In 1 Peter 5:5 the Galilean fisherman writes, “All of you, cloth yourselves with humility.” Context could suggest that Peter is referring to “all of you younger people” or “all you elders and younger people” (because of the close connection with the preceding verses), but due to the sentence structure in Greek it most likely refers to the entire church body. You make think that an observation like that is a bit too “scholarly” but I bring it up because of the universal need for humility by everyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus. It is interesting that Jesus’ only description of himself was that he is “gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29).
Among the many ways that humility has been defined, there is none better than C. S. Lewis’ “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”(A close second is my grandmother’s “Humility is a trait so rare than when you think you have it you’ve lost it.”) The way Peter words his counsel (“clothe yourselves with humility”) reminds us of Jesus on the night before his crucifixion when he took off his outer garments, tied a towel around his waist, and washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:4). Jesus constantly put himself in the position of responding to the needs of the other. That is genuine humility. It runs exactly counter to our human nature. We enter this world both needing and wanting center stage. In time the “needing” drops off but the “wanting,” never. Jesus taught that to find life one must lose it (Matthew 10:39) and that is the working example of genuine humility – placing the welfare of the other person, not our own, at the very center of life.
Think for a moment with me on what it would be like if all who call themselves Christian would practice this kind of humility. My mind runs to church splits, angry congregational meetings, personal dislike of another, sharing of scandalous hearsay, etc. It could well be that the most needed revival of today’s church is a return to humility. Suddenly the world would know that something dramatic had happened among Christian believers and decide to take a second look at that message they call “the good news.”