“Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
‘God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.'”
and be clothed
“Be clothed” is not the ordinary word for clothing oneself. This occurrence is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament. It comes from two words: in and tie with a knot, roll band, or towel. It means to “engird yourselves.”
“Clothed” means to tie clothing to oneself with a broad belt. Tie your clothing on your mind, not your fat. The clothing here is humility. Dress with humility. Gird yourself with humility.
One purpose of a girdle is to control fat from bouncing around and brings fat under control. Here, we are to bring our minds under control. Humility needs to be bound to oneself because humility does not come to us naturally.
Eventually, “clothed” came to mean to coordinate your clothing, “Dress in a coordinated manner.” If a person does this, they turn out to be human beings!! This is not talking about merely coordinating our clothes but coordinating our lives with humility. If we dress with our shirttails out, we do not coordinate our clothing. God is not talking about tucking in our shirts but gathering humility into our thinking.
Metaphorically, “clothed” may mean to make humility our essential characteristic. Humility, therefore, is to be a decisive mark of Christian conduct.
Humility means to have lowliness of mind. God wants us to mind God-ordained leadership in the local church. Peace in the church comes from low mindedness toward God first then toward each other. This is especially true for the suffering church. God wants the church to regard the coming sufferings as from his sovereign will. We should follow in the footsteps of him who endured suffering (He. 12:1-12). Leadership can orient the church toward this thinking.
“Humility” is primarily that which is low, and does not rise far from the ground, lowly, humble. Humility designates that which is weak, base, and low. A humble person is unpretentious.
Mt 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
2 Cor 10:1, “Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you.”
This is contrary to our fleshly thinking. We want to be number one, but the humble mind recognizes others first (Php 2:3,8; Co 3:12) and God first.
A humble person is oriented to grace.
Most of us think that humility of some form of self-effacement. “Don’t use the word ‘I’ because that isn’t humble!” Thousands of sentences call for “I” like, “I must go to the game.” Of course, we can neutralize that by adding “God willing!!” Some of us think that if a person has poise and good posture that they are proud. Some people believe that if they neglect their appearance, they are humbler. Some ladies do not put on makeup because they think that it is humble to do so. Humility has nothing to do with personality characteristics and traits. Overt appearance or mannerisms have nothing to do with humility.
A humble person thinks about God and God’s provisions and orients to God’s grace. Once a person develops an attitude where he recognizes that what he has, he has from God, he can work on any team. He stops trying to buck everyone. He no longer tries to outdo everyone. He stops playing king of the mountain. He stops catering to approbation and power lusts.
A person at peace is an influential person. A coordinated person is a person who both knows how to hold symmetry between relaxation and tension. Babe Ruth knew how to control this balance in hitting the baseball. He was not so uptight that he struck himself out. Some people keep their eyes on other members of the congregation. They wear their feelings on their sleeves. They operate with hypersensitivity. They are uptight all the time.
Humble thinkers operate on grace. Humility first orients to God. A truly humble person recognizes that everything he has come from God. He orients to grace in everything. He does not operate on antagonism or resentment because he realizes that, but for the grace of God, go I. No matter what anyone does to us, no matter how unkind, we put it into God’s hands.
Grace thinking recognizes that there never was a time, and there never will be a time when we earn or deserve anything from God. This knocks us off our pseudo high horse. There is no Christian star. We have no illusions about ourselves. The most painful people are those who have fantasies about themselves. They are hot stuff spiritually. God cannot get along without them. There is no one else like them in the Christian life. For some reason, people have not recognized him like they have Billy Graham, but he is no less remarkable. Someone told them that they are doing a great job in the local church, and they have never gotten over it. They stand around, waiting for people to hand out bouquets to them. There is no place for that attitude in the Christian life.