This Christian Calling Is Often Suppressed In Secular Environments

It is all the more difficult to live in accord with the values of Christian life when secular culture ridicules the faith and either subtly, or overtly, attempts to suppress those who practice it.

“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

This passage is yet another iteration of our Christian calling to be humble before the Lord and each other. We are reminded here in this closing section of First Peter, that living in accord with the values of the Christian life in a hostile, secular environment that promotes values that are quite the opposite, is difficult. It is all the more so when that culture ridicules the faith and either subtly, or overtly, attempts to suppress those who practice it.

Because of this reality, we Christians are challenged all the more to be examples of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness to one another and, yes, even to our enemies. Actions do speak louder than words. In submitting ourselves willingly to God’s law we, “clothe ourselves with humility toward one another…” (verse 5) In this way we imitate Christ who, “being found in human form, humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8) Our redemption came through humility. Pride was, is, and always will be our downfall. We are reminded quite directly at the end of verse 5 that, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Once again we are made aware of the paradox we all live in as Christians. It is in humility that we are exalted. We may not feel exalted in the present moment, or even over the length of a lifetime, but “in the proper time” we will be exalted by God in a way that we can barely imagine, except in faith. In faith we can, “cast all of our anxieties on him, because he cares for us.” In faith we believe that because God cares for us he will help us in our efforts to humbly follow him through his generous gifts of grace to us. It is this that gives us the courage to continue to serve him humbly even though the world around us is indifferent, or even hateful toward us. In the end, we can trust Jesus’ words to us, that, “the first shall be last and the last first.” (Matthew 20:16) If we give up our egos, if we put Jesus before all other things in our lives, we will be exalted. In submitting to God, we are submitting to nothing less than love. By submitting to love we become love.

By choosing humility rather than falling into the sin of pride, God gives us the power of his graces in order to resist the devil and his manifold temptations. When we choose the path of Christian humility we may suffer in this world. But even though we may suffer, we can take heart always knowing that, “the God of all grace…will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.” (verse 10) With this faith we can carry on, no matter the difficulties.

Lord, help us in our efforts to humbly follow you in all ways and in all things. By your generous graces, make of us your true, good and faithful servants. Make us your humble instruments of love, mercy, forgiveness and peace in this troubled world. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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