“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5, NKJV)
Jesus came not to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. That is the model for Christ’s shepherds. Pseudo-shepherds think only of themselves and how they can use the sheep for their own gain (Ezek. 34:1-4). Peter would have heard Jesus taking the Pharisees to task for such self-serving “ministry.”
True shepherds, on the other hand, follow the model of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-28). They sacrifice themselves to know the sheep, feed them, pursue the wandering, rescue the ensnared, and equip them to do the Father’s will.
The hallmark of the shepherd after Christ’s heart is humility. Pride produces the fruit of domineering and craving for selfish gain. Humility operates in the fear of the Lord, saying “not unto me, not unto me, but to You alone be the glory.” Humility recognizes that station, calling, aptitude, and opportunity come from God and are to be consecrated to Him (cf. 1 Pet. 4:8-11).
This hallmark of humility, however, is required not only of leaders but of every disciple of the Kingdom. Peter drives this home when he says: “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Pet. 5:5).
Being part of Christian community, the local church, calls for us to lay aside the independence of pride and exercise humility toward those who have spiritual oversight over us (Heb. 13:17) and to one another. Those who refuse local church alignment display hubris rather than humility and put themselves in the position of opposing God and depriving themselves of the means of grace found in the local body.
That’s why Peter calls us to first cast ourselves upon God through humbling ourselves and then to our cares upon Him, believing that He cares us and that His wisdom is perfect.
REFLECTION: Pride is the wellspring of idolatry.
Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.