In this brief verse, Peter gives profound instruction to the disciple of Jesus Christ for dealing with anxiety in their life. This is the fifth in a series of blogs exploring anxiety and then applying Peter’s instruction to every believer’s everyday life.
“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
We have seen that anxiety is “the ongoing fear and emotional distress and unease felt in response to some perceived threat, whether real or imaginary.” In our last two studies, we have looked at the first two of four broad practical strategies that will help lead to victory over anxiety. So far we have examined the strategy of disciplining our thoughts and the strategy of prayer and confession of fear. In this study I want to cover the last two strategies for battling anxiety, namely the strategy of fellowship with other believers and the strategy of becoming saturated with Scripture.
FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER BELIEVERS
Key verses: Hebrews 10:24-25. “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Other helpful verses are Romans 1:12; the principle of 1 Kings 19:3, 16b, 21
Key concept: One of the primary means of battling anxiety is spending time with other believers in genuine fellowship, in mutual exhortation and encouragement, and in gathered worship. Being among our fellow disciples in activities that draw us God-ward tends to dispel anxious thoughts and points our mind in a heavenly direction (Colossians 3:1-2), making us more joyful and useful.
I think that one of the most persistent consequences of the fall of man is the tendency for all people to seize upon the negative. Thus it is that we allow fears to sprout and then we often fertilize them until they grow into anxieties. But this trend most often happens when we are alone (Genesis 2:18) and when our mind is not engaged in Spirit-controlled activity. When these two practices are coupled together, fears and anxieties can easily escalate.
Genuine fellowship between believers will overwhelm these anxieties. By fellowship I mean “the intentional sharing of our life in Christ which results in speaking truth with each other for mutual encouragement and for the worship of Jesus.” This fellowship between believers fills the mind and the spirit so that fears are smothered and are replaced with feelings of joy and freedom and boldness and courage and resolve. Believers leave times of fellowship ready and eager to walk worthy of the gospel. The hunger for holiness is heightened. We speak truth to one another (Ephesians 4:25), so truth abounds and lies are destroyed as soon as they appear. Incorrect thinking and speaking are corrected for mutual edification. We fulfill the ‘one another’ commands of the Scripture. And in worship, which is the most glorious sort of fellowship, our spirits soar as a gathered body of believers who are joyfully praising our risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, I urge you to add a strong dose of genuine Christian fellowship to your life as a stout antidote for anxiety. Fellowship with other believers is a strong strategy for “casting all your anxiety on Him.”
SATURATE YOUR MIND WITH THE WORD OF GOD
That brings us to the fourth and final strategy, that of becoming saturated with the Scripture. The Lord has given us His Word as an offensive weapon in spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:17-18) and this same word of God enables the disciple of Christ to be consistent and effective in “casting all our anxieties on Him.”
First, how do we saturate our minds? Saturating the mind means a constant and intentional exposure to the word of God. Read the Word. Hear the Word. Study the Word. Memorize the Word. Meditate on the Word. Like a sponge being dipped in water until it can hold no more, so the disciple takes in the word of God until the Word oozes from their pores and flows out of their mouth and controls their mind (2 Cor. 10:5).
And then what are the benefits of saturating the mind with the words and thoughts of the living God? Saturating the mind with the Word makes the disciple familiar with the promises of God to His people so that these precious and magnificent promises (2 Peter 1:4) are readily called to mind. When fears arise, recalling the promises of God will quench the flames of fear. In addition to keeping the promises of God at the forefront of the mind, saturating the mind with the Word will impress the disciple with the Lord’s power toward us who believe (Ephesians 1:19). When we read the Scriptures, we can see the Lord’s power and can also receive His power (Acts 1:8). This forms a ready defense when fears begin to threaten. The mind filled with the Word of God is also familiar with God’s faithfulness. When the believer reads that the Lord is with him or her as a mighty champion (Jeremiah 20:11) and that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), then the Lord’s faithfulness looms large (“Your faithfulness reaches to the skies” Psalm 36:5) and threats are overwhelmed.
So if you and I saturate our mind with the Word of God, we will have a ready defense for the fears and anxieties that rise up in our lives.
SDG rmb 4/7/2017