Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humility is the awareness of who we are in juxtaposition to who God is.
On any given night I might find myself lying awake pondering life’s challenges. Finances, kids, ministry responsibilities, health concerns, on and on. I’d rather just sleep. But there I lay with my tired brain clicking away. Can you relate?
Peter states that a practical expression of humility is casting all of our cares upon God. Self-reliance is the opposite of humility. Keeping our cares to ourselves is self-reliance. The reality is that we are creatures that live in a constant state of dependency. There is nothing within us that makes us self-sustaining. We do not have what it takes within ourselves to navigate this life on our own.
I cannot think of one passage that exhorts us to pray for humility (if you can think of one, pray do share). On the other hand, we are consistently commanded to be humble. These passages come to mind:
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8
“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you humble yourselves one toward another, because God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:4
“Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.” 1 Peter 5:6
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2
These are very clear directives. Humility is to be practiced. It is a choice.
One of the most accessible ways to walk in humility is to deliberately maintain a posture of openness toward God. A persistent confession of poverty is a healthy expression of reality. Being deliberately dependent on God and before others are expressed acts of humility.
As others share their stories laced with various burdens, pause at times and pray with them. Invite them to express to God the cares they live with. Remind them that they have a Father who feeds the ravens and adorns the flowers, and he cares for them so much more.
A subtle temptation of our caregiving work is the dreaded messiah complex. People do not ultimately need us nor our expertise. Who they need is Jesus. Our person and expertise are a means by which to bring Jesus to others and others to Jesus. An acute awareness of one’s personal brokenness and poverty goes a long ways toward that desired end.
A fair measure of success is that we and those we tend to are growing in humility. That is to say in becoming master casters of care upon God.
Cast all of your cares upon your Father, for he cares for you.