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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | Comments (1)

by John MacArthur

The apostle Peter was a worrier. He worried about drowning when he was walking on water, even though Jesus was right there with him (Matthew 14:29-31). He worried about what was going to happen to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, so he pulled out his sword and tried to take on a battalion of Roman soldiers (John 18:2-3, 10). And when he worried about Jesus being crucified, Peter ordered God Himself not to go to the cross (Matthew 16:22).

Nevertheless, although Peter had ongoing trouble with anxiety, he learned how to deal with it, and he passed on the lesson to us—a lesson that shows the connection between our humility and our ability to conquer anxiety.

Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 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 (1 Peter 5:5-7, emphasis added).

When Peter said “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5), he had a specific image in mind. He used a Greek term that means to tie something on yourself with a knot or a bow. It came to refer especially to a work apron. A slave would put on an apron over his or her clothes to keep them clean, just like you might before you start a messy chore. The word became a synonym for humble service.

Humility is the attitude that you are not too good to serve others, and you are not too great to stoop. It was not considered a virtue in the ancient world. Sadly, we have reverted to those times in that regard. Humble people today are mocked and trampled on. The world calls them wimps and instead exalts pride, arrogance, and runaway egos. Although society was no different in Peter’s day, he called his readers to be different.

To support his exhortation to clothe ourselves in humility toward one another, Peter cites the Old Testament: “God is opposed to the proud, but give grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5, cf. Proverbs 3:34). Those verses provide keen motivation for displaying humility. In simple terms, we will be blessed if we are humble and chastised if we are not. And one of the blessings of humility is the ability to deal with anxiety.

On the other hand, pride only compounds your problems when you give in to worry. Pride usurps God’s preeminent position, leaving you no one to rely on when anxiety creeps in. You can’t rest in the sovereignty of God when you arrogantly exalt your desires, opinions, and will to the same level—or above—the Lord’s.

Humility keeps priorities in proper order. It keeps you from being overwhelmed by your own circumstances and instead focuses your attention on God’s plans and purposes in those circumstances. It takes your focus off the immediate situation and helps you appreciate what the Lord is accomplishing behind the scenes.

Humility also puts us on God’s timetable and not our own. As Peter says, “He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6). What’s the proper time? His time, not ours. When will it be? When He has accomplished His purpose.

Now that might seem a little vague, but there’s no cause for concern—God has perfect timing. Indeed, our salvation depended on His perfect timing. Paul specified that the hope of eternal life was “at the proper time manifested” through Jesus Christ (Titus 1:1-3). Trusting in God’s timing is no light or peripheral matter to the Christian faith.

We can, and should, rest assured that God will exalt us according to His perfect timing. But what kind of exaltation should we anticipate? Paul used a Greek term that speaks of lifting us out of our present trouble. For the Christian, even the worst trial is only temporary. Remember that truth, as you will be tempted to conclude that because there’s no end in sight, there is no end at all. Don’t believe it for a minute; God promises to lift you out.

How are we to conduct ourselves until the promised time of deliverance? Peter said “Humble yourselves . . . casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

That’s where we’ll pick it up next time.

(Adapted from Anxious for Nothing.)


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#1  Posted by Holly Schrader  |  Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Thankyou, Pastor MacArthur for this message. My husband and I have been agonizing recently, that we cannot find a suitable church in our area. We have been looking for years. A new one started up a few years ago and, because we had heard its pastors had attended the Shepherd's Conference, we have been attending for a few months now. The preaching is biblical and accurate, verse by verse, and the pastor uses Scripture to explain Scripture.

However, unfortunately, this church has adopted a casual trend, with its leaders in very informal, relaxed dress, and the worship team as well, (with its adherance to 7-11 songs and rarely a hymn sung). We have found this to be extremely distracting in our worship and deem it ultimately dishonoring to God.

I admit that I had come to the conclusion, sadly, that there was no end in sight, and that we would never find a church and might be forced to give up altogether and stay home. When this morning while venting this frustration before the Lord and reading through 1Peter chapters 3-4, I came to 3:4-5, wherein women are exhorted to have a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious to God, and to assume the responsibility of submission. This was humbling to read yet again and actually calming to the spirit. Humility is a tool to deal with anxiety.

And then, as God would have it, today I read your message above and its scriptural centerpiece, 1Peter 5:5-7, highlighting the fact that God will lift our suffering when we allow the humbling of ourselves, casting all our anxiety upon Him. I can't wait to read that chapter tomorrow.

Thankyou, again, Pastor MacArthur, for reinforcing this integral message of Scripture, and for pointing out the fact that the depth of our spirituality and blessing from God is directly based upon our humility. And without a good measure of it, worry and despair will reign supreme, dishonoring God. I look forward to Part 2 of, "Casting Your Cares On God." May God bless you!