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.” 1 peter 5:5
Respect your elders? It used to be the norm. Now, not so much. What about being submissive/respectful to one another? What does it mean to be clothed with humility? So, in combining these three ideas we clearly see that respect, submission and humility are a choice. In fact, Peter says to “clothe” yourself with humility. What’s up with that? It sounds like we are to put it on like a jacket or a pair of shoes. Yes! In much the same way that we would go to the closet and choose a jacket to wear or the appropriate shoes for the circumstances, we are to choose submission and humility. Because, let’s face it, these are not natural responses nor are they automatic. However, if you plan ahead of time and choose that today, I am going to respect others and submit to others with humility. I’m not going to insist on my own rights or being right, because in most cases, it just doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that you are drawing others closer to the one who will save their soul.
So, let’s go through this in a practical sense for a minute. What does submitting yourself to your elders, one another and putting on humility even look like? First of all, your elders are people who are older than you or in authority over you. People like your parents, other family members like grandparents or aunts and uncles. Could be a teacher or just people you sit next to in church or at work. Wherever you are, you will probably come into contact with your “elders”. So how do you show respect and submit to them? You can open a door, give them a chair you are setting in or go and get a chair to offer to them if that is the situation you are in. You can smile when you speak to them and don’t sass or belittle. Basically, you give them preference and do your best to honor them. If they offer you wisdom, you listen and respectfully say “thank you”. It’s not hard, but it does take effort. As for one another, you can do the same things. You prefer them above yourself. This is not to let people walk over you, although it may happen, but mostly it is recognized as an admirable quality that people take note of. It is giving honor to all whether it is due or not. Humility is a quality that you choose to be not dependent on others, but simply because you chose to be that way.
Now we get to talk about how God fits into all this. Humility is a quality that attracts God to you and that should be the greatest reason of all to put it on. Humility draws God’s grace to you and it becomes evident in all you do. In contrast, pride is in direct resister to God. You cannot be close to God and be proud about it. Pride is something that pushes God far from you. It is not God’s desire. He wants to be close to you, but pride is sin and cannot get anywhere near Him.
Today I want to encourage you to put on humility. If you feel you are a humble person already, ask God if you have allowed pride to sneak into any area of your life and to reveal it to you. Pride is sneaky and many times disguise itself as criticizing, condemning and complaining. Those three actions are probably the easiest way to identify pride. So, take inventory of your attitudes today and purge pride far from you because, it’s better to humble yourself, than be humiliated!
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Peter 5:5-11