Anxieties, humility, God, and Satan
"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." (1 Peter 5:6-9)
Humility is not something the world likes or promotes. But a humble person in God's eyes is a picture of a true devotion to God.
What are we to do with our anxieties over our wrong choices in our past, or our present trial or failure, or what will our life be like in the future? Such anxieties can paralyze our minds, or make them drunk with heavy thoughts and feelings. But even worse thing is that an anxiety not given over to God immediately, is really our pride saying, 'I can deal with it, I can fix it on my own'. Pride and independence of God was the first sin of our parents in the garden of Eden; and that offends our loving and caring God.
So why humble ourselves before God? Because he is stronger than us, and he cares for us. He will not take our anxieties lightly. And when we humble ourselves under God's mighty hand, at the right time he will also exalt us and lift us up to what is good for us.
So v.8 says that we need to be sober minded and not drunk and overwhelmed with our anxieties in our minds and feelings. Why? Because Satan doesn't sleep, he is seeking all the time to devour God's children with cares and anxieties. If you're anxious right now, just look at a mirror and see how devoured you look or feel by your anxious thoughts and feelings. This is Satan's tactic to sap our joy in The Lord. Though Satan can't snatch our lives from God's hands, he can make us quite miserable, joyless and restless Christians, if we're not watching and resisting him.
And how can we resist Satan? Firm in our faith, believing that only our God can carry our anxieties, because he's strong and we're not, and because he cares for us, more than we care for ourselves.
And a great part our firm faith needs to include a belief and knowing that our situation is not unique, but other brothers and sisters in Christ in our circles and around the world are going through same and similar trials, failures, problems, things, difficulties, and etc. We are not alone in this.
So, "humble yourselves, therefore...", you and I. And let's pray for our friends in Jesus to do the same, so we may walk trusting and enjoying God, and loving and enjoying each other. And in such a way we will show to others around us that we have a strong God who deeply cares for us.
Here are some questions to ask ourselves: Do I think more about myself or about God? Do I dwell on my problems more than on God's ability to work it out? Do I try to analyze and come to conclusions about things or do I bring everything to God as soon as I can? Does it feel like my anxiety is bigger than God? Philippians 4:4-7 says that when we make our anxieties known to God through prayer and thanksgiving, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. But sometimes we forget to take to heart the rest of the passage in vs.8-9 where the Holy Spirit encourages us not only to give our anxieties to God, but also positively to take our minds off of our anxieties and to fill our minds with "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.". And in this way we will not only know the peace of God in our hearts, but also we'll know the presence of God in our lives "the God of peace will be with you". Let's imitate the apostle in doing so.
Satan is seeking to devour your peace and joy in the Lord. God is seeking to care for you and carry your anxieties, and work things out for your good, and to give you peace and joy in him in the midst of them. So who will you and I choose to surrender to - to the one who devours, or to the one who cares for you? God is able, willing and gracious and he will help us to humble ourselves before him, so our hearts may not sink but be lifted up in our trials.