Friday, January 25, 2008

The Foolish Pride of Worry (I Peter 5:5b-7)

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. [I Peter 5:5b-7]
Did you catch that? Peter shifts from talking about clothing ourselves with humility in our relationships one with another and shifts in verse 7 to the issue of "all" of our anxieties, telling us to cast them on God, for "he cares for you."

Why are these seemingly unrelated pieces of advice back-to-back? Seems to me that self-righteousness and pride, the exact opposite of humility, correlate with, indeed complement, our sinful tendency of holding anxiety about any and all things we struggle with in our lives.

When we're anxious about something, whether we know it or not, we exalt ourselves above God. We hold that this issue we're worried about falls in our sovereign domain, not God's. We withhold that issue from God, stubbornly clinging to it as a personal fiefdom. This is a grave insult to a holy, sovereign God who wants our submission to His sovereignty in every area of our lives, for His glory and our good.

Peter gently reminds us that God "cares for you." He doesn't want His children anxious and prideful, insisting that they can and must worry about things that are fundamentally out of their control, especially OTHER PEOPLE, and most especially OTHER BELIEVERS, which is the context Peter is writing in.

It's our sinful nature that loves worry and anxiety, especially about everybody but ourselves.

It's a sinful self importance that drives us away from trusting in Christ for our loved ones and drives us to a sinful, self-glorifying estimation of our, well, self-righteousness and our ability to will and work good things.

But our will and our working of good things is all of grace, all empowered by the Holy Spirit! Man, oh man, how often have I missed the mark on this?

Lord, thank you for your Word and the correction that comes from it. I repent of the sin of anxiety, of hoarding up and reveling in anxiety about things and relationships and people that I can't and shouldn't control. Lord, you're sovereign over all. I trust in you for my salvation and my life on this earth, help me to trust you in every facet of this life. I believe, help now my unbelief. In Jesus's name, Amen.



Laura January 29, 2008 at 11:29 AM  

We often see worry or anxiety as the sin. Perhaps that's not the case. Perhaps worry is the symptom of the sin, pointing to the greater issue of self-idolatry, pride that we would know something better, or know how to do something better than God. Could it be then, that all sins that we see really point back to a root sin of pride?

Anonymous,  June 24, 2010 at 3:07 PM  

Thank you for this word. First time I heard that worry was pride turned sideways was at commencement at the Salvation Army College for Officer Training. I googled "pride" and "worry" and your blog came up and it brought tears to my eyes for I am convicted. My God bless you in your writing ministry.

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