397. Living Without Anxiety. God’s Answer! 1 Peter 5:6-7.

1 Peter 5:6-7. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Since Covid 19 hit our shores there has been a massive increase in anxiety levels in many younger and older people, according to health professionals. That is perfectly understandable as it is a new disease with no known previous treatments and it has been highly contagious. 

However there are lots of other reasons why anxiety is on the rise because of the changing political situations throughout the world. There is the threat of more personal restrictions and the financial implications that flow on from that. So if anxiety has become the result of the impact of Covid 19 and other factors throughout the world, what can we do to lessen it? 

It seems that there are two things that are necessary to get rid of anxiety. 

Firstly, we are to humble ourselves before God so that we are recognising our dependence on Him for everything in our lives. We enthrone God to be the Lord and Master of our every aspect of our lives. Both James and Peter indicate that such humbling brings the promise of being exalted by God for those who do so. [NOTE 1]

What does it mean to humble oneself? It can mean to have a modest opinion of oneself; to behave in an unassuming manner; to lose any sense of arrogance and haughtiness. It is something we need to do, as it does not come naturally to the human race. We are to humble ourselves, not just leave it to God to do so! It is much less painful when we do the humbling of ourselves than when God is forced to humble us, for our own sakes. As Jesus said, Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12.

It can mean not having a high opinion of ourselves. This was seen in my previous article No 396 where I wrote about Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” It means seeing ourselves in all our weaknesses and strengths as God Himself sees us.  God dislikes pride and arrogance as Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 5:5 where he wrote, ‘Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”’ It is the humble who receive His grace and help to live in a way pleasing to Him.

Secondly, we need to actively and deliberately pass the burdens we are carrying onto God. The word for “cast” involves deliberate effort as seen in its use in the Septuagint [LXX] the Greek Old Testament. For example it is used in Joshua 10:11 where it is said that the Lord Himself Lord cast down large hailstones upon the enemies of His people. Or it is used to describe casting a garment over the slain Amasa or of Elijah casting a cloak over his successor, Elisha. It is used in Job 27 of God acting powerfully against the unrighteous person, hurling the east wind in punishment on him, Job 27:21 The east wind lifts him up and he is gone; it sweeps him out of his place. 22 it hurls at him without pity; he flees from its power in headlong flight. 

In the New Testament it is used in Luke 19:35 where Luke describes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem seated on a donkey and the response of the people to His entry, And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.

It is the deliberate and determined casting of the object with the intention of not taking it back upon oneself. When we cast our burdens on the Lord we leave them with Him to sort out and we don’t try to wrest them back from Him to work out solutions in our own wisdom and strength. [NOTE 2].

So the words of 1 Peter 5 verse 6 are not only a command but they also have a promise based on the character of God. His character is that He cares for us. We cast our burdens or anxieties on God because He commands us to, and we have the assurance that He will remove those burdens from us in His loving care for us. As we do so, we take the pressure off ourselves and we allow Him to work on those burdens we have in our lives. Thus, we can know His peace [which is beyond human understanding Philippians 4:7] and receive answers to our prayers. [NOTE 3].

Summing up then, we note that our verses in 1 Peter 5:6-7 are a command from God through St Peter to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. There is the accompanying promise that as we do so, He will lift us up. There is also the invitation from God to deliberately cast our burdens or anxieties on Him for Him to deal with instead of us. The reason for doing so is also given, “because He cares for you.” He will not ignore our needs or concerns. HE will deal with them!

What an invitation! What a promise! What a loving Heavenly Father we have, Who cares for us so deeply!


{NOTE 1}. “Humble” is from [tapeinoō; ταπεινόω].  It can mean to gratefully take a lower position offered to us when we might have expected more. Or it can mean seeking to be a servant to all people and not just to our superiors. It can involve the changing of our mindsets so that we see everyone as being of equal value in the sight of God and none of them as being of less value than ourselves. We should really see ourselves as their servants treating them as Christ Himself would.

[NOTE 2]. “Cast” is from [epirríptō, ἐπιρρίπτω] from epí, upon, and rhíptō, to cast. It involves real effort to get rid of a burden.

There is a similar word in the Old Testament which is translated “commit.” It is from the Hebrew word used in Prov 16:3. Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established, and in Psalm 37:5  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

It is the word gālal, a verb meaning to roll, to remove, to commit, to trust. The root idea of the word is to roll. There is a burden in life in trying to do the right thing with all the complexities of making the right decision. The idea behind this expression is that we roll off the burden from our back and lay it at the Lord’s feet for Him to guide the decisions we make with His help. As Derek Prince once wrote, “Roll that responsibility off your back. Dump it at the Lord’s feet and ask Him to take charge of it. …You don’t need to be wondering and pondering all the time if things are going to work out. Just commit your works to the Lord. “

As we commit ourselves to love and serve God in this life, we have the privilege of being able to cast all our burdens on Him, knowing that He cares for us. 

]NOTE 3]. “anxieties” or burdens is from [merimna; μέριμνα].

The word can have a positive meaning of care and concern as we see in three verses in the New Testament. For example, in 1Corinthians 12:25 where Paul says that every member of the church should have the same care for one another. Again in 2 Cor. 11:28 Paul describes the daily pressure on him in caring for all the churches. Also in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul told the Philippians that he was sending Timothy to them because “… I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.” These all express the idea of genuine care for people.

However most of the references are in the negative. Jesus taught that believers should not be anxious about the material things of life, in verses such as in Matthew 13:22, As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. See also Mark 4:19 and Luke 8:14. He also taught them to be ready for the end times, “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. Luke 21:34.

According to Jesus anxiety was needless for the believer. If He cared for creation would He not care even more for His own people, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Matthew 6:25 and 6:28, 6:31, 6:34. 

Perhaps the most well-known verse is that written by St Paul in Philippians 4:6 where Paul wrote, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” It involves the deliberate decision to rid ourselves of anxiety by making our concerns known to God in prayer and with thanksgiving to Him for His willingness to hear and respond to our expressed needs. 

Blog No.397 posted on Tuesday 22 February 2022

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Mental Health, Politics, Prayer, Salvation, Sanctification, Second coming of Jesus, TOPICS and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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