This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on February 19, AD 2023.
When dealing with the sin and affliction of anxiety, we can be prone to turn great Bible passages into trite and simplistic answers.
So you may have a friend struggling with anxiety. And you say, “Well, the Bible says to not be anxious.” And that’s true enough. But then you see that your friend now feels more anxious about their anxiousness. Somehow that truth didn’t quite land right. And you say oh… well… just give it to God then. And they then walk away not entirely encouraged.
Now of course I’m exaggerating, but I think we all know what this looks like. And the main issue with this approach is that it divorces these commands from their full context. And by doing this, we actually miss the gospel heartbeat of these many passages – the great comfort offered in them.
For example, 1 Peter 5:6–7 reads, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” So you are to cast all your cares upon Him. You are to give them to God. That’s right and good. But there’s more than just that line here that equips you to fight anxiety.
First, you are told to humble yourselves. And the reason for this is that many times anxiety is actually a symptom of pride. We think we are the ones in control, and therefore we’re frantically trying to hold tight and steer the ship through troubled waters. It’s all up to us. And so addressing this pride, Peter says humble yourselves. How? By casting all your cares upon Him. By doing so, you acknowledge that He is the one actually in control, and therefore you are free to let go of your worries and fears.
But why can you cast your cares upon Him? Here is the beautiful promise and grounding of that command: for He cares for you. He cares for you. He loves you. He is concerned for your wellbeing more than you could ever be. And His mighty hand controls both the ship and the troubled waters. In humility, you must let go. And in His due time, He promises to lift you up.
Do you see how much richer this is compared to a pat answer? So next time you turn to a good command in Scripture against a particular sin – look at the fuller picture. Find the reasoning and promise behind the command. Do not be anxious. Do not worry. Cast your cares upon Him. Why?
For the Lord cares for you.