Walking Through 1st Peter – Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? How many times have we said or heard that phrase? The cliché occurrence is a child going with their parents to someplace special. But how often do we assume that same kind of doubt and impatience in other circumstances? Why can’t things change now? Come on coach, put me in the game. Or when things hoped for seem to be endlessly delayed. Or when the restoration of injustice drags on. Peter has an unexpected answer for this angst as he prepares to close out his 1st letter.

Welcome to the 22nd step in our Walk Through 1st Peter. If you’re just joining us, dive right in.  If you want to catch-up the rest of the series is available at Lambchow.com.

Having advised the elders and church leaders in 1 Peter 5:1-4 he continues with some direction for the younger generation and everyone else. Peter wrote, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5–7, NASB95)

The specific worries and anxieties between generations may differ in content but not in tone. Every older generation wonders and worries about the state of the world they are leaving. They are concerned that the structures and ideals they struggled to build will be torn down by those that follow.

Likewise, the younger generation has formed a set of ideals. Most often constructed of wrongs that need to be made right. They chomp at the bit to take the lead often seeing those older as in the way instead of endowed with wisdom and experience.

Here’s the funny thing to me. Both sets of generations often think that they are the first to go through this battle. Wrong, it is as old as mankind itself. The pride of the older generation is in what they accomplished, built, changed, and achieved. The pride of the younger generation is their idealism, energy, and faith that everything is possible.  The clash of prides creates battlelines some call the generation gap.

The balm for this conflict is humility. Peter advises the younger men to accept the authority of the elders. To be subject to another’s authority requires humility.  Peter doesn’t spend much time there and quickly broadens the view to include everyone. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another.”

What does that kind of humility look like? I think that it is marked by acceptance, forgiveness, the refusal to make assumptions or assign motives, and seeing others as important and vital regardless of their role or contribution. Humility means listening and asking questions instead of demanding change. Lastly, humility recognizes wisdom, experience, and expertise without feeling devalued and offers the same wisdom, experience, and expertise without devaluing others.

We all want God’s grace and favor. Right? I do. I’m pretty sure that you do too. Isn’t that what prayer is all about, asking for God’s grace and favor in the middle of our battle? God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Are we there yet? Oops, where did that come from? Isn’t that our attitude towards God sometimes?  We want whatever we want right now. And if God doesn’t answer in the next five minutes or the next 24 hours then, well… The test of humility is often found in waiting. That’s the hard part.

It’s almost as if Peter’s thoughts snap back to the younger men in the phrase, “that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” The anxiety of youth is built on Carpe Diem (seize the day) and YOLO (you only live once). But Peter advises waiting on God, to throw that anxiety of not getting there fast enough to God and trust the timing to Him. Remember God’s timing is not our own. God has not forgotten you but knows exactly what must be formed in you to succeed.

Are we there yet? Nope. But we’re not the ones in control, God is.

Dale Heinold
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