Journal 1 Pet 5 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you: casting all your anxieties on him because He cares for you.
Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 1 Pet 5:6-9
Observation: Humility, anxiousness, and synchronicities…Huh? What is that last word and why are these three things important for me to think about and consider?
Analysis: I started thinking (again) about this verse and especially humility a few days ago. I remembered the verse in James (God resists the proud but gives grace to the lowly (or humble) (James 4:7)).
The picture of what humility looks like, the definition of the word, has been skewed all over the place in our generation. “Bow your head, eat dirt, don’t stand up for yourself, etc.” are just some of the definitions that are struggled with.
Anxiousness (being anxious) is something else: the root of this definition practically speaking is “worry”. If I am anxious, I am probably worrying about something; something that isn’t going my way or the way that I want it to.
Synchronicity is the word that describes what the Holy Spirit is saying with “the same kind of suffering is being experienced by the brotherhood.” I might think that I am alone in my experiences, but the firm Word of God says not.
I wonder if all three of these concepts are really a struggle of subjectiveness vs. objectiveness.
Explanation: If I am subjective, I am thinking all about me? “I am proud of the way I am so humble.” Right, that is humility in action. Being anxious? Wringing my hands, worrying about the outcomes of life, whatever I am thinking about right then. And then there is the lie that I am all alone in my experiences: “Nobody has been on the road I am on, nobody can advise me, care for me: no one will understand what I am going through…”
However, I am told, instructed, to put my subjectivity to the side and rely on the objective Word of God and the Comfort of the Holy Spirit. There is also the local church. (Side note: Ever wonder why God places an emphasis on the local church and not being a hermit for Christ? Remember 1 Pete 2:5 where we are being built into a spiritual house and not “spiritual rubble?” It is because health is found where there are emissaries of God; brothers and sisters of like experiences and gifts to be sought out.)
Perhaps in a broad sense this is a difference between being “pleased” with myself instead of being “proud” of myself. I can be pleased that I am conforming to the Word of God, KNOWING that it isn’t all due to my effort, but to surrendering to the Holy Spirit and his power in overcoming/putting to death my indwelling sin. Being “proud” may have a meaning that I am “balancing out the scales” to my good, the definition of “Grace-less works.”
Being a disciple is growing in the objectiveness of God and His Word.
- God resists the proud. Why? Because the proud exhibits that God isn’t needed; they are self-sufficient; “Let me take control.” It is found in the difference in being “independent” (the Sin of Adam) or “dependent” (the Gospel of Jesus Christ).
- Being anxious is saying “I don’t trust You to care for my concerns.”
- Thinking I am alone in my life, my struggles, and everything is really denying the Presence of God, the cloud of witnesses, the Church, and everything. It is accepting the lie that the devil tried to foist on Jesus in the wilderness, attempting to convince the Son “it was all about Him” and trying to move His eye from the Goal, the Target, the Plan, the Gospel—God Himself.
Cultivating “objectivity” is wrapped up in this: “Be sober minded…” The only way I can think of the Gospel is using the “jewel” metaphor: Multifaceted, like a grid or outline; every topic involved with the Gospel is integrated with each other but needs to be considered separately.
And I didn’t even get to the adversary’s part in this…
Prayer: Father, help me to wring this out to a good communication. That is what all of this exercise is about: notes to think about another day.
If this rings some bells in a brother/sister’s thought processes, please bless them with clarity that is only from You.
Ricky Two Shoes