Be Subject (verse 5a)
The charge for younger men to “be subject to [their] elders” is a continuation of verses 1-4 and the relationship between elders and members. Peter addresses the “younger men” in particular because they are predisposed to be unbridled in their actions and independent-minded. Generally speaking, younger men are more apt to be rebellious. However, the charge to “be subject” to the elders applies to all members. We are to be yielded to the God-ordained, God-established governing authority. The word “subject” does not just mean to show deference or to give respect. Rather, it is a general willingness to support the direction of the elders. Of course, this is in no way an encouragement to follow or submit to sinful expectations and directions.
Be Clothed (verse 5b)
In the second half of this verse, Peter moves from the relationship between elder and member to include the relationships of the members with one another. An atmosphere of humility toward one another should characterize our relationships. Humility is not thinking unnecessarily lowly of ourselves. Rather, it is thinking less often about ourselves, which makes room for thinking about others and their needs. Humility is about centering our lives on God and not ourselves. It is to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind [to] regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Christ is the great example of humility (Philippians 2:5-8).
We ought to put on this humility because “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (cf. Proverbs 3:34). The proud think themselves more important than others and trust in themselves rather than in God. But God delights in His people who humbly submit to Him and He gives grace to those who trust Him. The proud seek glory for themselves and God opposes their efforts; the humble seek to give glory to God and receive grace in their endeavor. The puffed-up heart has no room for grace; the humble heart, being empty of self, is capable of receiving grace.
Be Humble (verse 6)
Peter makes another transition, this time from humility among us all to humility before God. To humble ourselves before God is to bow before His infinite wisdom. It is to accept the twists and turns of His providence and acknowledge His ultimate goodness towards His people. As we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand now, we have the promise that He will also exalt us later. This exaltation, or vindication, may not happen in this life, but it will unquestionably happen in the next life.
Be Casting (verse 7)
Peter is here continuing the command from verse 6 to “humble yourselves”. The very clear point that Peter is emphasizing is that humility is most clearly evidenced by “casting all your anxiety” on God. Worry is a form of pride. It denies His sovereign care for us. The remedy for worry is humbly resting in God’s loving concern for His people.
Too often, the cares that weigh us down are the concerns of our pride, rather than the cares and concerns of His kingdom. When we struggle with what should not concern us, agonizing over burdens that are not ours, it is no surprise when we end up weighed down. Instead, we ought to burden Him with our anxieties, knowing that He can shoulder them all and will do what needs to be done about them. Whatever is weighing you down, fling it on His mercy.
- The essence of anxiety, cares, and worry is assuming that we are wiser than God. This results in us putting ourselves in His place and attempting to carry burdens that He alone can bear. Is there anything in your life in which you find it hard to trust God? Are you carrying any burdens yourself rather than casting them on the God who cares for you? Are the difficulties in your life driving you into the arms of God, or are they distancing you from Him?