Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
1 Peter 5:6
One thing that is a hand grenade to healthy Christian fellowship is pride. This is why, throughout Peterâ€™s epistle, he exhorts the different groups of Christians (husbands & wives in 1 Pt. 3:1-7, servants & masters 1 Pt. 2:18, citizens & magistrates 1 Pt. 2:12-17, elders & the flock 1 Pt.5:1-5) to humility, submission, deference.
He commands the â€œyoungerâ€ to submit unto the elders, and he tells all the congregation (elders included) to be clothed with humility (1 Pt. 5:5). Then follows this wonderful phrase to â€œhumble yourselfâ€, but notice that this humbling is not just to earthly relationships which have been discussed throughout, but it is â€œunder the mighty hand of Godâ€. This humbling is to be done continually, and it is commanded (i.e. not optional).
Pride refuses to confess shortcomings, blindspots, failures, offenses, and thus breeds resentment, bitterness, and subsequently more pride and thus more and more sin. Humility is, in a sense, love in action, covering a multitude of sins (1 Pt. 4:8). But we must not miss that all of this is submission to Godâ€™s authority, in order that we might be raised up and exalted in due time.
Humility is not easy, and goes against the grain of our self-preserving instincts. Which is why he follows this command with an allusion from Psalm 55:22: â€œCast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.â€ Humility makes one vulnerable to others scorn, which is cause for concern; but confessing our sins means we are repenting of them and willing to bear the responsibility for them, which is cause to cast ourselves upon the sustaining grace of God, because He cares for his children and will exalt the humble in due time.
God will cast down the haughty from their high tower (Pro. 16:18 & Jas. 4:6); but He willÂ sustain and preserve his saints, and this is especially important because, as Peter then warns, our enemy is a prowling lion seeking to destroy us that we are to resist (1 Pet. 5:8).