“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may life you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:5-7 NIV)
Anxiety is a common human trait that all must deal with. To be or not to be (anxious) is the question. The Apostle Peter understood this and addressed the issue in a simple concise manner. According to anxietycentre.com, “Anxiety has become the number one mental health issue in North America. It’s estimated that one third of the North American population experiences anxiety unwellness issues.” And according to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Anxiety Disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54).” And current estimates say this could be as high as 30 percent. “Another report found that more than half of college students sought help for their anxiety issues.” (anxietycentre.com) And finally, Scientific American says 1 in 6 Americans takes a Psychiatric drug. All these facts are enough to almost make anyone anxious.
Peter gave us God’s perspective on things and God’s answer to the problem of anxiety. People who have been Christians for a while normally know 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety (care) on him because he cares for you,” but have we related it to 1 Peter 5:6? Anxiety often comes about because we often depend on ourselves to take care of our problems and concerns. After all we are Americans and self-sufficient and we do have pride. But God is good about putting us in a “box” where our resources in every area of life are not enough whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially. What do we do then? We can chew on our nails or suck on our thumbs. Our resources are spent and finally we turn to God.
How much better is life when we learn to “clothe ourselves with humility” and walk humbly before God every day of our lives? When we put aside pride and realize that God is able to take care of every situation in life every day of our lives anxiety will begin to depart from us. As we begin to realize that God really does care for us and that he wants to provide for us in every situation of life (Matthew 6:25-34) we will begin to listen to God’s voice and practice God’s antidote to anxiety (Philippians 4:6) and receive God’s peace in place of anxiety (Philippians 4:7). God’s antidote to anxiety “in every situation” is “prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And the answer to your prayers is “the peace of God.”
The world offers one solution to anxiety and God offers another. The world offers temporary relief and God offers permanent relief. Is this an argument against the medical profession and medication? No! This is a biblical principle that God has given in His Word for Christians to change our lifestyle and submit our entire lifestyle to God so that we walk in humility before God because God does care for us. For the Christian there is an answer to the anxiety problem that affects so many people in America. As they say, “This isn’t rocket science.” The Apostle Peter had the answer 2000 years ago.