Derek Prince - Be Clothed With Humility
The third requirement, I think, is very important and it is stated in 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 5 and 6. 1 Peter 5:5-6 Likewise, you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Now, being over 70, of course I can say a hearty AMEN to that. But it does not end there. Yes, all of you, over 70 or over 50 or under 20. All of you, be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility.
There has been a lot of talk in the church recently about submission and I believe submission has a scriptural basis. I point out to most people, what really matters about submission is submissiveness. You can be submissive even when you don’t submit. It is the attitude rather than the code of conduct. Peter says, “All of you be clothed with humility.” That’s a metaphor that does not come out in the English. The word he uses means “put on an apron of humility.” And the word is used for an apron that was worn only by slaves. So when you had this apron on, everybody knew you were a slave.
So he says, put on an apron, an attitude of humility, which shows you are the slave of everybody. ...because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time. I always point out to people, humility is not something God can do for us. God never says, “I will make you humble,” but always says, “make yourself humble.” It is a decision; we have to make it. And then, I won't turn there, but if you are interested, there is a remarkable example in Ezra, chapter 8, verses 21 to 23, of one specific way of humbling ourselves.
Ezra and a party of exiles returning from Babylon to Jerusalem were confronted with a very dangerous journey that took them, I think, four months. They had with them all the precious vessels of the temple and their wives and their children, but Ezra refused a military escort from the Persian monarch. He said, “We are going to trust God.” He had to do that because he testified that God protected those who serve Him. See, that is one of the blessings of testifying, when you testify, you have to live up your testimony. So he did not ask for a band of soldiers and horsemen but he said: [We] proclaimed a fast there at the river Ahava, that we might [afflict or] humble ourselves before our God, to seek of Him the right way.
And this is totally scriptural. I don’t have time to go into it, but one of the appointed ways of humbling ourselves is by fasting. David said in Psalm 35:13, “I humbled my soul with fasting.” Why does your soul need to be humbled? Because it is the arrogant, self-seeking ego in you. It is the thing that says, “I want, I think, I feel. I’m important, look at me.” And that has to be humbled before God can really have His way in our life.
Whenever I tell this, I always think of a lawyer in Washington, D.C., some good many years ago. He heard me teach on fasting. He is a Christian and he decided he would do it. He had a miserable day. Every time he walked past a restaurant or a delicatessen, his mouth watered and his stomach groaned and he wanted to go in. But he finished the day without breaking his fast. Then in the evening he gave his stomach a lecture and he said, “Now stomach, you have been very troublesome today and you made a lot of trouble for me. I’m going to punish you and I will fast tomorrow as well.” That’s how we have to deal with the self-asserted part of us.
We have to bring it into subjection to the will and mind of God. I do believe that those Christians who do not in some scriptural way learn to practice fasting will not be able to administer the total victory of God. After all, Jesus could not do it. He started His ministry by forty days of fasting. You think we are further along than Jesus? He did not say to His disciples, if you fast, He said, when you fast. He used exactly the same language about fasting in his sermon in chapter 6 of Matthew as He did about prayer. If He expects us to pray, He expects us to fast.
Now you have to sort that out for yourselves and also you have to find out from the Holy Spirit what way and how to do it. But I would say, for Ruth and myself I think we could say, we would not dare to go ahead in the ministry that we are in if we did not practice regular fasting. Because we are challenging basically all the major forces of Satan in the world today by challenging them head-on and we need every help that we can get from God. And one way is by fasting. I’ve got a little book somewhere that is entitled "How to Fast Successfully". I have a week’s radio teaching on fasting. I don’t want to take time now but if you are interested you can obtain them.