I’m not a big fan of cooking. I like to cook, but I’m usually intimidated by all of the ingredients necessary to make some of my favorite dishes. I suppose the greatest factor in turning away from making these complex dishes is how they’ll taste if I make a mistake. That, and having to buy a bunch of ingredients to make a dish I only eat on rare occasions. Another factor is how much I don’t like following instructions. I’ve usually been pretty good at putting things together without them, only looking at them if I get stuck. I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older and rely more on following instructions how hard it is to understand the instruction manual. In the case of cooking, there are sometimes things that are assumed knowledge about cooking that I know little or nothing about.

As I was reading through 1 Peter today, I read this familiar verse.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

I’ve lived in anxiety for a great deal of my life, so this verse really speaks to me. Indeed, today, I’m swimming in anxiety because I got some dates mixed up on something I’m supposed to do in the future. Now, I realize I don’t have as much time to prepare for that thing I want to do. It occurred to me, that getting this verse to come out right, that is, losing the anxiety, is like following a recipe.

Let’s say I’m having a hankering for Mom’s Tuna Casserole. I can look up recipes online or in cookbooks on how to make a tuna casserole, but Mom made it in such a way that no other one will do. This is my goal. To eat Mom’s Tuna Casserole. Therefore, I need the recipe for it. Once I get the recipe for it, I’m going to have to buy the ingredients and make it. It’s possible, on this quest to eat Mom’s Casserole, that I might make a mistake along the way or even decide it’s not worth the trouble, and give up on the process. What’s the result? No tuna casserole. At least not Mom’s.

1 Peter 5:7 tells me to cast all of my anxiety on God because He cares for me. That seems simple enough, but is that all it takes? Is there something more required to cast my anxiety on God? I really need to know because this anxiety is killing me.

Let’s take a moment and look at the context of this verse. In 1 Peter 5, Peter is telling the elders of the church how they ought to discharge their ministerial duties. Peter also has some words for the younger people in the flock, and to everyone he says:

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

In the next verse, Peter tells them:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)

Then Peter tells them to “cast all [their] anxiety on him because he cares for [them]” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).

For as many years that I have been a Christian, I’ve held onto this verse, and many others like it, to help me deal with anxiety. However, it never occurred to me that there could be more to it before today. Surely Peter doesn’t just throw this verse out by itself. No, I don’t think so.

I know Peter was writing to a persecuted church. All throughout this letter, Peter is encouraging his brethren to endure their suffering, which is why it makes sense that there would be anxiety amongst them. I’m reminded of something Jesus said about worry.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

This is one of those verses I hold onto, especially in times when I might be prone to worrying. However, the previous verse from Matthew I also hold onto each day.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Now, I do my best every day to follow these simple instructions in Matthew 6:33.

Jesus also asked this question, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27 (NIV)

When I put these all together, Matthew 6:27, Matthew 6:34, and 1 Peter 5:5-6, I see something. Both Peter and Jesus are telling us to be humble. Peter comes right out and says to be humble because God favors the humble and opposes the proud. Jesus infers it. If I can’t add a single hour to my life by worrying, then what am I thinking, when I do worry? Could it be that I’m being prideful?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

Paul told the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances, reminding them that those circumstances are God’s will for them in Christ Jesus. If I’m worrying about my circumstances, then aren’t I thinking that there’s something wrong with the circumstances? Perhaps God didn’t see them coming, or some other nonsensical thing.

I think pride and anxiety go together. If I’m being anxious, I’m thinking, even if I don’t realize it, that God has somehow made a mistake regarding whatever it is I’m being anxious about. If I’m being prideful, and God opposes the proud, then how does it look when I, in my prideful state, try and cast my cares upon the Lord? If Peter is saying we need to cast those cares on the Lord from a state of humility, and I’m not in that state, then I’m not going to have those cares relieved. In the same way, if I replace an ingredient in Mom’s Tuna Casserole with a different ingredient, it’s not going to taste right.

If I get an ingredient wrong for Mom’s Tuna Casserole, it’s not going to taste the same. That’s not really a big deal. However, if I get something wrong when trying to cast my cares on the Lord, what can happen then?

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

If we think God isn’t doing something, we’re prone to try and take care of the issue ourselves. There’s a lot out there in this world we can try and find comfort in if we’re feeling anxious. Drugs, sex, Mom’s Tuna Casserole, etc. Another way of looking at 1 Peter 5:8, concerning the context, is like this.

If you’re still anxious after giving it up to God, then be careful. Don’t turn to the things of this world for comfort. When you turn to those things, the devil is right there waiting for you, and he can destroy your life when you’re not careful.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:9 (NIV)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 (NIV)

Peter tells us to resist the devil and stand firm in our faith. James tells us to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil. When we do these things, the devil will flee from us. In addition, they both tell us to be humble. When we submit to God, we’re being humble. When Peter was reminding the church that Believers all around the world were suffering the same way, it was another reminder to be humble.

Whether we realize it or not, pride works in insidious ways. On one hand, it tells us we can do whatever we want and have whatever we want. On the other hand, it’s also there, nagging at us, telling us we could have done this or that to change our situation. We are in control. This is the lie of pride. We are in control.

One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. It’s not control of everything else. However, we don’t even have self-control without submitting humbly to God.

We have to remember when we read Scripture and hold onto it, it’s not self-contained. All Scripture is presented to us in context, and the context is there to help us understand it. Just as we have to follow a recipe in its entirety to get the result we’re looking for when we cook, we need to do what God tells us to do to get the greater reward He has for us. If we mess these two up, we get staggeringly different results. On one hand, you get something that doesn’t taste right. On the other, eternal damnation (cf. 1 Peter 1:9).

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.