Worry. It's one of those things we do that God wishes we didn't do.
Care. It's one of those things God does that He wishes we understood better, because if we fully understood the depth of His care, we'd stop worrying.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)
Anxiety. Worry. Uneasiness. Stress. Ouch!
These are words we are all too familiar with. God wishes that they were as unfamiliar to us as nuclear physics is to an infant. And yet there they are, all too present in most lives. Peter encouraged the readers of his letter to rid themselves of all their anxieties and taught them how to do it. By great faith? Indelible hope? Trust? Well partly yes, but there’s an underlying method that doesn’t usually come to mind—humility.
The opposite of humility, human pride, is what gets the whole ‘anxiety ball’ rolling. And oh how it can roll, like a snowball, gaining mass and momentum until it is too big for us to deal with. Let’s look at the relationship between pride and anxiety and discover what God wishes for each of us – life without worries.
Pride and Anxiety
Let’s start by asking the question “Will God meet our needs?”
The answer to this question for people of faith is a resounding, “Yes!” Jesus taught us to consider the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (see Matthew 6:25-34). Their every need is met by God. And check this out – they don’t even have the capacity to worry. So, God provides for every need absent of even one ounce of worry of their part. Thus Jesus concluded that worry accomplishes absolutely nothing! (see Matthew 6:27). And yet we all do it. Why?!
By humbling ourselves, we set aside our own plans for God’s plans and submit ourselves to them completely. Peter implored his readers to “humble [themselves] under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6).” When we fail to do this we experience worry and anxiety. Why? Because, we begin to expect that our “wants,” the children that are born of our own prideful plans, will be met instead of our “needs.”
We further delude ourselves with the notion that God’s promise for provision extends to those things we want. It doesn’t—He clearly promises only to meet our needs. Once “wants” get introduced into the equation, uncertainty quickly enters in as well. Jesus guaranteed us that our needs, whether earthly material needs or eternal, heavenly needs, would be abundantly provided for. There’s no room for worry in this equation. Oh, but start to introduce things that we want, now we’ve got reason to worry. Our wants are quite uncertain. In fact our wants, since they are born of pride, often directly oppose God’s will for us (see 1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 3:34).
God’s Care for Us and His ‘Casting Method’
When one cares for another, he provides something that the other cannot provide for themselves. Doctors provide health care for patients that cannot heal themselves on their own. Nursing home workers provide care for the elderly who can no longer care for themselves. So it is with God’s care for us. When it comes to the Kingdom of God, we can do nothing to provide it for ourselves. It takes the free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ to secure it. Therefore we must approach Him humbly in order to receive it.
Pride focuses us on things that distract us from the true riches of abundant life and the Kingdom of God and there is nothing that God wants less for us than to be distracted from His true rewards! Herein lies God’s method to casting your worries on Him—make the Kingdom your primary concern (Matthew 6:33). It’s guaranteed. It’s a done deal. And it requires humility. So chase out the nasty twins of pride and anxiety and “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).” Our needs will be so overwhelmingly, abundantly provided for, you will see anxiety and worry for the completely ineffective, useless activities they are. That’s the truth.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. If you will do this, He will provide for you all the things you need in great abundance! If you will do this, He will exalt you at the proper time. If you will do this, all your anxiety will be cast on Him. God wants this for you because He cares deeply for you.
©2008,2010 Dan Buckhout
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Be First to Comment
Humility in 1 Peter 5:6, as Grudem points out, is in relation to “one another” (v. 5), particularly in willing subjection of the younger to the older or laity to elder. But if we care for others, who will care for us, especially if we are suffering (vv. 1 & 9)? God will (v. 7). Topical connection with seeking first God’s kingdom in Matt 6 seems transparent. But the worrier in me (or is it logic?) argues that unlike lily and raven, we humans have a God-given care to spin and sow. A certain class of Christians in Thessalonica were famously rebuked for avoiding work. If Peter said the Christian ought not suffer as a thief (4:15), does that not imply the duty of working so as to support oneself? Nor, I think does Jesus intend to denigrate spinning and sowing. How then can one care for one’s responsibility to labor so as not to be dependent and yet depend on God so as not to care for self? http://panic-attackrelief.com/christian-anxiety/