Thursday, May 3, 2012

God Will Lift You Up

 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.   Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:5-7

One of the biggest problems in America today is the spirit of rebellion.  The second is one like it, the one of independence.  Rebellion and independence are not virtues in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Heaven is not a Democracy; we don’t get to elect our Savior.

God placed all positions of authority and we should submit to them.  It does not mean that we must agree with every word that someone in authority says.  There is a respectful way to disagree with those in authority while remaining in submission to their authority.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not agree with King Nebuchadnezzar when the king made the subjects bow down to his statue.  The trio did not flip the bird to the king, but rather they addressed King Nebuchadnezzar properly.

So submission to elders does not mean that we follow their every word and command.  It does mean that we should respect their authority and listen to what the elders say.  We must not rebel against them, for they are elders in the church for a reason.

The next command is for everyone; clothe yourself in humility toward one another.  We cannot think of ourselves as greater than another.  Jesus said that the greatest in heaven was the one who served his brothers.  Even Jesus, God in the Flesh, humbled Himself for us; how much more should we humble ourselves to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ?

God does not merely dislike the proud, He opposes them.  The word oppose is not a passive verb.  A football team does stand by to let their opponents score a touchdown.  No, they resist the opposing team’s effort to score a goal.  In the same way, God will oppose the proud.

God shows favor to the humble.  There is no greater example of this in Scripture than the opening of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (the beatitudes).

Read the words of Paul in Romans 4:3: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

We are under God’s mighty hand (the one that measured off the universe, by the way).  He is so great, and we are so small compared to Him.  That’s a humbling thought and we should remember that.

It’s true, God wants the best for us.  He wants us to do well and succeed; however, His idea of success is far different than the worlds.  We must learn to be content with were we are and listen to God’s voice.

God’s timing is different than what we would like.  Joseph spent two years in prison before God caused the cup bearer to remember Joseph.  But when the time was right, Joseph was lifted up and promoted to the second highest position in all of Egypt.  When the time is right, God will lift us up and promote us.

Remember, God, the Creator of the Universe cares for you.  Whatever your situation is, wherever you’re at, God cares for you.  There’s no reason to be anxious.  We should take all of our prayers and petitions to Him and give our anxieties to Him.  If God can create the entire universe in seven days from absolutely nothing, how hard is it for God to provide exactly what we need at the appropriate time?

When you pray, He will answer.  You may not get what you pray for right away or God might have something better planned for you.  Only God knows, so do not be anxious.

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