by Stephanie Olson, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
I have a love-hate relationship with this scripture. It is no secret for those of you who have known me well (and loved me) that I have struggled with pride issues. I’m not alone in this one. I think for many of us, if we were to really take a hard look at ourselves–a hard, painful look–we would discover issues with pride. They manifest themselves differently in each and every one of us.
For me, God had to really show me that any gift I posses is from Him. As James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV) But that isn't the only way pride manifests itself. It may also come out in anger, being easily offended, a passive-aggressive nature, or a need to "show off" a talent. Pride is a tricky thing. It never really announces itself and says, “Hello, I’m pride, and I want you to know you are afflicted with me!” No, that’s why it’s really hard to get a person filled with pride to search out books on humility. But I digress.
As I was thinking about this scripture this afternoon, I noticed the first word: therefore. One of the things you learn as a student of the scriptures is that anytime you see the word therefore, you need to find out what it’s there for.
So, let’s back up some to the previous verse. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’…”
And then it goes on to say, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
God resists the proud. God resists the proud. Let that sink in. I know I needed to. God resists the proud. But He gives grace to the humble–grace to accomplish the task at hand, grace to say no to temptation and sin, grace to do in His power what we can’t do in our own. When we recognize that everything we have is given to us by God and we drop that pride of ours and humble ourselves under His mighty hand, He will exalt us! We don’t need to exalt ourselves, because He will do it. Yes, yes I know, it says in due time. It’s not in our timing, true, but His perfect timing.
So, the love-hate part of this scripture for me? Well, God has used it to bring me back to Him. He has used it to remind me that everything I have is His. He has used it to remind me that His mighty hand is much better than my weakness. And, yes, He has used it to remind me that God resists the proud. And so because He loves us so much, we can finish the verse by “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”