Aug 24, 2022

Aug 24, 2022

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
August 24, 2022

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6-11

Peter tells us that we are to cast all our anxieties, worries, cares and undue fears upon the Lord. That is pretty relevant. What person doesn’t struggle with fear or anxiety? We are living in what has been called the culture of fear and anxiety. It doesn’t matter where you turn, Twitter, television, blogs, we are constantly reminded of reasons to be afraid. Global terrorism, extreme weather, pandemics, political turmoil, disintegration of the family unit, and the increase in violence to many major cities across America. As the speed of the digital world gives us more and more knowledge about the world we live in, the more afraid we get. Isn’t that how it works.

A pastor by the name of Michael Reeves made a very insightful observation about the rise and increase of fear in our society at large. He says, “It can be traced back to knowledge. Knowledge apart from God brings fear. But knowledge of God, consistent with the truth of the word of God brings comfort and peace.” Knowledge is a good thing. If we are going to grow as a Christian we have to grow in knowledge; knowledge of God, knowledge of Christ, knowledge of ourselves, even of the world we live in and the devil himself. Sinclair Ferguson said this in one of his books, “Knowing is for living.” If you don’t know you really can’t live a god-pleasing life.

We can have knowledge apart from God, and knowledge apart from God where God never enters the picture is often dangerous and even destructive. Think of our first parents Adam and Eve. Remember the tree, it was a tree of knowledge. They wanted to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and God said, “No, that’s a forbidden tree,” but they went ahead with it and they acquired more knowledge. What happened? They also became afraid. They wanted knowledge without God and after they got that knowledge they were afraid.

The more we pursue knowledge outside of God with no Biblical framework the more fears we will have. Hasn’t that been proven true? The more we expose ourselves to the mass media, the more fear and anxiety. COVID 19 was not the most dangerous pandemic, but I would argue it was the most fear-producing pandemic in human history. Why was that? Information overload. 24/7 we were told over and over again how many people died, the mantra of wearing masks and all the safety prodigal that was to be taken. The more and more knowledge that came into our ears and our minds the more afraid people became. And add fear to fear, think of the world we live in, the foundations of our society appear to be shaking, crumbling; the government, family, church. So there is a lot to be afraid of.

And we shouldn’t forget the devil. He loves to make us afraid. One of the Puritans, a man by the name of William Gurnell said, “If Satan fails with the fiery darts of temptation, he will seek to destroy and discourage the Christian with the spirit of fear.” That’s what he does, the devil wants us to live with paralyzing fear.

Fear can do two things and we can react to it in two different ways. We can either run away from God like Adam and Eve, they hid in fear, but it can also drive us into the arms of God. Think of what the psalmist says in Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, then I will trust in the Lord.” That is where fear should drive us, not away from God but into the arms of God. Isn’t that what Peter is telling us in 1 Peter 5, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Peter uses a very strong verb here, cast, throw. It’s the image of the garbage collectors when they gather your garbage; they throw that garbage into the trash compacter. That’s the picture here. We are to throw our cares onto the Lord. Cast all your care upon Him. Remember that hymn we have sung at different times, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to the Lord in prayer.”

We should ask God to help us fight our fears. It’s faith or fear. Live by faith or live by fear.