1 Peter 5:5, 6
Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…
It is natural for men to think highly of themselves and depreciatingly of others. Pride was always reckoned by the old Catholic moralists among the seven deadly sins. It is a sin into which too many habitually fall, however it may seem to them anything but a sign of degradation. Christianity attacks this habit, and seeks to substitute for it in human character the fair but often despised grace of humility.
I. THE SPHERE OF HUMILITY.
1. The Christian is humble before God. A just and scriptural conception of the Divine attributes is necessary to true humility. A man must compare himself with infinite greatness and excellence, with infinite power and wisdom, in order that he may form a proper estimate of himself. Such humility displays itself in reverential prayer, in scrupulous obedience, in patient submission, especially under disciplinary affliction.
2. The Christian is humble in his demeanor towards his fellow-men. This is a far more difficult exercise. And it must not he supposed that humility is expected, of the same kind and the same degree, in the attitude of man to man, as in the attitude of man to God. A wise man is not required to regard a fool as his superior in wisdom, or a virtuous man to regard a criminal as his superior in character. But the Christian is to guard against an overbearing and haughty spirit; he is to treat the lowly and the poor with due respect and consideration. Humility is best shown in the bearing of a man towards those who are his inferiors, and even towards those who are ungrateful for favors and services.
II. THE DISCIPLINE AND HABIT OF HUMILITY. The expression in the original translated "gird yourselves with humility," is not without difficulty; yet it seems to imply both that an effort and resolution are required, and that humility is to become a vestment, a clothing, to be habitually worn for use.
III. THE MOTIVES TO HUMILITY. The need of powerful motives in order to overcome powerful temptations is obvious; and such motives are provided for the Christian's benefit and aid.
1. The consciousness of our own feebleness and ill desert. None who truly knows himself can cherish pride. His frequent errors in the past, his liability still to err, must be too present to his mind. to allow of self-confidence and boasting.
2. The pressing necessity of the service of man. All around us are those who need help. It may not promote our personal advantage to minister to their needs; and such ministry may involve the sacrifice of self, the crucifixion of pride.
3. The prospect of the future exaltation of the lowly. This is a proper motive, for it is one presented by the inspired writers. The way of self-denial is the way to victory.
4. The precepts and example of the Lord Jesus himself must have great force with his affectionate followers; and he has shown us that it is right and admirable even "to wash one another's feet"! - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."