This Bible study I'm doing, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow isn't at all what I thought it would be. I guess I was thinking it would be a bit more warm and fuzzy. I wasn't expected to be challenged, convicted and prodded quite so much. But that's a good thing. I think, anyway.
She pointed out I Peter 5:6,7 in the reading and the homework portion. This resonated with me so strongly that I didn't finish yesterday's homework but just sat there meditating on these veres. Not only were the verses the author mentioned gripping, but the ones that came after struck me even more forcefully. Here they are:
"Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, frim in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." I Peter 5:6-10
Interestingly, the verse before this ends with "God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble." Verse 6 makes it plain that we need to be humble AND give all of our anxieties to God. The word casting literally means "to hurl" which gives a funny sort of picture in my mind of me running by God, pelting Him with all my anxieties and worries. It seems to give this picture of anxiety hot potato - get rid of them as quickly as possible by hurling them at God who is big enough to handle them all.
The next verse tells us to be sober and alert because Satan is looking for people to devour. The words be sober in the Greek mean to be calm and collected in spirit. I've seen these verses before but suddenly, when looking at them all together something clicked into place for me. In order to be sober and alert about the devil so I can avoid being devoured by him, I need to be humble and not full of anxiety and fear. Those things - pride and fearfulness - make me a prime target for the Satan's attacks. They certainly don't give me a calm and collected spirit!
Even the very first sin took place because of both pride and fear. Pride that Eve knew better than God and wanted to be in control. Fear because she feared that God wasn't really good and was holding out on her with the good stuff. How many times do I fall into Satan's trap because of pride (it does come before a fall after all!) or fears/anxieties? Way more than I want to admit!
But the next verse tells me what to DO: "resist him, firm in your faith..." Faith is utter trust in God - not myself (pride) or in circumstances (fears/anxieties). In these verses, Peter is saying "yes, things might be hard and you might suffer but if we hold on to God - have faith - then He will do something wonderful in us.
The last verse gives us the results of not letting fear or pride make us an easy target. It says God HIMSELF will "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." Because I am somewhat of a Bible nerd, I had to look up those words in the Greek. Perfect means to render complete or sound. Confirm means to make stable, place firmly, set fast. Strengthen here means to make steadfast. Finally, establish means to lay the foundation. This presents such a different picture than the one that the devil is seeking to devour doesn't it?
I don't know about you, but I want to be the final picture - completed, placed firmly, steadfast and with a solid foundation NOT a tasty entree for the devil's neverending appetite! God tells me how too - be humble and giving (throwing) my anxieties to Him. I guess I better start working on my throwing arm!
~ Blessings, Bronte