Today’s devotion is an excerpt from a Bible Study Series taught at Fellowship Baptist Church, titled “Biblical Building Blocks for Strengthening Relationships.”
Biblical Building Block #27 Subject One to Another (I Peter 5:5) PART 2
I Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
I. The Clothing of the Saints (I Peter 5:5c-d)
A. The Instruction about their Clothing
“…and be clothed with humility…”
The word “clothe” means “to attach a piece of clothing to oneself. A knot or band by which two things are tied or fastened together; to fasten or gird one's self”. It describes a kind of garment as well as the act of putting it on. In New Testament times, slaves fastened a white piece of cloth or apron over their clothing so that others would know that they were slaves. This word stood for the white scarf or apron of a slave which was fastened to the belt of the vest, or it referred to overalls which slaves wore to keep clean while working. This apron or these overalls distinguished those who were slaves from those who were freemen. The garment was a humbling one because it was the garment of a servant or slave. Peter challenges us to tie the cloth of humility onto ourselves in order to be identified as believers and servants of Christ. Being clothed with humility will help us on all occasions, to give up our own will and to follow another.
We are to be clothed with humility. The word "clothed" is interesting. Let me illustrate. In Carrabelle, there are times you will drive down the streets or highway and you will see men working in blue suits picking up debris near the highway. The suits are worn by those who are prisoners or in jail who are working under police supervision. Most people know the meaning behind the jumpsuit. I am sure it is humiliating for some of these men to wear one of these in public as they pick up the garbage. This is the idea behind this word "clothed." So to be clothed with humility means we are to adorn our attitude or heart with the attitude of a servant to others. We are to be covered with it in spite of what others think. Humility was not an admired trait in the first-century pagan world. People saw it as a characteristic of weakness and cowardice, to be tolerated only in the involuntary submission of slaves. God, however, considered it as a trait of strength.
Not only do healthy churches submit to their elders instead of snapping back at them or disobeying them, they also serve one another. Peter uses a very interesting word when he says “clothe yourselves.” It literally means “to tie something on oneself.” It is a word used of a cloth a servant would put on right before serving. No doubt, Peter was thinking of Christ right before he served and washed the disciple’s feet in John 13:4-5. The servant apron that believers must put on is that of “humility.” What is humility? What is the meaning of the word "humility?" There are many misconceptions about what it is and what it is not. Humility means "to have a humble opinion of yourself; to have a deep sense of your own littleness or an attitude of modesty; not rising far from the ground; an absence of selfish pride; the earnest ability to give God and others the credit for what is achieved or accomplished. Humble: (Webster’s) having or showing a consciousness of one’s shortcomings; modest; lowly; unpretentious. The word humility carries the idea of “lowliness of mind”. Scripturally, it means to think of oneself as lowly in view of God and others. Paul says something similar to this in Philippians 2:3-4. Humility considers others better than themselves. Christ left heaven and took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7). The church must have this mind as well. When the church is clothed with the apron of humility, they will go about seeking how they may serve others and help them know Christ. It means to think about meeting another’s needs over our own. People clothed with humility say, “What are the needs of others and how can I help them?”
One of the reasons most churches struggle with finding people to serve in children’s ministry, youth ministry, usher ministry or driving ministry is because most people are not clothed in the servant’s garment of humility. They are not saying, “How can I help the church?” Notice what Paul said about Timothy (Philippians 2:19-21). Timothy was clothed with the garment of humility and was consumed with the interests of others and of Christ. The ultimate picture of a humble servant is Christ. Even though He was God, He came to earth as a man taking the form of a servant. He served those who He was higher than. He humbled Himself, not only before God, but before men. This attitude must be in us as well (Philippians 2:5-11).
Thank you for reading PART 2 of Biblical Building Block #27 of this series. Please visit this website tomorrow for PART 3 of Biblical Building Block #27 of this series.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.