It’s that time of year again. Some of the more zealous celebrants began to prepare a while ago (and I’m not talking about the Christmas decorations at the store). Profile pictures on social networks began to change. Press conferences have been held. Magazine covers have been published. This weekend, the 2013 college football season kicked off. And if you’re slightly more than a casual fan, then you know that August 30 was College Colors Day. This is the day that everyone is encouraged to put on that favorite jersey or throw on that baseball cap and proudly tell everyone who you’re cheering for this fall.
One thing I’ve noticed – you never have to tell a college football fan twice to wear their team colors. You give them the opportunity, and they’ll capitalize on it. It NEVER fails. They’ll wear those colors to church, to work, to the beach – I’d bet that more than a few of you root for your favorite team while you sleep in a pair NCAA licensed pj’s. If we’re this willing to clothe ourselves in logos and colors for something that, in the grand scheme of things, matters so insignificantly, then how much more should we be willing to change our clothes for the most important thing of all?
Peter uses the language of clothing to remind us about the all-too-often forgotten virtue of humility. He says in 1 Peter 5:5, “And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.” These few words pack a punch and they get right to the heart of how we should relate to one another. Even as we sport orange and blue, crimson and white, or red and black this weekend, the color that should be worn by the Christian is the color of humility.
So, what exactly does it look like to “clothe ourselves in humility?”
In order to understand this, we must have a biblical view of humility. It isn’t about having low self-esteem. In fact, the bible says that we should love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). So, there is an assumption of self-appreciation. Humility is all about HOW we think about ourselves. Humility means understanding ourselves in light of God’s perfection and the biblical command to consider others as more important than we consider ourselves (Philippians 1:3).
Knowing that humility is all about having an appropriate view of self in light of our horizontal relationships with others and our vertical relationship with God, Peter says we should clothe ourselves in this attitude. In other words, when people look at us, the first thing they should see is humility – just like they are looking at your outer garment.
So, are you wearing humility? Are you striving to ensure that other people matter more than you do? Are you teaching your children to put God first, others second, and themselves last? If so, then you’re making much progress toward “clothing yourself with humility.” If you find that you’re the center of your own universe and you claim to follow Christ, then it is very clear that you are not “dressed” appropriately and it might be time to change your clothes. “Put on humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”