Chapter 5:5-7 (ESV) - Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Question to consider: What does it mean to be humble?
The word likewise ties this command for the younger to the end of chapter 4. By submitting to their elders in the faith, the younger would be trusting in their faithful Creator and continuing to do good. Peter’s command here is the same idea as Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
We live in a culture today that does not value the wisdom of elders. Tradition is considered antiquated, and people place a higher value on things they deem new or fresh, even within the church. However, when it comes to church doctrine, a good adage to live by is, “If it is new, it probably isn’t true, and if it is true, it probably isn’t new.” Christianity rests on the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
Youthful zeal has its value, but only if grounded in truth. Peter can attest to this. In his zeal, he began an evening cutting off the ear of the praetorian guard, Malcus, in order to “defend” Jesus, and finished it denying he ever knew him. I’d imagine Peter must have played that scenario in his head over and over again, wondering how different the evening may have been for him if he had only prayed with Jesus at Gethsemane like he’d been asked to do.
In all things though, we should be humble. Humility requires that we treat others as better than ourselves. So when they speak, we spend more time listening than responding. We do our best to understand different perspectives on a subject so that we can make righteous judgments and decisions. This is Peter’s command for everybody. If we truly trust in our faithful Creator, we’ll let him exalt us, knowing that it will be at the right time for the right reasons. We can give God our burdens and anxieties and focus on simply doing the good works we were created to do.
Heavenly Father, thank you that we can put our faith and trust in your care. We give you our anxieties that come from living in a world filled with uncertainty and rage. Please help us to deal with one another in humility and in gratitude for the wonderful gift of salvation we’ve found in Jesus Christ. Amen.