“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”—1 Peter 5:6-7
We’ve tried as we might to humble ourselves by responding the right way when folks treat us the wrong way—but if we’re honest we’ll admit that it hasn’t always worked. Indeed, we’ve often left the scene of the offense with a bad attitude, complaining to God about how Sister So and So got it all wrong.
We’ve tried as we might to cast our cares upon the Lord—but if we’re honest we’ll admit that we’ve often attempted the task in our own strength. Indeed, we’ve often cast our cares (or our complaints, in many cases) onto a friend instead of the Lord and walked away still trying to carry the oppressive bundle on our already-aching backs.
What’s the problem? Sometimes we take Scriptures out of context. In doing so we lose the fuller meaning. First Peter 5:6-7 offers a strong case in point. Here, the apostle is exhorting us to humble ourselves. But that exhortation comes with a practical how-to instruction that we often forget to employ because we have memorized verse 6 as an individual command and verse 7 as a separate individual command. But the reality is that we humble ourselves in this context by casting our cares on the Lord.
Are you seeing it? Splitting this passage into two standalone Scriptures doesn’t make either part any less true—God will still exalt the humble and God still cares for us whether we cast our cares on Him or not—but it robs us of the “how to” instruction the apostle Peter was offering. And that instruction holds a key to true humility—and true peace.
When we realize we have absolutely no ability in ourselves to handle our anxieties, worries and concerns, we will not hesitate to turn to the one who does have the ability. That, of course, takes humility. Only a prideful heart thinks for one instant that we have the power in and of ourselves to address even the smallest problem in life. The only power we have is the power of our will to trust and rely on Him instead of our own understanding and the power of the Holy Ghost to walk in His Word—and God gave us both. He created us with a will and He gave us His Spirit as a gift to empower us to carry out His will.
When Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5) He meant nothing. Apart from the Christ, we have no path to forgiveness, no healing and no eternal life. That’s easy enough to understand, isn’t it? But the Bible also says that the just shall live by faith (see Heb. 10:38). That means we live our daily lives with the same dependence on Christ that we displayed when we received our salvation.
Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Apart from the wisdom of God, we can’t make decisions that lead us to the best results for our lives. Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, we can’t get revelation from the Word. I speak the truth, without God we can’t do one single thing at all. Don’t be deceived. Apart from Jesus, we’re sunk.
Only when we truly have an understanding of this can He trust us to do great and mighty things for His kingdom. Those who know their God shall be strong and do mighty exploits (see Dan. 11:32). If we know God, we’ll be willing to humble ourselves under His mighty hand. When someone wrongs us, or when we are falsely accused, we should humble ourselves—not under the offender’s mighty hand but under God’s mighty hand. We should cast the care of injustice on to Him because He cares for us—and He’s a just God.
We can trust Him to lift us up at the right time, to vindicate us, to prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies, to anoint our heads with oil, and to cause our cups to run over—if we humble ourselves. But apart from Him, we can do nothing. Haven’t you ever noticed that when we try to defend ourselves against false accusations and the like it typically makes matters worse? When we humble ourselves, it may look like the other person got their way, but that’s not reality. God will have His way and He’ll make a way for us unto vindication. It’s one of the many guarantees in the Bible.
So let this Word sink down deep into your heart—and read it as a single thought rather than two separate instructions. Let it encourage you, let it correct you, let it empower you, let it guide you into humility: “Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (AMP).
Where there’s humility there is the Spirit of the Lord. And where the Spirit of the Lord is there is carefree liberty.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma magazine. She is also author of several books, including “Doubtless: Faith that Overcomes the World.” You can find Jennifer online at www.jenniferleclaire.org or e-mail [email protected].