1 Peter 5:7
NKJV - 7 Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
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1 Pet 5:7 instructs "Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you". What is interesting about this is that while the greek word for our human care is 'merimna', the word used for God's care is 'melo'. 'Melo' means simply 'to be of interest to' and 'to take care', without the added connotation of anxiety. Conversely, merimna means 'to be anxious about'; to be drawn in opposite directions and divided into parts. Figuratively, to "go to pieces". [It can also be used in a positive sense, such as to be fervent (I Cor 7:32-35), however context usually is clear whether it is being used in its positive sense of fervor vs. The negative sense of anxiety]. Most people, being human, at some time experience anxiety or are caught up in fretting or worry over something they cannot control. It is a frequent topic for Biblical figures as well (Matt 10:17-23, Psa 38:15-20, Is 6:1-5, etc.) Anxiety is distracting, harms our ability to prioritize, and fights against contentment and trust. Anxiety is often a stress response, and can have physical symptoms – such as headaches, nausea, tense muscles, trembling, sweating, heart palpitations, backache, etc. In Psalm 22:1-19, David is afraid of God being silent or forsaking him. He is anxious due to the scorn of man, affliction. [Yet, even in this he gives the silver lining to his grey cloud of worry - that we can respond to these fears by trusting in the Lord]. God's concern is free from this anxiety, however. Melo represents positive concern, such as found when the Good Samaritan treats the wounds of the man beaten by robbers (Luke 10: 25-37), or the commendable concern of Timothy in caring for the welfare of others (Phil 2:19-23). Perhaps a more practical way in looking at the difference between concern and anxiety is that concern acts with reason and empathy to alleviate a problem, whereas anxiety reacts with fear and worry. Anxiety actually hinders action; as we lose sense of priority, as we ruminate on our own worst-case scenarios, as we focus more on self and our own perceptions, etc. Concern, on the other hand, will work to address what is needed, evaluate courses of action, and clear up any misunderstandings. Jesus points out this difference to Martha in Luke 10:38-42, where she accuses Jesus of not showing concern (melo) for Mary skipping chores. Jesus responds that the real issue is Martha is anxious (merimna) and bothered by many things, but Mary has prioritized. So, knowing this, how do we actually go about casting all our anxiety on God (I Pet 5:7)? In Matt 6:25-34, Jesus gives a short sermon on how to let go of anxiety. Some of the lessons taught in this are: - Life is more important than the details - The body is more important than the things that go in or on it - The animals do not plan for the future yet God provides for even them (God has places far higher value on us) - No amount of worrying could ever lengthen our lives - Vanity is fruitless, for even Solomon could never rival a simple flower of God's creation - Do not borrow trouble The Bible also gives some practical "heart" advice: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. - Phil 4:6 Cutting off the endless loop of anxious thoughts is important, as anxiety feeds off repetitive, worthless thoughts that do nothing to change anything. Prayer (talking the issue over with God), Thanksgiving (Focusing on blessings rather than trouble), and supplication (asking God to help with the problem) are all excellent ways as they stop the anxious thoughts, replace those thoughts with a positive, and begin the process of true concern which seeks to fix the problem. Rejoicing is another major way to combat anxiety. Matt 11:28-30, Heb 4:12-16, Phil 4:4-9, and other scriptures give both practical and heartfelt ways to cast all our anxiety upon God.
Peter speaks of casting all your care upon the Lord, for He cares for us. Peter says God cares for us, meaning He shows a kind interest in us in all our needs and cares. The Lord loves to hear and help us as we bring our cares to Him. Indeed, He shows Himself ready to help us before anyone even calls upon Him! Looking to the Lord to be your Savior from all your sins and sinfulness day after day, week after week, year after year, you find out that is who God will most surely and splendidly and graciously and continually be for us in and through Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Savior! God's care for us is calm, holy, thoughtful providence. God cares for us; therefore we must not be over-anxious, but trust in Him. Casting all your care, your anxiety, your distracting care on Him, for He cares for you, for He meddles or concerns himself, with the things that interest you. Whatever things concern a follower of God, whether they be spiritual or temporal, or whether in themselves great or small, God concerns himself with them. He who knows that God cares for him, need have no anxious cares about himself. This is a plain reference to Psalm 55:22 : Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will bear both you and your burden. Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn1:9). Peter knew from experience where sin abounds with us, with God, grace abounds still much more, and when He forgives, He remembers our sins no more! (Heb.8:12). God cares for us; as many as humbly depend on Him, with a forgiving and compassionate love that is precious and soul-relieving beyond words. No matter what you may have done or how sinful you have been, yet even this very day you can be washed whiter than snow freely and completely and surely! Cast all your spiritual cares upon Him, for He cares for you. He cares for us, God Triune does, as shown so much in Jesus Christ in all His life and even to the death of the cross for the purpose of saving sinners like you and me. God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten, His beloved, Son for this gracious and loving purpose, to save guilty wretched, hopeless, otherwise hell-bound sinners like us (Jn.3:16). And Jesus gave of Himself so willingly and totally for this reason, and the Holy Spirit labors continually with the Word for the glory of this Savior and the salvation of all His people. In 1 Peter 5:4 the apostle speaks of Jesus as the Chief Shepherd, which means really He is the greatest and most shepherd-like Helper for all His people. He tenderly cares for them, each and every one, in all their needs for body and soul, in life and death. So as 2014 ends and 2015 begins with in a week’s time, will you be one truly casting all your cares upon the Lord, trusting Him so much cares for you as revealed most clearly in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Savior of sinners? In that light, oh, dear friends, “Happy New Year” indeed! Amen.
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