How To Annihilate Anxiety

Bible Book: 1 Peter  5 : 7
Subject: Worry; Trouble; Trust; Faith; Anxiety

How To Annihilate Anxiety

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

1 Peter 5:7: "Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."

In 1 Peter 4:7, Peter tells his readers that the end is near. Certainly we are nearer the end today than the people were when Peter penned those words. Even Peter called them “the last days,” because the Church Age is the final dispensational period in divine history on earth prior to the return of Jesus. As we near the end, Peter reminds us that we are to reveal a peace and tranquility, an absence from anxiety that is ours because of Jesus in our lives. So in 1 Peter 5:7 he reminds you that you are to be “casting your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Do you feel like life is kicking you in the face, and sometimes in other parts of your anatomy? Well, you are not alone. Charlie Brown had lost another game. As they left the field he lamented his sad fate. Lucy said, "Charlie, cheer up! It is the hard knocks and lost games that make a person great.” Charlie replied, "I must be the greatest person in the world." Sometimes we all feel like Charlie Brown. We turn today to a verse which speaks to those who feel a little or a lot like Charlie.

F.B. Meyer said that every word of the verse we are looking at today is golden. Truly this is one of the most beautiful and comforting verses in the New Testament. However, for those who are going through anxieties on a large scale, it can be a little disconcerting, since it does not tell you how to cast your care upon the Lord. But, if you understand the background to this verse you will find that it says a lot more than meets the eye.

First, understand that this is written to believers. You must first cast your sins upon the Lord before you can cast your cares upon Him. Once we are saved, this passage applies to us, but not before. After all, the greatest burden the unsaved person has, whether he knows it or not, is that of being lost – separated from God. To be lost is to live each day a heartbeat from death and eternal separation from God. That is an unnecessary state in which to live, since Jesus died to carry our sins away. So, the sinner can cast his sins upon the Lord; in fact, the Lord is waiting today to take your sins from you and to make your soul as white as snow. In Isaiah 1:18 God said, "Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool." What a wonderful plea, promise and provision God has made for our sins.

Next, however, we must understand that the believer is to take 1 Peter 5:7 as seriously as any other divine command. Every directive of God is important. Let’s look at this verse and ask what we can do to fully obey this commandment and enjoy the fruit of that obedience.

First, note…

I. The Reason for Condemning Anxiety

Though this verse does not speak specifically about condemning anxiety, it is apparent the Lord does not want His children to be anxious. Other places in the Bible are much more specific ( See Matthew 6; Philippians 4:4-13).

A. Worry is Sinful

The word "care" comes from an ancient word which means to be divided or distracted. Anxiety and worry takes our mind off God and places our thoughts on the situation we are facing, or  it turns our attention to ourselves instead of placing our faith in Christ. As such is it sin in three ways.

1. It is Rebellion

Anything which transgresses a command of God is a sin. This passage contains an order for the believer not to worry. So, not regarding this properly also means that we don't trust God. It means that we think we must be the solution to every problem. It is an act of rebellion to take control from God.

2. It is Rejection

It is a rejection of God's offer to help. Like a child you are saying, "I will do this myself." All of you present today who are parents have been through this act of rejection. This is a problem when time is of the essence. You are in a hurry to take you child to school and to get to work on time. You are going to tie your child's shoes because you don't have time for the child to wrestle with the task. That's when your child reaches over and pushes your hand away and says, "I can do it myself." Your child doesn't understand the time constraint you are under. He or she is in rebellion but hardly understands it. Just think of how we do that with the Lord.

Listen, no matter what you are going through, Jesus has already paved the way through HIs own obedience to the Father. Just think of the ways that Jesus suffered while He was on earth.

Socially, He came to His own and they received Him not

Domestically, His own family did not understand Him.

Financially, He had no place to lay His head.

Psychologically, Satan tempted Him to throw Himself off the pinnacle near the Temple

Physically, He thirsted, He was tired, He was crucified

Emotionally, He wept and was angry due to the sins at the Temple

Spiritually, He took our sins at Calvary and in that moment He was judged for us

Yes, you can cast your cares on Him because He knows all about your troubles. In fact, you will not face anything greater than He has already been through. The songwriter penned,

"Jesus knows all about our troubles..."

Indeed, He does!

Note that not casting your care on Him is a sin because ...

3. It is Reservation

When you are I worry and are anxious, we are actually questioning whether God can be trusted! We are, in essence, reserving the right to take back control of our lives.

A story is told that during an earthquake the inhabitants of a small village were very much alarmed. They were surprised to see the calmness of an elderly woman throughout the entire ordeal. When things had settled down, one of the villagers asked her, "Weren't you afraid during that earthquake?" She replied, "No, I wasn't. You see, I just rejoiced to know that I have a God who is big enough and powerful enough to shake the world."

Friends, our God is big enough and powerful enough to meet all our needs and to give us peace, victory and confidence when our world is shaking.

We are sometimes like Ralph, who was dealing with some distress and turmoil in his life. He was head over heels in trouble, but doing little to help himself. A friend advised, "Ralph, you've got two hands, why don't you do something?" Ralph replied, "I am doing something with my two hands - I'm wringing both of them."

The Christian can never honor God when wringing his or her hands in worry.

So, we see that worry is sinful, but note also that …

B. Worry is Stressful
1. Stress makes you weak and harms your body

Let me give you an example. The owner of a small business had a legal matter which was driving him to distraction and the issue was coming before the court for adjudication. The results might mean the loss of his business and all he owned. The man was so stressed that he could not sleep. In fact, he couldn’t eat properly and began to lose weight. Then a man came across his path who was an attorney. The attorney told the business owner to rest easy. He told him he had handled many such cases and assured the business owner that he would take care of the case before the judge. The business man went back to his normal life and felt fully restored in health and wellbeing. Why? Someone had taken the burden for him. Don’t you see, that is what Jesus does for us! If only we can trust Him, we will have victory!

2. Stress takes away your witness

Spurgeon was a great preacher in England during the late 1800s. By age 25 he spoke to thousands of people each week at a church in London. He taught young men who surrendered to preach and he told them to smile when they talked about heaven. He said, "When you must speak of hell, well, your natural face will do!" Our natural look is not too pleasant, especially if we are worried about things and not trusting God!

William Barclay wrote that life is not out to break us but to make us. Certainly that can be said of God and what He desires to do with the troubles He knows that we face each day. He doesn't desire to break one of His children to pieces, but He does often use hardships to build our spiritual muscle.

W.A. Criswell pointed out how big men can be upset over such little things. He notes Jonah and the worm. You remember how Jonah prayed in the belly of the great fish and was spit up on dry ground. Jonah preached and a great revival broke out so that the entire city was saved, right up to the king himself. Jonah, however, went up on the hill and watched. He wanted God to judge the Ninevites - to destory them. A bush grew up to cover Jonah's head as he sat in the hot sun, but then a worm came along and ate on the vine and the bush died. Jonah pitched a fit over a worm that ruined his shade while not caring at all about the souls of the people in the city. We often make much of our little troubles because we take our eyes off the ministry God is giving us to help those who are facing difficulties many times worse than our own.

Jesus spoke of how the cares of this world can take our eyes off the blessings and provisions of God. Jesus used the word "cares" while talking about the seed being choked out by the cares of the word (see Matthew 13). We are drawn away from God and His Word by the cares of this world. He used the same language when he spoke to Martha in Luke 10.

Worry is not just sinful and stressful, note that…

C. Worry is Shameful
1. So Unprofitable

Whatever you are worrying about is keeping you from more important duties. Worry is a de-energizer!

It also hurts the cause of Christ. It hinders a person’s witness to be full of anxiety.

There is the story of a woman going to India as missionary. Her mother became ill so she stayed by her bedside for three years till she died. She had made promise that she would go see her sick sister out west, so she went to see her sister and remained there in her sister's dying days. There were four children left to care for, so she just could not leave those children. She stayed to help raise them. She was so troubled that she had not be able to fulfill her vow to be a missionary. Yet, three of her sister’s four children became international missionaries. The woman had worried all those years because she could not trust that God had a greater and better plan than the one she had in mind. God is at work, even when you can't see it. It is harmful when we fail to trust Him through everything.

2. So Unnecessary

Does God care for you?

He created you

He loved you enough to send His Son for your sins

He wooed you to Himself

He redeemed you

He changed your nature

He wrote your name down in heaven, making you part of His family

He is preparing a home for you

He has put His Spirit in You

He has promised never to leave you

He keeps you saved and secure from falling from grace

He directs you steps as you follow Him

He has given you his perfect, truthful word

He has given your friends to pray for you

He is coming for you one day soon

Does God care for you? How could you question it!

Now that we have seen the reason that anxiety is condemned, let us see…

II. The Recipe for Conquering Anxiety

A. Praying

(see Psalm 55:22) This does not need elaboration – speaking with God helps us depend upon Him and it shows faith in Him, which God requires of us (Hebrews 11:6).

B. Praising

In Philippians 4:4 we see that Paul was praising the Lord while in prison in Rome and was calling upon the Philippian Christians to do the same. The Lord reveals Himself in praise. Whining weakens us but praise empowers us.

C. Persisting

In 1 Peter 5:7 we note that the word “casting” is a participle, which means that it requires continuation to obey. We are to be ever and always casting our cares upon Him. This requires persistent faith and persistent casting of our stress and trouble upon the Lord. He can handle it – you can’t!

Let me hasten to complete this message. So, note lastly…

III. The Right Time to Conqueror Anxiety

When worries are small, that is the time to deal with them by faith. Worry can be like a disease that will keep growing unless you excise it - cut it out - remove it. A tumor will increase and destroy if it is not removed in a timely manner. Likewise, we are to cast our care upon Him the moment we note the weight of it upon our minds and hearts.

Do not delay.

Do not defer.

Do not deny.

Just do what He says we are to do – bring it to Him and leave it there.

Conclusion

Bring your burden to the Lord! I know you have troubles – all of us have them. But, do you have a relationship with the Heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
‘I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.’
Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
‘Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.’" Elizabeth Cheney

If you are not saved, come to Christ this very moment and you will know the Father – God – and you can trust everything to Him.

If you are a Christian, do not delay. Come just now and submit your stress and struggles into His hands. “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you!”