Tuesday January 13, 2009
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7.
As we have noted previously, although we are enjoying our stint here in Worthing, it is not without its stress. We are also concerned about my surgery looming up at the end of March, although that is mostly buried in the needs of the moment. Then there is the concern that all parents have, the welfare of their children and grandchildren—increasing with the growing numbers of descendents. Distress is ubiquitous and the text above is probably one of the most quoted to people in difficulties, although its use can be a substitute for genuine help. While there is real truth in the words, the words themselves may mean little without action.
But as usual, there is the question of context. The text itself is bracketed by the twin calls for humility and self control. Humility is the opposite of pride, but the Scripture’s definition of pride is not the pleasure of accomplishment, but arrogance, in the sense that God is unnecessary to life. It always amazes me that some people I meet, whose lives are in total disarray, still have all the answers! The Bible says that the atheist is a fool, Ps. 14:1; 53:1, for not only are we accountable to God for how we use this life, he is also our greatest resource for the difficult times and our recognition of our need of him is the source of humility.
Self control is a partner to humility. It requires a moderate and managed approach to life that denies arrogance, for a well-balanced life is supremely difficult without outside help. Radical and extreme elements in the world, although frequently invoking God as their source, do not manifest other fruits of the Spirit that come with self control: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness, Gal 5:22-23. If we really are to cast all our care on him, we will not come with arrogance, and it may mean admitting that we have lost either self control, or control of our situation—perhaps both!