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.

1 Peter 5: 6, 7

 

The Message bible states verse 7 this way, “Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” This is something that most of us would gladly accept and claim as our own, for I think that living in a state of being that is free from care is something that most people desire. Yet, from our point of view this is rarely, if ever, true. Worries, concerns and troubles, the cares of the world, plague us. They cling to our days with such tenacity that they can begin to seem as if they are a part of the created order of things.

 

Yet, God tells us that we can live in this carefree manner. He tells us to place all of these worries, cares, and concerns on Him. Peter goes even further with this idea in that he seems to be saying that pride is at work when followers of Christ holds onto our cares, our anxieties. The answer to pride is humility, and humility often comes about when we gain honest perspective and use the corrective of truth as revealed in God’s word and by His Spirit to view ourselves and what it means to live in this world. God’s truth can be sobering, and it can also set us free.

 

God does not promise that our days will be free from troubles, and our human make up will lead us to have anxiety over many of the things that we will encounter. So, this carefree living that Peter is discussing is not a life that is absent of all challenges. He was a realist, and he certainly acted out of his own anxieties at times. Anxieties, cares, fears concerns and troubles do exist. However, we serve a mighty God who cares totally for each of us, and He asks us to trust Him enough to give over the disabling aspects of our troubles and concerns to Him so that we might live fully in the joy of His presence. Thus, the place of carefree living is found as we surrender the burden of life to Christ and follow Him into His calling for us.

 

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Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you.

1 Peter 5: 6, 7

 

When I look at how hard I work to hold onto my fears, concerns, and anxieties, I am amazed. My mind continually goes back to these familiar old scripts where the behaviors that I exhibit are damaging, counter productive, and even harmful. Yet, these scenarios are the text of my life, and they have been constructed over time to form a very comfortable shell that surrounds my heart and my mind and that keeps me from straying too far into the risky waters of fundamental change. God sees this behavior as arrogance and as a form of pride.

 

By holding onto ways of thinking and behaviors that have proven to be unproductive in the past and by continuing to grasp them as if they were my greatest treasures, I am saying to God that I know better than He how I should live my life, and I am demonstrating to those around me that when I say that I trust God and that I desire to follow His will that what I really mean is that I do these things only to the extent and so far as my own definitions of what is safe and acceptable will allow me to venture. Unfortunately, this way of living is self-centered and hypocritical, and it shuts me out of experiencing the full extent of the wondrous blessing that God has in mind for me.

 

The answer to all of this seems to lie in no longer being concerned about what others will think about me or about my own sense of my short comings or weaknesses. God’s answer for me is found in the extravagant love that He has for me and through the moment by moment reality of His care for me. When I stop looking at myself and start focusing on God’s face, I see the way that His Spirit envelops me, and I hear the reassuring words of His counsel directing me to step forward and to engage the adventure that He has prepared for me in this life. Lord, God, I pray that as I go through this day I will continue to cast away the spirit of anxiety that keeps my eyes focused on myself and that I will continually gaze upon Your face and follow Your path into the Your perfect love has set out for me.

 

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time.

1 Peter 5: 6

 

Humility is a tough concept to grasp. Worldly wisdom says that if you have too much of it, no one will listen to you. Its voice continually directs us to be wise and to exhibit strength so that others will respect and follow us. So there is established a daily challenge for people who know Christ. For during the course of every day of my life there is more than enough wisdom and way more strength available to me than I ever realize and than I ever utilize. This is particularly true on the days when I am most stretched by trying to just keep up with the stresses and the demands that life has covered me with. These are the times when I am most likely to go deep into myself to try to find the resources that my ego tells me are always going to get me through.

 

My mind tells me that I have it all under control, that I always have the answers, and that I am the captain of my own ship’s destiny. Yet, my relationship with Christ is slowly teaching me that everything that actually works comes from Him. So, I am placed into a quandary of decision, for in the most demanding and stressful of times in my life, I need to become the most submitted to the love, wisdom, and grace of God. In other words, at the moment that my experience, training, and practice drive me toward independence and personal strength, Christ asks me to let all of that go and trust Him first, and this is counter to my well trained, deeply-held and intuitive response.

 

Still, the truth is that God’s hand is mighty. His loving heart is huge beyond description, and His desire is for me to prosper in ways that matter at the eternal level. When I take the time to pray my way into and through the hard conversations, interactions, and decisions of my day, the Lord never fails to give me wisdom, understanding, and the peace that I need to proceed. As I let God’s word provide me with guidance and His Spirit mentor my decisions, things become clearer, and my responses take on a loving attitude that is not naturally mine.

 

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.

1 Peter 5: 6, 7

 

There is an almost wildly crazy aspect to the way that God designed us humans, for we have this strong, independent streak that runs throughout our nature and that affects almost everything that we do. Yet, it is this same independence that leads to the sort of self-sufficient arrogance that gets me into many of the situations that cause me so much grief and worry. Then the worry, concern, and stress drive me deep inside myself. They close me off to engaging in healthy and helpful dialogue with other people, and they cause me to hide out from God. In the end, the situation just gets worse.

 

So, in trying to resolve this mystery of my Creator’s design for me and my relationship with Him, I have come to this understanding. God wants me and everyone to desire to be involved in the relationship with Him. The Lord is first and foremost my loving Father. He wants to guide, nurture, counsel, and empower me to live a life that is full and joyous. God delights in the things that we do and in the way that we grow in our understanding of His righteousness. Recognizing my own need for the Lord’s continual guidance and wisdom is the first step toward living in the freedom that God intends for me to enjoy. Then, the next step is the hard one, for I must take my controlling hands off of the outcome and humbly allow God to take charge of the direction that I go in all aspects of my life.

 

There is no instantaneous or miraculous cure for a lifetime of practicing the form of self-directed thinking that results in this type of isolation with its attendant anxiety and loss of peace and joy. Yet, the Lord provides us with great hope, for He is gracious with us. He places no restrictions or preconditions on His acceptance of the desire of our hearts to embrace His truth. As I yield myself to Him, God gives back to me and blesses me in ways that are far greater than I could have imagined. As we turn over everything, each and every challenge, worry, concern, struggle, and uncertainty to our loving Father; we can expect the miraculous, for He will provide the answers to it all.