1 Peter 5
Peter is giving out exhortations for the elders of the church as well as to the younger people in the church.
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” 1 Peter 5:1-4
Peter had the authority and the insight to give direction to the elders of the church, first as a fellow elder but also, as an eyewitness to the sufferings of Christ. And Peter was there and witnessed the glory of Christ too. He was there on the mount of transfiguration, he was there for countless miracles, he saw Jesus walk on water and actually walked on water himself. And he saw Him after his resurrection. Think of it this way, if someone is telling you about something they heard about, you may believe them, but when someone is telling you about something they witnessed, it brings a different kind of credibility and energy to the story. Peter wants to be sure that they realize, that he has credibility and energy to bring to them and to teach them about Jesus. Peter was the one Jesus told “feed my sheep”. He had received this exhortation straight from Jesus. And he had learned what that meant from the Master. He wants to teach the elders how to shepherd the flock as well.
But he also does not leave out the flock in his exhortation.
“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.’” 1 Peter 5:5
Peter begins addressing the younger people of the church, but he quickly realizes this is really a lesson for all. He wants them to serve each other, but he also quoted scripture to them. He reminds them of Proverbs 3:34 when he quotes “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Following Jesus means setting aside our own agenda and pride and living under God’s grace.
“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.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
Acting in humility under the hand of God, is simply following His direction for your life. It is realizing that we wouldn’t be anywhere without His lead. I have tried many times in my life to make something happen. But I have come to learn that when I submit my will to His will things always turn out so much better. Sometimes I receive what I was wanting and sometimes I receive a direction that is better than I could have ever thought. I remember once I was up for a job I thought I wanted so bad. I didn’t pray for God’s will, I kept praying for that job. Well, I didn’t get it, and it hurt my feelings so bad. But I also had to humble myself a little bit and I had to congratulate the person who got it, and still had to work with her and be gracious even though she got the job I thought I wanted. But about a year later, another job came available that I was better suited for and was more money, and was way better for me than the first one would have been. I can’t help but think that the attitude I made myself have, to act in humility and be gracious to her, and believe me it was not always easy, had to have helped me to land the other job. I also know God knew what was coming later and He knew what would be better for me at the time and for my future.
The next verses are some of the most famous of this entire book.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
We must always be aware that we have an adversary and if he can’t take us out, he wants to take us down. Once you accept Christ and become a Christian, the devil knows that he can’t own you anymore. But that doesn’t mean he gives up. His aim then becomes to cripple you, he will watch you and he will know your weaknesses and he will throw every fiery dart your way that he possibly can just to make us lose our credibility and to question our faith. But if you resist the darts, and you stand firm in your faith, you will gain more and more strength in order to resist him. I know that the devil never gives up completely but that thing that he is throwing at you, that is driving you to your knees in prayer, is making you stronger in Christ. Friends, don’t let him take you down on your back, let him take you down on your knees. Whatever tactic he is using to cripple you, you take it to the Lord in prayer and then you get up and you brush yourself off, and you stand firm and resist the devil and the darts he is throwing. You see I think after a while, he gets tired of that tactic. And yes, he will move on to another tactic. But you, because of the time you have spent in prayer, your faith will be restored and confirmed, you are stronger and strengthened and more established in your faith. And you will be able to stand firm against him again and again until Christ returns.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” 1 Peter 5:10-11