6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
12 With the help of Silas,[b] whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Humble and Alert
To the youthful members of the churches in northwest Turkey, Peter tells them that they should be humble and alert. The humility should be to those who are older and wiser, but the primary humility is with regard to God. For every member of every church, the main goal is to cultivate a posture of consistent submission to God. The anxieties of life often weigh us down when we are trying to make the most of things by ourselves. If we keep our eyes on God we can cast off our anxieties as soon as we are aware of them. Anxiety is a common condition of the heart. We are nervous and fearful, but it is often because we are not thinking of the mighty hands of God that are large enough to take away the anxieties and give us strength to face our fears.
Secondly, we can long for oblivion. I mean the kind of oblivion that is embraced by those who pursue the forgetfulness of TV, alcohol, or drugs. We want to dull the senses to get through life, but Peter tells his audience to heighten our senses. In my opinion many American Christians are removed from the game because they fall asleep. They become dead through business and distraction. Satan in effect has one his battle with them. If we are alert to things that really matter, we will suffer for stirring people from their slumber. However, many faithful believers around the world are suffering for their faith and we need to show solidarity with them.
May we humble ourselves under your leadership. Le us not rely overly much on our own perceptions, but let us rely on you. Help us also to stay awake and be alert. I feel so drained at the end of a busy day, it is easy to try and live the next day in a daze of busy activity or mindless entertainment. Help us to see you and act on your desires for our lives and the lives of our family.
- What commands does Peter pass on to his readers?
- How did following these commands help readers endure suffering?
- What anxieties would the original recipients have cast upon God?
- How are you modeling humility for the next generation?
- How are you modeling alertness to the things of God?
We need to humble ourselves before God because in due time God will lift us up. Being alert and thinking straight because the devil prowls around looking to destroy us. But there will be times where we just need to resist satan, and understand others are going through the same thing. We need to actively throw our anxiety/worries upon the Lord because the Lord actively cares for us. In all of this we need to stand fast. Understanding that they were not alone in suffering and understanding that God is a personal God who is actively involved with his people’s lives. They were casting the worries of losing their life or other people’s lives for being a Christian.
Peter tells his readers how to resist the devil. Humble yourselves, cast your anxieties on the Lord, be alert and sober minded, and stand firm in the faith.
God is teaching me what it means to be humble, especially when I am in leadership positions. Instead of looking to have all the right answers, and have “everything together,” I have become more willing to expose my faults and let Christ be exalted over myself. Casting my anxieties unto the Lord produces great joy in my life. Being alert and sober minded enables me to stand firm in the faith. All of these things are truly freeing. I hope that the students that I serve are able to see this in me and be encouraged to live this way in their own lives.
No wonder there’s so many commands to be alert and vigilant. It is very important. We’re in a battle! It’s too easy to conform to the people around us and our mind go unrenewed. Wow it’s hard to believe we’ve finished 1st Peter already. Part of humbling oneself before God appears to be casting our anxiety on Him, I think this shows the connection between pride and anxiety. When we refrain from praying to God and committing to Him our struggles, we’re silently telling God we believe He can’t or won’t help us and that we can do it on our own, which is in a contradiction in itself, as the fact that we’re anxious shows we cannot properly handle our problems.
His readers are to be humble unto God, rely on Him, be alert and resistant to the devil. The battles and wars and struggles in our lives are not primarily against people but the devil and his cohorts. There is a spiritual war. We must be alert to this fact. It helps remind us that the lashing out and harshness of people is often exacerbated by the devil–it is a personal war, not personally against us but against the person whom we represent. We are not defined by other people’s love or hate of us. Our worth and self-perception is defined by God and our relation to Him.
Again Peter talks of being of a sober mind–one that fights off distractions and is aware, perhaps painfully so, of the spiritual and physical realities of evil in this present age. Particularly here, he instructs his readers to be of a sober mind because Satan is prowling around looking for people to devour–those who are not paying attention; those who will be easily led astray and consequently devoured with evil. These are the people who give in to temptation. Let us not think that we are immune to such lackadaisical living as the demands on us increase and our time spent with the Lord is pushed to the side.
In suffering, we can remain sober minded and not give in to the temptation to curse God or abandon Him, or not believe that God is good.