In this brief verse, Peter gives profound instruction to the disciple of Jesus Christ for dealing with anxiety in their life. This series of blogs explores anxiety and applies Peter’s instruction to every believer’s everyday life.
“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
Anxiety is simply a part of the human experience. This needs to be stated right up front and this should not come as news to anyone who has lived more than a few years. If we are honest with ourselves, many of us deal with some degree of anxiety much of the time. This is a consequence of the Fall of man. When Adam disobeyed the LORD and sin entered the world, fear and anxiety also entered human experience and they remain a common part of life. But what we will see is that the disciple of Jesus Christ does not need to be subject to anxiety. The word of God gives us solid answers to this paralyzing fear.
First, though, anxiety must be defined if we are going to combat it. Anxiety is not the same thing as having troubles or problems. Everyone has troubles and problems of some magnitude. In the book of Job we read that “Man was made for trouble as the sparks fly upward (5:7).” Again, the Fall of man destroyed paradise here on earth and guaranteed troubles for everyone, believer and unbeliever alike. Since on this earth we live after the Fall and before heaven, we should realize that troubles are guaranteed.
But we also observe that one person may have a serious problem and feel no anxiety at all and another person may have a trivial annoyance and be tormented with anxiety. So while problems are universal, anxiety is not. What is the difference, then, between a problem and anxiety? Think about this. Trouble is objective. Other people can see and validate trouble or a problem. Anxiety is subjective and only you can feel your anxiety. A problem is fact-based, whereas anxiety is emotionally and psychologically and spiritually based. A definition of anxiety might be “the ongoing fear and emotional distress and unease felt in response to some perceived threat, whether real or imaginary.” It will be shown that, not only is anxiety not a necessary response for the disciple of Christ, but a response of anxiety demonstrates a lack of trust in the Lord and is actually sin. The disciple of Christ is commanded in many places in the Scripture to not fear and anxiety explicitly disobeys those commands.
One more thing that I wanted to cover before going deep into the subject is to draw the contrast between the believer and the unbeliever regarding this matter of anxiety. The Lord intends for there to be a distinction between His people and the rest of people in all areas and certainly there should be a difference here. For the unbeliever, there is no answer to anxiety and the unbeliever has no reason not to be fearful. The one who is outside of Christ is effectively an orphan and a stranger in the world. The unbeliever is completely on their own to fend off the threats of this life, without a heavenly Father and with no one who will hear their prayers and no one who has the power to answer their cries. The one without Christ has no champion to fight for them and no promises to offer hope. When the voices of doubt and fear rise up inside their head, there is no one on whom the unbeliever can cast their anxiety, for “the face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth (Psalm 34:16).” This is the state of the unbeliever and this was your state and my state before we were rescued and brought to faith in Christ. Anxiety was our inevitable lot.
By contrast, the disciple of Jesus has been raised up with Christ and has been seated in the heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7) and through Christ has direct access to the very throne of heaven (Ephesians 2:18). The Lord of heaven has promised over and over again to be our shield and our defender. The Lord is with us like a dread champion (Jeremiah 20:11) and He, our Champion, cannot lose against any foe. Our God has promised us His presence here on earth and He has promised that we will be with Him forever in heaven. He will never leave us or forsake us. All things are under His sovereign control, for our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). And here in 1 Peter 5:7, through the Apostle Peter the Lord tells us that we are to be “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
In the next couple of blogs we will look at what it means to cast our anxieties on Him. SDG rmb 3/13/2017