wasn’t for his pride, Himmler might have escaped…but he couldn’t bear the thought of being only a private. So what difference does it make if you are a private or a sergeant? Plenty. It takes a special person to quietly humble himself. John the Baptist said, There has to be more of Christ and less of me. That’s humility.
I want you to notice what Peter has to say about humility in this passage. First of all…in vs. 5, Peter reminds the younger men to be subject to the older men…but goes on to say that there needs to be a cross-generational humility, too. He says, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility.”
Churches with a future are those that are clothed with humility.
Churches with openness and communication are those that are clothed with humility.
Churches that are servant oriented are those that are clothed with humility.
Don’t worry about being overlooked or forgotten or at the end of the line.
Vs. 6 adds that God exalts us at the proper time if we are clothed with a teachable spirit, vulnerability, approachability and gentleness—that’s what humility means.
So, let’s look at the three points Peter makes about humility:
I. Be CLOTHED in Humility vs. 5
The word used here is only used here in the Bible. It is an interesting word that means “to tie on with a knot—to bind yourself with the clothing of a slave—a work apron.”
A. I’m sure Peter had in mind when at the last supper, Christ took a towel and wrapped it around him and washed everyone’s feet—the menial job of a slave. There was no servant in the house, so THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS washed mud and manure off everyone’s feet. As He did it, he explained that it is done to give us an example of how we are to humble ourselves and serve others.
So when it says “Clothe yourself with humility” it is saying we are to take on the role of a servant…purposely trying to find ways to serve and give and work.
To be clothed in humility means to put on the work clothes of a servant.
B. To be clothed in humility – in this verse – means submit yourself to church leadership! Submit yourself to the leadership of those who are older than you. Place yourself under their wisdom and experience and their vision.
C. Stop for a second and think about why you wear an apron—to keep yourself clean while you are working. The Christian is to clothe himself with the apron of humility so he doesn’t get dirty from the sin of pride or arrogance or self-promotion.