He Cares For You – 1 Peter 5:6-7

October 9, 2022 Series: Miscellaneous

Scripture: 1 Peter 5:6–7

William Ernest Henley was a British poet who was born in 1849 and is best known for his poem “Invictus”.  That poem is somewhat well known but was recently popularized in the 2009 movie “Invictus” about the life of Nelson Mandela.  The movie was named “Invictus” because Mandela said that the poem “Invictus” was his favorite piece of poetry.  In the movie, Morgan Freeman plays the role of Nelson Mandela.  Freeman recites the poem in the movie.  This is a portion of it,“Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul. 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.    

In this poem, Henley expresses a condition of the heart of man that must have resonated with Mandela.  The heart of man, or you could say the soul of man, wants to be in charge of itself.  That natural desire of man places him in direct opposition to God.   

Submission to God has been the struggle of man’s heart from the beginning.  Since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, mankind has not wanted to live under the authority of God.  Man wanted and continues to want to be autonomous.  We want to be in charge.  We want to be the captains of our souls.  But I think we can all agree, that when we are in charge it does not turn out well.  It ultimately leads to anxiety and stress.

You see we were designed to live under the rule and authority of our Creator.  But we are naturally prideful and anxious.  We are not humble before God, and we do not have faith that God truly cares for us.  We do not believe that we can trust Him with all our concerns and can cast our all our anxiety on Him.  

In Scripture we see that because man is naturally prideful and anxious, God sent his only Son Jesus to live in complete submission to God on behalf of His people.  He was not prideful; He did not attempt to live apart from God.  He humbled Himself before God.  Christ was not anxious.  He placed his cares on the Father trusting completely that God cared for Him.    

And since Jesus did those things, we must look to Him and trust in His work on our behalf as we humble ourselves before God and cast our anxieties on God.

1 Peter 5:6-7 tells us to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and cast our anxiety on Him.  It sounds straight forward and simple.  But let me ask you this, do you find yourself worrying?  Are you filled with anxiety?  If so, you likely are not surrendering all your cares to  God.  You think you can and should carry those things alone. 

So how are we able to submit our pride and anxiety to God?  

I believe we discover two things from 1 Peter 5.  You can see them printed there in page six in the worship guide -   We are able to submit our pride and our anxiety to God as we look to Christ who endured humiliation for His people, and we look to Christ who graciously cares for His people.

If you answered yes to those questions I just asked, looking and submitting to the perfect work of Christ is the answer. 

Look at verse 6 of chapter 5.  Peter commands the recipients of the letter to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God.

The phrase “humble yourself” in the Greek is one word.  It means to be brought low - to be or become reduced in rank, character, or status.  It is an act of submission.  It is to admit that we are subject to and completely dependent upon someone.  In our context here, that someone is God.  In verse 5, Peter was speaking about being humble toward one another.  But in verse 6, he encourages the recipients to be humble before God. Peter wants the readers to subject themselves to God in such a manner that they put their confidence in God alone. They should believe that God cares for them and wants them to be completely dependent on Him.  We see the exact same command in James chapter 4 verse 10, humble yourselves before the Lord.

I think we see examples of this all around us. Not just out there – in the world, but in our own hearts.  Think about the struggle we have with pride. As children, we struggle to submit to the authority of our parents.  If we are married, we struggle to submit to our spouses. In work, we struggle to submit to a supervisor, or boss.  In church, we struggle to submit to those God has given to shepherd us.  All this stems from or can be traced back to pride.  We do not want to give up anything to anyone.

George Mueller was a Christian evangelist from England.  He is most well-known for the orphanages he started and his prayer life. It was reported that throughout his ministry he never made requests for financial support but never went into debt.  He relied on God to supply all his needs.  Once he was asked about the secret of his ministry and in essence his life, to which Mueller responded: “There was a day when I died, utterly died; died to George Mueller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends; and since then I have studied to show myself approved only to God.”

If we could only have that same attitude.  However, there is an issue with our humbling ourselves before God.  We naturally can’t humble ourselves before God. So what must we do?

We must look to the one who could and who did humble himself before God. We must look to Jesus Christ. Christ lived in perfect submission to God and perfect submission to God’s will. Christ was not prideful.  

Throughout his life, Christ demonstrated submission and true humility before God.  We read in Philippians 2:6 that Christ, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, and being found in human form he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” 

Christ was so completely submitted to God that he was willing to suffer the ultimate humiliation, the ultimate humbling. He willingly took on the sins of His people when He died on the cross. Because Christ took on the sins of his people, including their pride, we can look to Christ who endured that humiliation for His people.  As we trust in Christ by grace alone, through faith alone, we are humbled under the mighty hand of God.  If you struggle with pride and with submitting all to God, have you trusted in Christ?  God calls you to humble yourself under His mighty hand through faith in Christ.

But the imperative, the command to the people of God in verse six remains.  Remember that Peter is writing to Christians here.  What if you have already trusted in Christ by faith and yet you still struggle to humble yourself before God?  Through faith in Christ, our position before God is secured, but the Bible teaches that the flesh, sin, still wages war in us after conversion.  So, we must continually look to the person and work of Christ.  This is ongoing for the believer.  We must humble ourselves before the Lord daily.  

That includes praying for the Holy Spirit to continually reveal our sinful pride to us, to repent of that pride, and to seek to be humble as we think on the sacrifice of Christ.

It’s like the old hymn says, nothing in my hands I bring, only to thy cross I cling. If we are to humble ourselves before God, we must look to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

But that is not how we think, is it?  There is so much in our lives that we take pride in.   We are naturally prideful.  What are you proud of?  Deep down, what do you take pride in?  Is it being liked?  Is it being a nice person?  Is it your education?    Is it a job?    You get the point.  In what is your identity? 

Even when it comes to our relationship with God, we are prideful.  We think we can bring our good works or our reputation before God and receive some type of recognition for it.  Some type of credit for it.   What is it that you think makes you worthy before God? 

It would be like a servant of a rich and wise king trying to offer something of value to the king.  What would he have to bring?  “Here is my cow your majesty”, to which the king replies, “I have a thousand cows”.  Or, “Here is a hundred shekels my king”, to which the king replies, “I have a hundred thousand shekels”.  Or, “Here is my house my lord”, to which the king replies, “Do you not see where you are?  I have a castle!” 

Do you think you have something to offer God that would give you the right to stand before Him?  You do not. We can only bow at His feet in complete surrender, complete humility. 

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.  There is a promise connected to the command here.  At the proper time he may exalt you.  What is Peter referring to here?  He is referring ultimately to the glorification, the exalting of the Christian when Christ returns. 

Now look at verse 7.  It tells the readers that they are to cast all their anxiety on God.  This verse is connected to verse 6.  Proper humility is attained by ‘casting all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you’.

Cast means to throw something upon someone or something else. The same word translated ‘anxieties’ is used for ‘burden’ in Psalm 55:22. It means ‘cares, concerns, things one is anxious or worried about’.

The Bible repeatedly calls the people of God to not be anxious.  Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything.  Matt. 6:25-34 – do not be anxious about your life.

Part of being humble under the mighty hand of God involves casting all your anxiety on Him.  It may just be me, but I think we live with a decent amount of anxiety in our lives.  Do you find that to be the case?  I was talking with a friend this week and he was recapping the events of the past week.  We realized that there is a lot to be anxious about in our world.

How do we deal with our anxiety? Scripture tells us to cast all of our anxieties, our concerns on him. We must be willing to admit that in and of ourselves we are incapable of dealing with the trials and troubles in this world. We are powerless over our anxiety. Casting our anxiety on God reveals two things. It reveals that we acknowledge our weakness and lack of ability to deal with anxiety ourselves, and it reveals that we trust that God cares for us.

Anxiety reveals a lack of trust and faith in God.  That may be hard for us to hear, but Scripture reveals that we are naturally anxious.  Throughout Scripture we read, “do not worry”, do not be anxious”, “take heart”.  God knows that part of our sinful nature is our failure to rely on Him and to submit to Him.

What is it that worries you?  What divides your heart from God?  What keeps your heart in constant affliction?  Healthy children?  Successful children?  Finances?  Marriage?  Work?  The future?  It is not wrong to think and plan and steward all the responsibilities God has given us.  The problem is when we allow those things to cause us to distrust the care and power of God to provide for all those things according to His will.   

I love how Thomas Schreiner puts it:

“Worry is a form of pride because when believers are filled with anxiety, they are convinced that they must solve all the problems in their lives in their own strength. The only god they trust in is themselves. When believers throw their worries upon God, they express their trust in His mighty hand, acknowledging that He is Lord and Sovereign over all of life.” 

Christ was not anxious.  Christ submitted the desires of his heart, all that He cared about to the care and providence of God.  Repeatedly throughout the Gospels, we see Christ submitting all he did and all He was tasked with to the Father.  Christ was not anxious because He was confident in God’s love and care for Him. God called Christ His beloved Son.  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. – 1 John 3.  God loves his children.  God loved His only begotten Son.  Jesus was so sure of the Father’s love for Him that He trusted him with his life.

So if we are to cast all our anxieties on God, we must look to the person and work of Christ.  We are able to cast our anxiety on God as we look to Christ who graciously cares for His people.  We cannot carry our concerns and troubles.  Doing so will only make us worry.  It will only make us anxious.  

Do you remember the show Family Matters?  Do you remember Urkele?  And Carl?  I remember one episode where Carl suffered some type of cardiac event at the beginning of the show because of the amount of stress and anxiety he was experiencing (mostly because of Urkele).  The doctors gave him a little phrase to use when he began to feel anxiety and stress coming on.  It went like this 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, what the heck is bothering me.  Repetition of that phrase was supposed to calm him.  By the end of the show, Urkele was annoying him so much that the phrase had become useless.  Carl lost it.

That is the result when we rely on ourselves to combat our anxiety.  Are you weighed down by worry?  Is your life full of anxiety?  There is hope for you because there was one who surrendered all to God.  Christ takes those burdens for us.  He took them on the cross.  Scripture tells us we were made to cast our anxieties, our burdens on the Lord.   

The key to throwing our burdens on God is we must look to Christ.  If you have never trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior, and you carry these burdens, these worldly concerns, fears and anxieties, the Bible bids you to come and die.  Die to self, surrender to God and live through Christ.  If you are a Christian, you must continually look to the cross on which your Savior died and humble yourself before Him.

 The old hymn, When I Survey the Wonderful Cross, paints a beautiful picture of the concepts of humbling ourselves before God and casting our anxieties on Him.  Listen to these words: 

“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.” 

This is the heartbeat of 1 Peter 5:6-7.  Surrendering all to God through the blood of Christ.  

I believe that these verses are timely for us as we find more and more in our society and world that could cause us to be anxious.  The world says that the answer is within yourself.  It can be so tempting to listen to the world.  Scripture says otherwise.  Scripture says the answer is outside of you.  It involves surrendering yourself and all your worry to God. Surrender that is made possible only through the person and work of Christ.  Let us look to Christ today as we humble ourselves before God and cast our anxiety before Him, knowing that He cares for us.  He loves us so much that He sent Hid only begotten Son.  Look to Christ today.

Let’s pray.

 

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