Casing all your anxieties of him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
E. Stanley Jones was the “Billy Graham of India.” In 1938, Time called Jones “the world’s greatest Christian missionary.” But his work was almost aborted by anxiety. Upon arriving in India from the United States, worry about the work ahead caused him to collapse several times. He returned home. But he collapsed again on this ship. His doctor ordered him to rest for a year. Upon returning to India, his anxieties resumed. His coworkers feared it would kill him. In prayer, a voice asked, “Are you ready for this work to which I have called you?” “No, Lord,” replied Jones. “I have reached the end of my resources.” The Lord answered, “If you will turn that over to me and not worry about it, I will take care of it.” Jones replied, “Lord, I close the bargain right here.” Peace replaced worry. And Jones spent a lifetime of ministry in India, wrote numerous books, and ministered to multitudes worldwide.
This is what the Lord says to you today. He does not speak in an audible voice. he speaks through sacred scripture. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares for you. Will you close the bargain today?
1 Peter 5:7 is a comforting verse for troubled people. It assumes we have “anxieties.” The Greek word means care or concern. It can be good or bad, depending on the context. Some cares and concerns are a natural and normal part of the human experience. As followers of Jesus, there are godly concerns that are only right for us to care about. But some cares and concerns are illegitimate. It is sinful to be consumed with divisive, excessive, and perplexing cares. This is the anxiety our text addresses. It is future-focused.
- Regret carries yesterday’s burdens.
- Stress carries today’s burdens.
- Worry carries tomorrow’s burdens.
Matthew 6:31 says, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?'” These are not the questions of the hungry or naked. The disciples had foot to eat and clothes to wear. But what about tomorrow? Undue concern about tomorrow’s needs ruins the enjoyment of today’s blessings. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” What is it about tomorrow that worries you?
- Is it health issues?
- Is it family troubles?
- Is it financial needs?
- Is it looming decisions?
- Is it societal problems?
1 Peter 5:7 is the key to a worry-free life: Give your worries to God. Here are three dynamics of a worry-free life.
1 Peter 5:7 is not a complete sentence. There is no command in this verse. The verse modifies the command in the previous verse. Verse 6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” To be humbled is to be reduced in rank, status, or character. In scripture, the emphasis is on humility of character. The one who occupies a high status should adopt a lowly spirit. Philippians 2:8 says Christ “humbled himself.” Jesus was very God of very God. Yet he laid aside his heavenly majesty for earthly suffering. In the same way, we are to humble ourselves. We are to willingly accept whatever it costs to do God’s will.
A Christian who carried his cross he determined was too heavy to bear. He came upon a shop that sold crosses. The shopkeeper said he could trade in his cross for any cross in the shop. He laid down his cross and began to try on crosses. Each seemed harder and heavier than his cross. He finally found a cross that fit him well. The shopkeeper informed him it was the cross he entered the shop with.
We are tempted to complain, grumble, and lament the cross we must carry for Christ. But the Lord knows how much you can bear. Verse 6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God.”This anthropomorphism describes God’s irresistible sovereignty and undefeatable omnipotence. The mighty hand of God does whatever he pleases. Peter wrote this letter to Christians who faced growing hostilitybecause of their faith in Christ. It would only get worse. But he does not mention those who would persecute them. Whatever happened was God’s handiwork. There are no accidents or incidents in the life of the Christian. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” This verse reminds us that pride is our worst enemy and humility is our best friend.
- If you exalt yourself, the Lord will humble you.
- If you humble yourself, the Lord will exalt you.
When will the Lord exalt you? “At the proper time.” Psalm 30:5 says, “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” What do you do in the meantime? 1 Peter 5:7 answers: “casting all your anxieties on him, for he cares for you.”Worry is pride. We become anxious when we think we can or must handle the problems of life in our own strength, wisdom, and resources. Humility that leads to exaltation requires that you cast your anxieties on the Lord in humble submission. What a friend we have in Jesus!
Verse 7 says, “Casting all your anxieties on him, for he cares for you.” “Casting” means to put something on something or someone else. It is the intentional act of relocating an object from one place to another. Luke 19:35 uses it to describe disciples throwing their cloaks on a colt for Jesus to ride it. To cast something is to hurl it with effort and energy. It is also a decisive act. The term was used for making a deposit. A customer making a bank deposit does not have a tug-of-war with the teller. You put it in the teller’s hands and take your hands off it. This is what you should do with your anxieties. Do not let worry cause you to give up, give in, or give out. Cast your anxieties on the Lord.
Cast your cares on him personally. One day, anxiety overtook me as I faced a crisis. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me to pray. I picked up the phone and “Star 69ed” the last number. When the person answered, I asked them to pray for me. After I hung up, my anxieties remained because I had not obeyed the Spirit’s promptings. It was good to have someone pray for me. But my anxieties were not relieved until I prayed for myself.
Intercession is fundamental to prayer. You need to pray for others. You need others to pray for you. But intercession alone cannot sustain your faith. You must cast your anxieties on the Lord. After his resurrection, Jesus predicted that Peter would die the same death. Peter responded by asking, “Lord, what about this man?” John 21:22 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.’” The burdens others must carry are not your business. You must follow Jesus for yourself. This does not mean the care, concern, or counsel of others do not matter. But anxiety is intimate. You can cast your sickness on the doctor. You must cast your anxieties about it on the Lord. You can cast your financial need on others. But you must cast your anxiety about it on the Lord. You can cast your interpersonal conflict on a mediator. But you must cast your anxieties about it on the Lord. Let me ask you a question about what worries you: Have you prayed about it?
Cast your cares on him exclusively. The Lord is not mentioned by name in this verse. Him and he are mentioned. But there is no confusion about who the verse refers to. The Lord is the only one who can bear the weight of your worries. Cast your anxieties on him, not them. We often cast our anxieties on family and friends. They may kindly listen, show concern, and offer support. But they are not able to bear the weight of your anxieties. You must cast them on the Lord. In his providence, the Lord allows life to overwhelm us to show us that we cannot make it on our own. But he does not leave us or forsake us. He is there and bids us to cast our anxieties of him. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”Who else but the Lord can make this promise?
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” We must cast all our cares on the Lord because halfhearted trust in only wholehearted unbelief masquerading as faith. You only trust in the Lord if you trust him with all your heart. Max Lucado wrote: “As long as Jesus is one of many options, He is no option. As long as you can carry your burdens alone, you don’t need a burden bearer. As long as your situation brings you no grief, you will receive no comfort. As long as you can take him or leave him, you might as well leave him because Jesus won’t be taken half-heartedly.”
Cast your cares on him completely. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This is the wonderful privilege of believing prayer. We need not be anxious about anything because we can carry everything to God in prayer. There is nothing too small for God to care about. There is nothing too big for God to handle. 1 Peter 5:7 says: “casting all your anxieties on him.” “All” refers to the various and multiple cares you carry. It is the whole of your worries. You are to give it all to God.
- Don’t be afraid to tell him about it.
- Don’t be embarrassed by your anxieties.
- Do not include some cares and leave some out.
- Don’t think he is tired of hearing the same thing.
- Don’t give it to the Lord and take it back.
Cast your anxieties on the Lord completely and continually. This is how you should pray. Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” First thing in the morning, cast your anxieties about the day on the Lord. As they return over the course of the day, refuse to give them back. Give it all to the Lord!
1 Peter 5:7 tells us what to do about our anxieties and why: “casting all your anxieties on him, for he cares for you.” Anxiety is a human condition we cannot overcome on our own. The spiritual remedy is to cast our anxieties on the Lord. The great incentive for casting your cares on the Lord is that he cares for you. Is there a statement in the Bible sweeter than this? “He cares for you.” He cares for the world. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believers in him should not perish but have eternal life.” He cares for the church. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” But he cares for you.
- Verse 6 is a statement about the mighty hand of God.
- Verse 7 is a statement about the caring heart of God.
The Lord’s hand is strong enough for you to cast all your anxieties on him. The Lord’s heart is kindenough to cast all your anxieties on him. J.B. Phillips paraphrases it: “You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.” Jesus and the disciples sailed across the Sea of Galilee. As a storm raged, Jesus slept. Mark 4:38 says, “And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’” The disciples did not cry out for a miracle. It did not cross their mind that Jesus was Lord over nature. They wanted to know if Jesus cared. This is the internal struggle of external storms.
- We believe the Lord is able.
- We question if the Lord cares.
Does Jesus care? Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Don’t judge the Lord’s concern for you by your present circumstances. Run to the cross!God’s care for you sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross to pay for your sins and rise from the dead to give you new life. Romans 8:32 asks, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” The Sin-Bearer is also the Care-Bearer. Cast your anxieties on him, for he cares for you!