What does it mean to be humble before each other and God? Throughout scripture, God opposes those who are prideful and arrogant, but lifts up those who know their need and understand their dependence on God.
One way to get our mind around what it means to be humble is to understand humility in light of grace. In the New Testament, grace is not simply God’s mercy or forgiveness, but rather God’s power that is at work in us. The grace that comes to us is God’s energy, strength, wisdom, and insight. Humility then is the condition of our heart that allows us to receive God’s power. We can only receive the power of God at work in our lives when we realize the limitations of our own strength. Pride is the elevation of our own ability over God’s. To be prideful is to assert that “we can handle it” and we don’t really “need” God’s strength. One might say that pride is “self-reliance” and humility is “God-reliance.”
Peter encourages the church to be humble towards one another. In the context of I Peter 5, he encourages the shepherds to be humble before Christ and the flock they oversee and he admonishes the younger men to be submissive to the older men among them. The church is encouraged to humble themselves under God’s mighty hand so that God might lift them up in due time. As an example, he says, “Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Grace comes to us in our anxious moments when, in humility, we cast our cares on the Lord. When we trust God’s strength to see us through, his grace is in plentiful supply. In anxious moments, pride makes it worse—thinking that we have to “fix it.” It is out of God’s great caring mercy, that his grace sustains us. The old saying, “Let go, and let God.” is another way of expressing, “God gives grace to the humble.”