When I started the day it was not my intention to get God to oppose me.
Peter tells us that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Eek. Something about the thought of standing toe to toe with the living God and opposing Him makes me tremble a little bit.
I guess Peter figured it would, because he tells us how to act in light of that fearful truth:
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. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
This verse tells us what to do, why we should do it and how to do it.
WHAT: We should humble ourselves; submit ourselves into God’s hands. We should trust our lives into His sovereign direction.
WHY: Why? ‘So that’ God may restore us at the right time without contradicting His character. God is going to oppose the proud. He is going to give grace to the humble. In light of that promise, we should set ourselves up to be in that second category and trust God to lift us up in due time.
HOW: What does it look like to humble yourself and trust in God? How can you tell if you’re doing that? Verse 7 tells us. Trusting into God’s hands looks like casting – or flinging – all our concerns about the situation we’re in on God’s capable shoulders because we believe He cares.
The implication of the text is that if we are NOT flinging our cares on His shoulders, we’re actually NOT humbling ourselves under God’s mighty hand, and we are in fact operating in pride. Pride – the sin that sets us up in opposition to God. Hence the title. If you want God to oppose you today, it’s simple: refuse to humble yourself under His mighty hand by doing one of these three things:
- Be anxious about your circumstances. Plan speeches in your head. Replay conversations. Assign others motives and encourage your thoughts to dwell on all the things that aren’t perfect about your situation. Nurture your anxiety.
- Refuse to give your cares to God. Assume that God doesn’t care about your life. Keep your worries to yourself because God couldn’t possibly be concerned with the tiny details of your day. View God as a King but not a father.
- Seek to take care of yourself. Be strong and independent. Find a way to take what you want from your circumstances. Make them how you want them to be. Take action and get the exaltation you want.
These things may feel like small and insignificant details, but Peter says they are symptoms of a defiant pride unwilling to concede that God might be better qualified to run our lives than we are.
There’s another option. We could confess with our hearts and lives that God alone is able to direct our steps and manage our circumstances. We could trust Him. We could take the details of our day and fling every last shred of worry on the broad shoulders of a sovereign God and crawl into His hand and let Him fight for us because we know He cares.
We could do that because we know for sure that His response will be in line with His character: He will give us grace. He will exalt us at the proper time. He will, Himself, restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. Sounds like a win/win to me.