So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:”

  • 1 Peter 5:1

Influencers pervade our everyday worlds; they are sports, fashion, homesteading, religious culture, politics, and the list goes on and on. The aim of an influencer is to, just like the title states, influence people – whether that is to buy the things they buy, to make the foods they make, to support the causes in which they believe, etc. Influencers understand their unique position of authority, that what they say and do matters and therefore can influence others and culture around them. In addition, influences understand that their followers will emulate them in dress, speech, and habits.

But influencing isn’t exactly new to our day and age. The apostle Paul understood that he held a unique position, that what he said and did mattered, that people looked to him and emulated him. Contrary to most influencers though, Paul urged others to imitate him, as he imitated Christ (1 Cor 11:1).

The apostle Peter also understood that his position in the early church was influential. And, like Paul, he had the same aim – urging others to be like him as he imitated Jesus…even if he wasn’t as direct in stating this as Paul.

Peter wrote two letters to people whom he deeply loved (1 Pt 1:1, 2 Pt 3:1). In the last chapter of his first letter, Peter took time to unpack how those in Church leadership should be clothed in humility and how they must seek to serve and not be served (1 Pt 5:2-5).

Prior exhorting and unpacking how to conduct and clothe oneself with humility (1 Pt 5:5), Peter began with himself. And he did this in the way in which he described himself.

First, Peter said that he is a fellow elder. Notably, Peter was recognized as much more than an elder; he was an apostle. Apostles played an important role in the life and development of the early church. Apostles spoke with the authority of Christ and had to meet certain criterion, namely, being a disciple under the teaching ministry of Jesus, an eyewitness of the resurrection, and (most importantly), an immediate and direct appointment to that office by Jesus himself. Peter met all three criteria. But, instead of pointing out the depth and weight of his authority, Peter chose to identify as a fellow elder, one who equally co-labors for the church. Thus, his identification as a fellow elder was incredibly humble.

Second, he says that he is a witness of the sufferings of Christ. When Peter witnessed Christ’s sufferings, he is recalling the most painful moments in his life when he denied that he knew Jesus three times. Peter could have pointed out the high points in his time with Jesus – the transfiguration (Mt 17), the feeding of the 5,000 (Jn 6), or when he walked on water with Jesus (Mt 14:22-33). Instead, Peter purposefully chose to point out when he failed.

Finally, Peter said that he was a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed. Here Peter is referring to what will happen when Jesus returns – that His full glory will be manifested, and believers will receive abundant grace at His second coming (1 Pt 1:13). Thus, Peter is saying that the abundant grace that he will receive and his partaking in the coming glory is just like every other believer.

So why does this matter? What can one learn from Peter, even if one won’t serve as an elder?

First, like Peter, we have to have a right view of ourselves. We cannot puff ourselves up based on titles or positions or giftings. We are co-laborers for the gospel and make up the body of Christ (1 Cor 12). Moreover, we must use the positions and gifts that the Lord entrusted to us to love and serve others (1 Cor 13:1-2). It cannot be for personal gain or self-glorification.

Next, we are often tempted to boast in the things “we have done for God,” whether that be mission trip ‘success’, ministering to the lost, serving the poor, or caring for the widows and orphans. Are all those things good and required of believers? Absolutely. But we must guard our hearts against making much of ourselves. Like Peter, let’s point out our failings and shortcomings and sins so that the grace, love, goodness, and forgiveness of God may be magnified.

Finally, like Peter, let us hold fast to the truth that Jesus is returning. In that marvelous, breath-taking moment when Jesus returns crowned in glory, it won’t be a hierarchy of who did more for the gospel or who had a ‘longer’ race or who lived more righteously (Mt 20:1-16), but rather a beautiful and unpretentious moment when all believers will partake in the revealed glory and receive immeasurable grace (1 Pt 1:13).

Beloved, as you live out your day to day – whether that’s in the workplace or in the home – think about how your conduct influences others. Are you clothed in humility or pride? Are you pointing others to your greatness or the greatness of God? Are you living in expectation of Jesus’ return or in expectation of what others will say and think about you?

Prayer: Father, I confess that I often make much of myself and less of you. Forgive me. By your grace, open my eyes and fill my heart with more of Jesus and less of myself. Keep me humble. By your grace, help me to fix my eyes on the only one who was perfectly humble, Jesus Christ.


  1. Recall a time when you experienced the goodness, faithfulness, mercy, or forgiveness of God. Think of a way to share that so that the character of the Lord is magnified.
  2. Is there someone in your life whose faith inspires you? Someone whom you look up to due to his/her godly character? What is admirable to imitate? How does knowing that this person is just a fallen human, like yourself, prevent you from placing him/her on a pedestal?
  3. Conversely, what position do you have that influences others? How does knowing that your life should be worthy of imitation humble you and keep you reliant on Jesus? In addition, how does knowing that you are a sinner in need God’s moment-by-moment grace set you free from discouragement and perfectionism?
  4. Read John 13:1 and Phil 2:6-8 to learn more about the perfectly humble conduct of Jesus.

Hymn to Sing: Blessed Assurance

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