1 Peter 5:6-8
Posted June 18, 2012
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.
St. Augustine considered the way of a Christian a pursuit of ordo amoris, our “ordered affections.” Sin then is having the wrong affections, loves for the wrong objects. The rebellion of our affections is centered around our desire to love what we want, when we want, and how we want. A life apart from God is consumed with its own power to sustain and perpetuate misdirected love.
Here St. Peter is inviting us to surrender our powers to the “mighty hand of God.” Humbling oneself is the act of accepting our powerlessness. Humility shares the same root as “humus,” or dirt, as does human. Humans are by status humble because we are of the dirt. We become arrogant when we forget our lowly stature in relation to God.
To the prideful, power-striving person, humbling oneself before God seems, well—humiliating.
To the Christian pursuing proper God-focused ordo amoris, humbling oneself before God is a relief and a comfort. It is because of his care for us that we can cast our anxieties upon him.
Our adversary wants to steal from us, kill us, and destroy us (John 10:10). He wants to devour us. If we continue to strive with our own powers for the purpose of our own pet affections, we will not be sober-minded or watchful. Often the most distracting affections are minor dissipations and not seemingly grave sins. It’s the smallest diversions that capture our attention each day and keep our hearts and minds numb and clouded enough to keep us from the greatest object of our affections, Christ himself.
The Good News is yet again, die to yourself, choose Christ, and in the proper time he will set you free and exalt you. He will care for you tenderly and give you a definite taste for himself. You will hunger for him above all other things, and so you will be more sober and attentive to search for him in the midst of all the other desires that might distract you.
This week's devotional & song were written by Joshua Banner. Josh is the host and creator of the Invitation Podcast. He is a certified spiritual director, a retreat leader, and facilitator of contemplative prayer outreach in prisons. Josh has served extensively in local churches and in campus ministries in worship arts and discipleship. Josh currently is an adjunct professor at Hope College in the Studies in Ministry Minor degree program, and is a part-time stay at home dad. He's an author and contributed to a beautiful book on the arts and their importance in the local church called "For The Beauty of the Church" (http://amzn.com/0801071917) with other authors like Eugene Peterson, Andy Crouch, Jeremy Begbie, etc.
He and his wife, poet Susanna Childress, and their two sons, Casper and Shepherd, and baby girl, Merritt, live in Holland MI. Susanna (http://www.susannachildress.com), who sings with him on this week's song, is a gifted writer & poet and has released a couple outstanding books of poetry: "Jagged with Love" (http://amzn.com/0299212645) and most recently "Entering The House of Awe" (http://amzn.com/1936970007).