A Deep Dive Into Humility, Part 6: Humility Toward One Another

June 2, 2022 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement

Two weeks ago, I brought our attention to 1 Peter 5:5-7. In this passage Peter gives two commands related to humility. The first is others focused. The second is God focused. Hear Peter’s exhortation: 

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ 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.” 

Last time we considered the second command and concluded that without humility, we will never have a relationship with God. Let’s consider the first command, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.” Notice, once again, the command is grounded in the Proverb, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” That’s what the key word “for” indicates for us. We must clothe ourselves with humility toward others because God will oppose us if we don’t. 

What does this mean? Our relationships with one another will not work according to God’s design without humility toward one another. If we do not live according to God’s design, we find ourselves in rebellion to our Creator and at threat of the decay of sin. This applies not only to personal ethics (e.g., alcohol and substance abuse, sexual impurity, work/rest balance, etc.), but also to relational ethics. If we do not engage in relationships with one another according to God’s design, we will not find the blessings of joy and companionship God intends for us through those relationships. 

Consider Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4. In verse 1 he gives the first command of the letter, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” This is the quintessential practical response to all the riches of God’s grace given to us through Christ. Paul then immediately describes what it looks like to walk in a worthy manner. He says in verse 2, “with all humility and gentleness, bearing with one another in love.” If we are going to walk worthy of God’s grace, we will be humble, gentle, patient, and loving with one another. Arrogance toward others is a disrespect of God’s grace for us. 

One more passage will help us understand what this humility toward one another looks like. Paul says in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Let me draw out the practical implications here as rooted in the grace of the gospel. 

  1. True humility toward one another lays aside selfish ambition because God has met all of our needs in Christ Jesus. As James 4:2 says, selfish ambition springs from emptiness. When we are filled in Christ, that ambition dies and we can be clothed in humility toward others. 
  1. True humility toward one another counts others more significant than oneself because in Christ’s love for us we do not need to live for the approval of others. Significance is one of the deepest desires of the human heart. The world teaches us that our significance is rooted in what we accomplish, which is often evaluated in comparison to others. Therefore we are programmed to protect our significance by counting others less significant than ourselves. In Christ, however, our significance is sealed. We are declared to be children of God (1 John 3:1) and coheirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). We don’t have to tear others down in order to make ourselves feel more significant. 
  1. True humility toward one another looks out for the interests of others because we are at peace in Christ. If we perceive our interests are at threat, we will forego the interests of others to focus on ourselves. Modern psychology calls this self-care and says we are entitled to such self-centered focus. The gospel says Christ has looked out for our interests and has left nothing uncared for. Our sins are forgiven. We are reconciled to God. We have the promise of eternal life. Nothing in this world and life can separate us from the love of God. All thanks to Christ! So, what interests of ours must consume our attention so much that we neglect the care of others? 

The positive side of the Proverb quoted in 1 Peter 5:5 says, “God gives grace to the humble.” When we clothe ourselves in humility toward one another, God gives grace to those relationships. They reflect a manner worthy of God’s saving grace toward us in Christ. So, let’s clothe ourselves in humility toward one another.


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