WEReveal

Cast Your Anxiety

Originally Published Jan 1997

Scripture

(All scrip­ture is tak­en from the NIV)

1 Peter 5 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
:5b-11 All of you, clothe your­selves with humil­i­ty toward one anoth­er, because, “God oppos­es the proud but gives grace to the hum­ble.” Humble your­selves, there­fore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anx­i­ety on him because he cares for you. Be self-con­trolled and alert. Your ene­my the dev­il prowls around like a roar­ing lion look­ing for some­one to devour. Resist him, stand­ing firm in the faith, because you know that your broth­ers through­out the world are under­go­ing the same kind of suf­fer­ings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eter­nal glo­ry in Christ, after you have suf­fered a lit­tle while, will him­self restore you and make you strong, firm and stead­fast. To him be the pow­er for ever and ever. Amen.

Lesson

Peter

Peter has always been my favorite char­ac­ter in the Bible. Just look at him! There he is stand­ing strong, tall, proud, self-assured. A nat­ur­al born leader. When Christ entered his life, Peter for­sook all includ­ing his wife, fam­i­ly and his fish­ing busi­ness. He did the right thing and trust­ed Jesus. He even walked on water!

Of course, he did sink too! But that is part of why I have always liked Peter, he was a real per­son. He was a man who trust­ed Christ but ear­ly in his Christian walk had a lot of prob­lems get­ting dis­tract­ed by what was going on around him. He would take his eyes off of Christ and fail. He was walk­ing on the water and then splash he looks at the waves instead of Jesus. He makes a great state­ment of insight on who Christ is and in the next breath takes his eyes off of that very Person and makes so blun­der­ous of a state­ment Christ says, “Get behind me Satan.” Ouch! And then of course, even while he is watch­ing the pro­ceed­ings of his Lord’s tri­al he begins to also watch what else is going on around him and begins to wor­ry for his own skin, deny­ing Jesus three times. When he final­ly looks back to Christ, it tears him to shreds not only because of what he did but also because he knows Jesus knew what he had just done.

Peter, to all eyes must have looked like a fail­ure. Yet we find him as the leader of the 12 apos­tles just 40 days lat­ter and not soon after, he has the courage to be thrown in jail, get lashed with the whip, and at the end of his life, accord­ing to tra­di­tion, he was hung upside down on a cross because he didn’t feel wor­thy enough to hang on a cross in the same man­ner of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When we read in 1 Peter 5:7 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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“Cast all your anx­i­ety on him because he cares for you” we can believe it because Peter had lived it. He knew what it was to fail due to anx­i­ety and he knew what it was like to total­ly and absolute­ly rely on Jesus. He knew Christ Cares.

Casting Your Anxiety

It is not always easy to cast our anx­i­eties away. Peter under­stood the key, humil­i­ty.

Proverbs 3 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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, from which Peter most like­ly was loose­ly quot­ing in our pas­sage, repeats this les­son over and over again. Peter knew from per­son­al expe­ri­ence what it was say­ing,

Prov. 3:5 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own under­stand­ing.

Prov. 3:25 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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— Have no fear of sud­den dis­as­ter or of the ruin that over­takes the wicked,
for the Lord will be your con­fi­dence and will keep your foot from being snared.

Prov. 3:34 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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— He mocks proud mock­ers but gives grace to the hum­ble.

As long as we rely on our own selves, we will nev­er be able to cast away our anx­i­eties. No mat­ter how con­fi­dent we may be in our own abil­i­ties, we know deep down that they are nev­er suf­fi­cient to han­dle every­thing. As such, we can be noth­ing but anx­ious since we know that we will even­tu­al­ly fail. God finds us humor­ous when we proud­ly mock as if we will nev­er fall for he knows that it isn’t a mat­ter of when we will fall but if we can ever stand up. Not with­out His Power.

When Peter would cast out his net to catch fish, he would have been very care­ful not to get entan­gled in the net. In the same way, as we cast our anx­i­eties on Christ, we have to make sure we do not get our­selves entan­gled in that net of anx­i­ety. We do so by remain­ing hum­ble before the Lord. The minute we try to take any con­trol over that net, we will just get it all messed up and in the end, cause our­selves grief.

As we hum­ble our­selves before God, acknowl­edg­ing that He and He alone can “keep our feet from being snared” we can run, not just walk, but run, not fear­ing what may lie before us because we know that He is mak­ing our paths straight.

Standing Tough

Peter also under­stood that cast­ing our anx­i­eties meant that there would be times when we would need to stand tough. Casting our anx­i­eties isn’t throw­ing a blan­ket of pro­tec­tion around our­selves rather it is an atti­tude, a way of life which stands tough despite what may be going on around and to us.

Peter after Pentecost could have eas­i­ly walked on the water with a hur­ri­cane going on around him. He had learned that the cir­cum­stances we find our­selves in do not mat­ter. What mat­ters is Christ. When he found him­self in prison and then stand­ing tri­al, he could state con­fi­dent­ly that he would do what what right before God and take what­ev­er con­se­quences may come his way should those who opposed Christ do their worst. Peter wasn’t pro­tect­ed from the beat­ing he received from the Sanhedrin but he could stand tough and rejoice because he trust­ed God and not his own way of think­ing.

Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean that we have a life of ease. Rather, we know that as long as we are in the world, we will have to face the dif­fi­cul­ties of being “not of this world.” Temptations will assail us. Persecution for our beliefs will come. And sin’s awful effects of sick­ness and death will still be able to touch us. Christian through­out the world must face these things. But when they do, we have the promise that God “him­self restore you and make you strong, firm and stead­fast.”

We of course, have to remem­ber through­out this that it is by the pow­er of God and not our­selves that we can do this. Again, humil­i­ty is the key. For it is always, “To him be the pow­er for ever and ever. Amen.”

Conclusion

When Peter wrote those words, he knew from a life’s time of expe­ri­ence that they were true. But I believe he could have writ­ten them the day after Pentecost as well. The mighty empow­er­ing of the Holy Spirit enabled Peter to stand up to a mock­ing crowd on the day of Pentecost and preach a ser­mon that saw 3000 peo­ple turn their lives over to Christ in response.

The bap­tism of the Holy Spirit on that day brought bold­ness into a small band of men and women that was lack­ing just a few days ear­li­er. That small group was soon faced with per­se­cu­tion and even the mar­tyr­dom of one of their lead­ers not many days lat­ter. Where they could have been anx­ious about every­thing that faced them, instead they could turn every­thing they owned over to God and become a mighty army for the Lord.

I believe that it is this empow­er­ing of the Holy Spirit which both helps us stay hum­ble before the Lord and enables us to face all that would oth­er­wise over­whelm us. It is some­thing that Peter would have assumed that his read­ers had under­stood and expe­ri­enced. Without the Spirit, it is impos­si­ble for us to take our eyes off our­selves and our prob­lems. With the Spirit and the pow­er He gives us, we can eas­i­ly cast our anx­i­eties on Christ. One of the things Peter said on that day of Pentecost, we all need to con­tin­ue to hear today. He told the crowd they they too could “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, and your chil­dren, and for those who are far off–for all whom the Lord will call.” As we accept this gift, we will be empow­ered to do great works for God, set­ting aside all fears of the day for, God Care for You.

This les­son was writ­ten by William Reveal. Jan. 1997

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