Saturday, April 06, 2013

ANXIETY FROM A HOSTILE WORLD, 1 Peter 5:7

It's inspiring to read the Bible and have one of those AHA! moments. 1 Peter 5:7 provides such a moment when understood in context of the epistle. Some people are living right on the edge of mental collapse. The coffee isn't what they ordered and they call 911. The co-worker steals the stapler and you're ready to blow up. The finances aren't adding up to pay the bills and it's getting desperate. But these things don't come close to the level of troubles that first century Christians were enduring. 

See in 1 Peter that he says the following: "To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,..." 1:1 "...you have been distressed by various trials," 1:6; "…they slander you as evildoers,…" 2:12; "…AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED," 3:14; "12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation." 4:12,13.

All through 1 Peter we see that persecuted Christians are being encouraged to bear up under it all and remain faithful. It is under this context, the context of undergoing various trials by persecution, that Peter says, "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you" 1 Pt 5:7. This is an AHA moment because I've always read that text in a more general context of anxiety. But the anxiety that we have in our world today, because we didn't get our way, because things are a little challenging at work, because a neighbor's dog goes potty in our yard, because the car is 10 years old, and all such things don't rise to the level of anxiety that the 1st century Christians lived under. The world was persecuting them and God cares.

When Christians are being hounded and hunted down by the world, they know anxiety. Peter says for them to bring it to God. When the devil is prowling about to destroy you, bring your anxieties to God. But if the normal pressures of daily living are able to get us down and keep us from walking with the spirit of Christ, certainly we can find help if we take such things to the LORD. But if daily life can cause us to buckle in our walk with God, how in the world will we do if the world turns hostile for you being a Christian!

So again, the AHA moment is understanding the anxiety of 1 Pt 5:7 more properly as the extreme sort that comes from living in a very hostile world. In all such times, be sure that you draw near to God and lay your anxieties before His throne. And stop crying when your co-worker eats your do-nut.

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