Helping Christian Leaders
1Church leaders, I am writing to encourage you. I too am a leader, as well as a witness to Christ's suffering, and I will share in his glory when it is shown to us.
2 Just as shepherds watch over their sheep, you must watch over everyone God has placed in your care. Do it willingly in order to please God, and not simply because you think you must. Let it be something you want to do, instead of something you do merely to make money. 3Don't be bossy to those people who are in your care, but set an example for them. 4Then when Christ the Chief Shepherd returns, you will be given a crown that will never lose its glory.
5 All of you young people should obey your elders. In fact, everyone should be humble toward everyone else. The Scriptures say,
“God opposes proud people,
but he helps everyone
who is humble.”
6 Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes. 7 God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.
8Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. 9But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord's followers are suffering just as you are. 10But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That's why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. 11God will be in control forever! Amen.
12 Silvanus helped me write this short letter, and I consider him a faithful follower of the Lord. I wanted to encourage you and tell you how kind God really is, so you will keep on having faith in him.
13 Greetings from the Lord's followers in Babylon. They are God's chosen ones.
Mark, who is like a son to me, sends his greetings too.
14Give each other a warm greeting. I pray that God will give peace to everyone who belongs to Christ.
“Clothe yourselves with humility” (5:5). It’s striking how often the Bible’s writers encourage humility, frequently enough to suggest that people have a recurring problem with pride. I immediately think of rulers in our world and leaders I have known whose pride is astronomical.
Yet the issue goes deeper than that. Pride lives in the depths of every human heart.
The antidote to this sin is humility, which is nothing more than barebones truth-telling, a proper assessment of the good and bad, strengths and weaknesses, of my character and actions in any given situation.
Humility is something to wear, a choice of responses to put on when my ego feels under attack. I demonstrate pride when someone provokes me and I try to impress my importance on them. That’s when I need to change the point of comparison; to think about God’s greatness and power. I am put back in my place.
Humility lets God choose the situations that make us look good. We credit the Almighty rather than claiming glory for ourselves. Humility is the stylish uniform of the faithful Christian. It suits us.
Humble Christians can cope with persecution or any deep suffering because they are in the habit of of releasing all woes, cares, worries, and anxieties to the heavens, fully confident that God is listening with a compassionate ear and constant companionship. “God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him” (5:7).
Suffering is real, difficult, inevitable … and temporary. The way to deal with it is to keep God at the forefront of your thoughts, as the orienting point in your life, with a holy expectation that God “will honor you when the time comes” (5:6).
O God, humility is hard and pride seems so much easier. Yet anything I have or am comes from you, and only in you can I fully live and discover my being. Keep me in my place, O God, and help me to recognize your hand even in my hardships. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.