1 Peter 5:5-7
Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…
I. TO EXPLAIN THE NATURE OF HUMILITY. Humility consists in a low opinion or esteem. Now the opinion which we form of ourselves is either absolute or comparative, and whichever way we judge it is very certain that a low opinion best becomes us, and is most suitable to our nature and state.
1. First, if we judge of ourselves absolutely, without comparing ourselves with any others, humility and truth too requires that our opinion should be very moderate and low. We know but little, and we live, alas! to little good purpose. What a mixture of corruption is there with every grace, and what a sully of sin in every duty! Again, as to the happiness of our state, what mortal does not feel that he is miserable? Pains and diseases afflict our bodies, crosses and disappointments perplex our circumstances, the gloom of melancholy gathers about the heart, and sorrows overspread the whole world.
2. Humility consisteth in having a low opinion of ourselves as compared with others, whether with God or with our fellow creatures.
II. TO SET BEFORE YOU THE GOOD FRUITS OF HUMILITY. To this grace we may apply these words of the prophet, "It taketh root downward and beareth fruit upward" (Isaiah 37:31), and the deeper the root is laid, the larger and fairer will the fruit be.
1. Meekness is one pleasant fruit which grows upon humility, and to this we may join the kindred grace of peaceableness or quietness of spirit (1 Peter 3:4).
2. Patience is another good fruit of humility, with which we may join the kindred grace of submission. Now patience has respect either to God or man.
(1) Patience in respect to God consisteth in a quiet submission to His afflictive providences without murmuring.
(2) If we further consider patience as it respects men, as it is opposite to fretfulness at their faults and follies, this also is the fruit of humility; for if we were as sensible of our own follies as we should be, we should more patiently bear with the faults and follies of others.
3. Self-denial is another good fruit of humility, and how necessary a duty that is you will learn from those words of Christ (Luke 9:23). We surely esteem the body at too high a rate when we pamper it to the hurt of the soul.
4. The last good fruit of humility which I shall here speak of is contentment. The humble man remembers that, be his worldly condition what it will, it is unspeakably better than he deserves.
III. To urge upon you the exhortation in our text by A FEW MOTIVES. "Be ye clothed with humility." For —
1. Consider how high an approbation God has expressed of this grace, and how hateful pride is to Him.
2. Consider what a lovely and engaging example of humility Christ hath set us.
3. Let me recommend humility as a necessary part of your preparation for heaven.
Parallel VersesKJV: Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
WEB: Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."