Two Ways the Devil Wants to Devour You
Good morning, guys. It’s good to see you. I want to invite you to open your Bibles to 1 Peter chapter five verses five to nine. That’s what we’re going to be today. We’re just going to look at those four verses. 1 Peter chapter five is picking up in … or actually I’m going to pick up in verse eight, nine and go backwards from five, six and seven.
While you join us, if you want sermon notes, we do have some at the resource tent, or you can download the Alpine Bible Church App and click on the word Notes. You’ll see sermon notes there as well related to today’s message.
I do want to say as a church family, I know some of us, if you’re aware, just some of the things that have happened among our family. We do things together as a family in the cause of Christ. We’ve been praying for the Ordonez family. It’s good to see you guys today all together here in person. Appreciate what the Lord has on your life. Thank God that you’re here today together. It’s good to see your faces.
As we think about today’s message, when we go into 1 Peter chapter five, I want to give us just a crude outline to this section of scripture we’ve been in together, this letter that Peter’s written. We’ve talked about this pretty regularly that this letter is written in the midst of persecution. Peter wants the church not only just to survive persecution, but to really come out stronger because of it. Jesus has this way in the midst of trials to refine us in our faith and following after him. Just because you’re going through difficult things, doesn’t mean you need to put the Pause button, wait on all those things to pass before you start living for Jesus again.
In fact, during those hard times is, I would say, most especially where we might find ourselves closer to Christ than in any other connected to God. Because of those adverses, we see God’s face in hardship really more than any other time in our lives. I’m not saying that that’s the way it should be. It just happens to be as people, that’s the way that we find ourselves that we become more aware of our needs when we face difficult circumstances in life.
Peter’s writing this letter to a persecuted church and what we would call modern day Turkey, and living for the Lord. When you look at this book, chapter one starts out the identity of God and in light of the identity of God. Chapter two and three tells us how we should see ourselves because of who God is. God is the one that gives us purpose, worth, meaning, and value in life. He tells us in chapter two, he gives us a beautiful identity that you are a royal priesthood in the Lord, that all of us have this connection that we’re created for in God, and we find our purpose, value, and meaning in that relationship through him. We live in light of who God is, or at least we should.
What’s interesting for us as human beings is we’re created as worship beings. We’ll find our identity in something and if it’s not in God, whatever we find our identity in it will leave us empty and searching for more. You may find joy in something momentarily, but over time, that joy will die. What we find in that is that we’re really ultimately created to find our purpose, value, meaning in God.
In chapter two to three, he does that for us, beautiful, the way he describes it. Because when you get to chapter three, he starts talking to particular individuals. The end of chapter two, end of chapter three, he talks to particular individuals that we might look at in first century society and say, “These are oppressed people.” But in that oppression, he shows where they can find their identity and voice in the Lord that they can still be a light that your position in life doesn’t determine your usefulness in Christ. It’s all about influence. Leadership is about influence. Making a difference is about influence, and all of us have a place in life to influence others, and therefore, all of us have a place to make a difference. It doesn’t matter your position, God has called all of us to be a light for him.
Then when you get to chapter four and five, he talks about this perseverance in adversity. Now that we find out who God is, we find our identity in him, the opportunity to be a light for him. Then he talks about perseverance in adversity. That’s where we get to at the end of chapter five, the last section of this letter that Peter wrote.
Now I want to say this to us, let me encourage you this way. When you read these epistles in the New Testament, it’s important to remember these are letters. We’ve been going through this just a few verses at a time, chunking this out to understand it, diving deeper in the section of scripture. But what’s healthy for us to do is when we pick up the epistles is to read them like they’re a letter. To start from beginning to the end and see it as one continuous thought. Today, we’re going to look at this particular section in chapter five. It’s this dinner conversations section that we often have together. I mean, it says, “The devil wants to devour you.” How often do you have that conversation?
Let’s talk about something positive, all things going on. The devil wants to devour. That’s what Peter says, “The devil wants to devour you.” That’s a pretty sobering thought to think about. Now, I want us to know that this isn’t something that should strike fear into our hearts because you live for a greater power and authority in the Lord. Okay. He says, “The devil has no more dominion over you. God permits him. God has already conquered the sin, Satan, and death. Jesus has already been victorious over it all, and you belong to Him.” While it’s important to just consider the thought that the devil wants to devour, it’s also important for us to consider where we are in Jesus in light of this and how to live in light of that in the world. The devil wants to devour you.
1 Peter chapter five verses eight, nine, I want to pick up there just to see the significance of this section of scripture to make some points about that phrase, “The devil wants to devour you.” Before we talk about the particular ways he wants to do that and how to find ourselves strengthened in the Lord rather than focused on the devil. Verse eight he says this, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
Remember that. You look at a section like this. It’s definitely clear what Peter saying here, the devil wants to devour you, talking to a first century church. He wants them to persevere in the adversity. He’s just giving this recognition. There’s a few ways I want to respond to this for just a moment, we think about this passage. One is some people approach attacks like this. They do so in an unhealthy sense. We want to talk about the healthy sense. But let me just say this about the unhealthy sense. Somebody will approach a text like this and they obsess about the devil. It’s the people that just play skittish over everything. They look for the devil in anything. They think the objective of life is about identifying the devil and then freaking out about the devil and putting up all your defenses against the devil and trying to spend your life hiding from the devil. But that’s not what God calls us to. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but of power of love and a sound mind.
The whole point of life isn’t just to simply walk in fear with the devil. That’s not what Peter’s bringing this up for. Peter is not saying, “Okay, there’s a devil, guys, everyone be afraid. Look, he’s roaming like a lion. He’s going to devour you. Everyone live in fear.” That’s not what Peter’s after here. In one sense, you can obsess about the devil. That’s not what we want to do. The other sense, some people just like to pretend like there is no spiritual life. When you look in terms of the devil in scripture, there’s some pretty intimidating terms use for the devil, the prince to the power of the air, the god of this world, the accuser, the deceiver, the dragon, the serpent, the lion. Those are some pretty intimidating words.
Some people, I think, maybe even in response to those that just get overly obsessive about people that focus on the devil that just want to cast the demons out in every scenario that they’re in. There’s the other extreme that just simply says, “I’m just going to pretend like it doesn’t exist,” or “I’m just going to say it doesn’t exist, act like it doesn’t exist.” I want us to approach this text with neither of those attitudes. Because I don’t think that’s the attitude that Peter wants us to carry here. Rather, what I think Peter wants us to do is to be biblical, and to live in the reality of what he’s saying about the devil. Meaning, there is God’s kingdom and then there is what opposes God’s kingdom. Satan is seen as the leader of this.
How do we approach this biblically? Well, let me just say this. When we think about the devil … Here’s what we often picture in our mind is, we like to have this idea of the devil is going to show up and he’s going to say, “Kill, steal and destroy, and here are my horns and look at my pitchfork and be afraid.” When you look at this text of scripture, that’s certainly what the devil is trying to portray. What Peter is saying here, he says, “The devil roars around like a lion.” He isn’t a lion. He wants to appear like a lion. But we know the lion. The lion is at the tribe of Judah. He’s Jesus. But the devil wants to puff his chest. He wants to roar like a lion. He wants to intimidate you that way. But this lion can be put on a leash.
But when we think about this lion, I love the imagery of this because oftentimes when we think about the devil when we think, okay, the devil’s got pitchforks and horns and I just need to avoid that. Well, the idea of a lion paints a different idea of his tactics. Of course, if you see a lion coming, you’re going to get out of way. You’re not going to stay in its path. But what makes a lion so effective isn’t that he just announces, “Hey, I’m coming to eat you.” What makes the lion so effective is that he’s subtle in his approach towards his prey. To be honest, that’s the same way the Bible paints the picture about Satan.
In fact, in Second Corinthians chapter 11 verse 14, it says, “He appears as an angel of light.” Meaning what he wants you to think about him, “This is no big deal. Satan’s not that bad.” Just turn down the spiritual temperature of seeking after the Lord with your life. Just half heartedly do that. Satan’s tactics aren’t in your face. Satan’s tactics are much more subtle than that. He’s wiser than that. He moves around like a lion. You don’t know where he’s coming from. Now, you can hear that and become fearful of that and may think your objective is to just look out for Satan everywhere you go. Or you can just pretend he’s not there. Or you can approach it the way that Peter describes here in 1 Peter chapter five, “Because there is a way this lion can be put on a leash, because the truth is, he’s not a real lion. He just pretends to be like a lion. The real lion, you belong to.”
Peter wants to encourage us in this way and understanding how to live in light of who Christ is knowing that Satan lives contrary to that kingdom. The question for us is, “How does the devil want to devour us? In verse nine, Peter’s already given a hint to this. He says, “But resist him.” How do you resist him? It’s not by simply sitting here and saying, “I resist you, lion.” But he gives the next phrase. He says, “Firm in your faith. There is a path to pursue that’s in line with Satan, and there’s a path to pursue that’s in line with Jesus. When we walk in light of who Christ is, we live in a way that avoids the devouring of the devil. Not only that, is a beautiful, successful light, in light of who Christ is in this world around us. It makes a difference.” This is what Peter’s after.
How does the devil want to devour you? Well, look in verse five and six with me. Remember, last week, we talked about the idea of leadership and, and the need for godly leadership and godly leadership leads a flock it doesn’t stand behind and drive a flock. It’s this godly example. It walks with a certain level of humility. Well, in this verse, now Peter turns around and looks into the congregation and he says this in verse five, “You younger man, likewise,” Just like he said to the leadership previous to this. “Be submissive to your elders, and all of you, clothe yourself with humility toward one another.” He’s very much thing in terms of this elder we talked about last week is this position of pastor or even bishop or overseer, it’s all the same word in the New Testament for leadership. A pastor in New Testament terms is an elder, is a bishop, is an overseer. It’s all the same word used in the New Testament.
But in this verse, now Peter is more talking about the elders being the older generation. The reason it uses the term elders for leadership in the church is because elders tend to be of the older generation. There’s wisdom that comes with age. He’s telling the young people, young people run a lot of times with energy and think that they always know what they’re talking about. Not all of you. I know but not our church. We got some wonderful young people here. But he’s just saying to that young man that just leaps out into things. Now, there’s a proper place of respect for God’s people. He talks to the older people. He talks to the younger generations. He’s saying, “In all of this, walk with humility.” Here’s what he’s getting at, because Satan really wants to rip you apart.
I mean, God’s primary objective … excuse me, not the Lord. Satan, that’s just a primary objective. If he can get the church disunified, create division, and he really takes away the effectiveness of our efforts in a community, a life for Jesus. Peter’s approached us and saying, “Look, when things get difficult in your life, and you tend to face adversity,” I mean, even days like today, when you’re not in the heat for any prolonged period of time, maybe, maybe you might just get a little crabby, and maybe that irritation just rubs off with other people. Same thing is true when go through this adversity in life. Maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but there’s this low-lying irritation that just continues on and after a while that irritation comes to the surface. It really affects the relationships around you.
This is what Peter’s recognizing for the church when they go through hardship. 2020 has been a very polarizing year. There are a lot of topics that we could choose to plant our flags over and create division in the body of Christ. But I can say for us as a congregation, one of the beautiful things that I think we’ve experienced over this year, as I think we’ve continued to walk in unity.
There are things this year and you can have opinions on different things that happen, but not to the point that we allow it to create division over the greater cause for which we exist in Jesus. God calls us not to a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. When we read this verse, what is saying to you, “The devil, he wants to devour you through pride.” That’s the blank in the notes. Look in verse six, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you a proper time.” God oppose to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. What he’s saying is this, pride is the enemy of intimacy. But humility builds the bridge for relationship. God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.
The primary reason God created you is to know Him and delight in Him for all of eternity. God created you for relationship. That’s why Jesus said the greatest commandment love God, love others. It’s not about what you’re doing. It’s about who you’re becoming in him. It’s about that relationship. God made you for a relationship, and when you’re connected to God in a healthy way, the beauty of that relationship is made known in your relationship with others. Because when you live in light of who God is, you love what God loves. What God loves his people, because God gave His life that we may know Him. He says, “God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.” His prescription to the way Satan wants to work. Satan wants to devour you through pride, God’s prescription is to humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.
He acknowledges us in verse nine, this is an act of faith. Resist the devil and stand in the faith, stand strong in the faith. To humble yourself under the mighty hand of God is to acknowledge that it’s no longer me in control, but it’s him in control. It’s not about me making much of me, pride is antithetical to grace. Pride is all about self. Pride is about self autonomy from God and others. It’s about using other people just to simply leverage your glory. That could even be God. What he’s acknowledging for us is this idea of humility, which is letting go of self to see the glory of God made known in your life.
A lack of humility for us becomes the tool that Satan uses not only to harm our lives, but to harm God’s people. Let me give you three reasons real quick why humility is important. I’ve alluded to all of these. One is it frees you when you walk with God. Humility frees you in your walk with God, because it’s finally a place where you lay yourself down, to draw near to Him, to call Him King, to recognize that you’re not Lord, he’s Lord.
In the book of Genesis, something interesting happens in Genesis. It’s very subtle. When you read Genesis, first three chapters, chapter one, it goes through all of creation. You guys are probably familiar with it, God created in six days, on the seventh day rest. When it describes that to us that says, “God created and there was morning and evening in the first day, morning, evening, second day, goes on and on. In chapter two, starting in verse four, something interesting happens. Because in chapter two verse four, this is where it gets a little bit more specific in the creation of humanity. It’s when it tells us that God forms us from the earth, and he breathes into us the breath of life. But what’s interesting in this chapter is when it refers to God knowing … it no longer just as God. In chapter two verse four, when it starts to talk about the intimacy of creating humankind in his image, what it says is, it says, “the Lord God, the Lord God formed you from the dust of the earth and breathed into your nostrils the breath of life.”
No longer just refer to God as God. It now talks about him as Lord God. What’s important about that is it’s beginning to acknowledge that he’s not just this idea of distant God who created everything. But now he’s personal God who’s connected us in relationship and him being made in His image. Now he is Lord of our lives that we acknowledge it’s not about us, but it’s about His glory in this world, and we walk in humility before our king, then we live in light of that in this world. We find our purpose not in ourselves, but we find our purpose in Him. It’s about acknowledging, Lord God.
But here’s what happens again, when you get to chapter three, who enters into the Garden of Eden? Satan. Chapter three starts off with Satan entering into the Garden of Eden. You know what Satan does, verse one? It begins to open up with Satan speaking to us. Satan says, “Has God really said that?” What I’ve been really recognizing, all of a sudden this phrase “Lord God,” it loses the word, “Lord,” and then it goes back to just referring to God as God. Impersonal again, and Eve buys into it. Eve, when she starts to refer to God, no longer uses that word “Lord.” She just simply says, “Yeah, God.”
The point is this that in this garden what Satan is using as a subtle tactic, he’s not coming in saying, “Look, Eve, I’m here to kill, steal and destroy.” All he’s attempting to do is begin to pervert the truth and bring God down to each level. “Has God really said, Eve? Don’t you know better than God? Do you think God’s really looking out for you, or God hiding his best from you?” Eve begins to believe a lie. Then losing that humility before the Lord, what happens? Still kill and destroy.
Satan doesn’t have to come into our lives and teach us these horrendous things. All Satan has to do is begin to pervert the truth and we’ll take care of the rest. What Peter is saying is, “Look, when adversity rises up against you, this is the time that we often want to take the reins from God not trusting him and trust in our flesh.” Rather than carry humility towards one another, and assuming the best for each other, and looking out for each other, we start living life for ourselves.
When we do that, we become an island to ourselves and it becomes about our self autonomy, and we begin to push people away. That begins in our relationship with God. We no longer see Him as Lord God, but rather he’s just simply God, something distant from us. But Peter is saying the way that you put this fake lion on the leash is to keep the real line on the throne, because in your life, you will make a God of something. You’re created as a worship being you will look for your value and worth and meaning in something. Why don’t make it the one who cares for you?
See, he says to us, “It frees us in our walk with God. In addition to that, it frees you really from the comparison game.” Because when you don’t make God, God, where do you go to find your worth and value? Where do you go to find your mean? I’ll tell you where we tend to go as people. We look at everyone else around us. We can do this with anything. They have nicer things. I deserve nicer things. Their kids are this way. My kids need to be this way. Their marriage looks like this. My marriage needs to look like this. But guys can I tell you, God doesn’t call your marriage to look like other people’s marriage. God doesn’t call your kids to look like other people’s kids. God calls you to be who he wants you to be not who other people tell you to be.
I’m a father of a handful of kids and something I’ve learned over the years, every kid’s different. No matter how much people want to pretend to be an expert on raising kids, no one’s an expert raising kids. If you believe that, just have another kid. As soon as you think you get one figured out, you get another one. I think the Lord does that to keep you humble. No one’s an expert. When you start comparing your family to other families, God doesn’t call you to be them because God didn’t make your children like the children you might compare your children to, or God didn’t make your spouse like the spouse you might compare your spouse to. God didn’t make you like the other people who may compare yourself to.
You know what God wants you to do? To be who he called you to be. You know God wants for your kids? To be who he is called him to be the way that he’s gifted them to be in this world. Same thing with your spouse. The question for us isn’t how can I be like other people in comparison? The question is, what is Jesus want for my family? What does Jesus want for me? Pride will have me playing the comparison game and completely lose sight of Jesus. What God calls us to is to walk humbly with him wherever we are as a family.
I know sometimes we expect that in our lives, we need to put our pressure on ourselves to get to a certain place, at a certain time, but let me just give you this little thought for a minute that your direction determines your destination. Your direction determines your destination. What I mean is this, sometimes when we grow in our relationship with God, sometimes things move quickly, and sometimes they move a little slower. But what’s important in all of those things is who sits on the throne of your life. Because as long as Jesus is on that throne, you’re going to continue to move forward if we would walk humbly before Him.
Walking in humility it frees us in our walk with God. It frees us from the comparison game. Third, it blesses relationships. It blesses relationships. When you think about the way scripture talks about Satan, just listen to these verses for a minute. Ephesians chapter four verse 26, it says, “Be angry and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give the devil an opportunity.” What is recognizing in our life, look, when we’re in control of everything, we tend to get angry when we can’t control the way we want because we’re supposed to be in charge, and life is about us. If everyone would do just what I want them to do, then everything would go well. That’s how we tend to see it.
In James chapter four, he asked the question, “Do you know what causes the destruction around you?” We’re supposed to be able to answer it and say, “Yes, everyone that doesn’t do what I want them to do.” He says, “No, it’s the anger inside of you, because you think you’re in control. It’s our pride that wells up, that destroys.” He’s saying the same thing in Ephesians chapter four verse 26 and 27. “Do not give place to the devil, that anger will hurt.” In First Timothy chapter three verse six, when he talks about leadership, it says, “Don’t appoint a new convert in the leadership so that he will not become conceited or prideful and fall into the condemnation and cured by the devil. He must be well thought of by outsiders.” What he’s saying is if you point someone to a leadership position too soon, what’s going to happen is they’re going to think that it’s because there’s something great, not because of what the Lord’s doing in their lives. They’re going to become conceited, and give that foothold to the devil because they’re going to make life about them.
It’s not about us. It’s about his goodness. Here’s what happens when we walk in humility, it blesses relationship. Emerson Eggerichs wrote the book Love & Respect. Really, the book culminates in one major idea. He’s talking about this book, Love & Respect, is about marriage. In Ephesians, the end of chapter four of Ephesians or chapter five, it talks about marital relationships. It says “To the husband, love your wife, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” It says to the wife, “Wife, respect your husband.” Emerson in his book says this, he talks about what is the crazy cycle in the book and he says, “When a wife doesn’t have love, then she won’t respect her husband. When a husband doesn’t have respect, he won’t love his wife,” or at least flesh, that’s how we tend to respond.
What happens in that one, when a wife is not loved, she doesn’t react and respect. When a husband isn’t respected, he doesn’t react in love. This crazy cycle begins. It goes on and on and on, and they just tear each other apart because they’re not getting what they want from the other person. That crazy cycle will not stop until one person does one thing, humbles themselves. Humble themselves and they start putting themselves first, and they look after the interest of the other.
In fact, in those moments where they’re facing that tension without love or respect, a husband may come to the wife and say, “Look, Honey, what you said felt disrespectful. Is there something I did to you that made you feel unloved?” Humbles himself. We walk in that kind of humility, it blesses relationship. It starts with our relationship with God, in which we find the health of our relationship in the Lord and not in comparison game. Then in the end, it blesses relationship with others.
You know one of the things I love in scripture, as you come to a verse like this, and you read this statement, “Humble yourself into the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.” It’s a beautiful passage of scripture. If you say to yourself, “Okay, I want to find an example in the Bible for me to follow in order to live this out, who can I look to?” When you look in the Bible for examples, that what you find is there’s a lot of bad examples, like who can be your example in this. You think, “Okay, we’re going to walk humble and have the perfect family, perfect marriage, perfect kids, who can I look at in scripture?”
I mean, where do you start? When you go to Adam and Eve, you look at Adam and Eve, and what happens to Adam and Eve? Well, the very first problem they have in the Garden of Eden, what do they do? They immediately blame each other. Then right after that, their kids kill each other. You look at David or Moses or Abraham, I mean, just example after example of just bad things happening where God says walk in humility. But even God’s leaders, the ones that we herald in scripture, don’t even have the best examples for us to follow.
This is what it says to me. We be gracious to each other in this, because we’re not perfect, and no one in the Bible is. There’s a little bit of comfort to that. We see a verse like this that encourages our lives. But when we look at two different individuals that have lived previous to us we can find skeletons in the closet very easily. I’m not approaching a text like this, like I’m some expert trying to tell everyone else what to do, because I do it better than anyone. I’m not doing that at all.
I’m coming to a text like this realizing that throughout the centuries, there have been individuals that have recognized verses like this, but their lives haven’t always been aligned with it. For us to live this out, we need to do this. Not only humble and submission to God, but continue to be humble and gracious, humble and gracious towards one another because none of us are perfect. But this is what puts the fake line on the leash so that we can live in light with the real line.
Number two, says, two ways the devil wants to devour us. Number one, the devil devours you through pride. God’s prescription, humble yourselves under His mighty hand. Number two, the devil wants to devour you through anxiety. Look in verse seven. He says, cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Cast your anxiety in Him because He cares for you. The devil wants to devour you through anxiety. Now, I know some of us may be too proud to admit and say, “I’m not a person that gets anxiety.”
But I think truthfully anxiety pops up in different ways. There’s not just one way to describe anxiety. Anxiety comes in different ways. You can have stress, preoccupation, burden, depression, obsession. I mean, anxiety can present itself in different ways. It’s not just to fixate on just the idea of whatever you think anxiety is, but we can start to receive anxiety in different ways in our lives. I think it’s important to say, “Look, there’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help in anxiety. I’m not here to put that down.
What I do want to acknowledge as we look at this passage is there is a spiritual component to anxiety. It’s important to recognize how it fits in light of what God is saying in this passage. I’m not a professional counselor. I’m not a therapist. I just want to look at this passage in light of what Peter is saying, and how it impacts our relationship with God. What Peter is saying for us, He gives us a lens into the particular type of anxiety. I think one of the ways we can look at it here is, in some ways, it’s the opposite of pride and in other ways, it’s directly connected this word. Let me tell you what I mean. The word anxiety here means unraveling. Okay. If you think of a proud person, a proud person just sees themselves as this self autonomous, got it all together, don’t need help from anybody. Look at me, I’m God kind of individual. That’s really the driving force behind pride. It’s all about them.
Anxiety comes in that place where you start to lose grip, everything becomes unraveled. Maybe you’re at a place of pride. But now because you’ve been humbled in your position, you don’t know what to trust in, because all you trust in before was yourself. Now you don’t know what to do. In that type of attitude, you start to get anxious. But here’s where I say, “Okay, the antithesis of pride in this sense, but I also want to acknowledge that in some ways, it’s a lot like pride.” Here’s why. When you look at this passage of scripture, verse seven says, “Casting all your anxieties on him.” Casting all your anxiety on him. The previous verse is, “Humble yourselves.”
Here’s what’s important in this text, Peter is actually tying these two verses together. In fact, he’s tying this whole thing together. These aren’t just separate thoughts. He wants us to all see how Satan uses these phrases to devour us. Verse seven, this word casting actually modifies the phrase “Humble yourself.” What he’s saying is this anxiety is not disconnected from pride. In fact, the reason that we find ourselves in this anxiety that Peter is referring to, is because of our pride, is because we trusted himself and now we’ve lost what to trust in because now everything’s becoming unraveled.
Let me give it to us this way. Sometimes I’ll hear people say this as a pastor, “I just don’t love myself enough. If I just love myself more, everything would be okay. I don’t love myself enough.” Sometimes I don’t like to be this blunt over things. But at some point, sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. There are times in life where people say, “I just don’t love myself enough.” Where honestly the answer is, the problem is that you don’t love yourself enough. The problem is that you love yourself too much. You think the answer is within you. But as a human being, you’re never created to find the purpose of life within you, because you weren’t created for you. God made you for his purpose. It’s not until you lose your life that you’re going to find Him. That’s what Jesus said. It’s not until you surrender your life that you’re actually going to live for the very reason which you were created to live.
Peter wants us to recognize there are times where we think that we’re all in control, and then all of a sudden we lose that control, and then we go reeling, and our spirit gets anxious. Here’s his answer. Cast all your curse on him. Cast all your cures on him. Now we hear that phrase, his prescription for us, when I think, well, that seems so simplistic. Does God really not care for me that he’s going to come to me in the midst of my trouble and all he’s going to say to me is cast all my cares on him? Well, the reason he says that isn’t simply because he just wants to treat your situation, your problem as if it’s some circumstance he doesn’t care for. In fact, the very next phrase, I think, is the place that we need to center our anxiety because he says, “Cast your cares on him.” Look at this, “Because he cares for you.” That’s where your soul finds rest.
I can’t help but think today in our own lives how much easier, how much better life would be with us if we look back at some of the decisions we made, if we just believe that phrase, “He cares for you.” He cares for you more than you care for yourself, that’s how much he cares for you. He loves you more than anyone has ever loved you. That’s how much he loves you. Cast your cares on him. Why? Why? I mean, he’s big God, and I’m just here. I don’t want to bother God with my problems. As if Peter says to us in a very gentle spirit, and this is why when you talk about terms of anxiety, because I think this is what’s important. When you look at a person who is proud, you certainly need humbled.
But when you’re looking at a person who’s suffering and anxiety, look, we’re not coming to beat people over the head. Those circumstances, we’ve lifted up. It may be that we’ve sought the answer within ourselves, that may be true. But in the brokenness of our moment, what we need is to be loved and cared for. Community, we’re created to connect. We’re created to belong. That’s exactly what Peter’s saying and those moments. You belong to Him. He cares for you.
We think in terms of the way Satan wants to devour us, two ways that he gets our eyes off of the true lion. Two ways, one is pride and the other is anxiety. God’s solution really in both of those circumstance has to do with humility. Surrendering yourselves to Him. Why? Because he cares for you. God is for you. God wants His best for you. Now it may not be what your picture is, but it says this, “He will exalt you in due time.” That’s what’s important to recognize is that it’s not you exalting yourself. We don’t humble ourselves so that we can exalt ourselves with the things that we want to tell God to give us.
Rather, it’s him that exalts us in the way that he has created us. This is what Peter says in verse nine, “Resist him, firm in your faith.” That’s what firm in the faith is. We’re putting this lion on the leash that is Satan, in order to live to the true lion by walking in what the faith is all about, which is humbleness before our king that we can find ourselves exalting him, resisting Satan, and letting go of the things that we’re concerned about, because He cares for you.
Now, I want us to know, as we close here, that this passage is not saying to us that you will completely get rid of anxiety. That’s not what I’m arguing for today. If you just do this, you just take this solution and all of a sudden your anxiety is going to be gone forever. That’s not what Peter’s arguing here. In fact, this is a verse that we need to learn to live in every day that any moment you can take back the throne from God. At any moment, there comes a circumstance that you might get anxious about. Peter’s not arguing for us that all of it will be gone away with.
In fact, in the book of Psalms, in chapter 56 and verse 8, it says this of God, “You have kept count of my tossings, but my tears are in your bottle. Are they not in your book? What David is acknowledging is in those sleepless nights when he’s tossing, God still counts them, he knows he’s aware of that, and all of the hardship that we go through and the tears that we shed, God stores it up in a bottle. God’s going to reconcile it all. God will exalt you one day in a way, whether it’s an eternity, or here on Earth, you will be exalted in Christ. But doesn’t mean all anxiety goes away. Doesn’t mean the struggle goes away. But it doesn’t mean for us that we need to walk in light of the true lion.
As I thought about this, one of the stories in scripture that was I think something that I could relate to as an example is this story of Moses. Because remember the story of Moses in chapter two and chapter three of Exodus, Moses is picked as this … seen as this deliverer for Israel. Here’s what Moses thought in chapter two. Moses really thought he was the Savior without God. Moses, what does he do? He aligns himself with his people though he grows up in Pharaoh’s household. He wants to relate to the Jewish people. One day, he goes out, and he sees this Egyptian being difficult on his people. He goes in and kills the Egyptian.
The next day he sees two of his own people fighting. He goes in and steps in the middle of a fight. They say, “Moses, what are you going to do, kill us like you killed the Egyptian?” Moses realized that the people rejected him as the Savior, and that his life was on the line and pharaoh can hunt him down. When he was proud in himself and thought he was something glorious, Moses has to run for his life and he goes to Midian and he’s there for 40 years, for 40 years. For 40 years, he struggled because he thought it was this deliverer for Israel. He thought he was this called person from God. All of a sudden, he finds himself abandoned by his own people. He finds himself lost and wondering. No doubt his spirit is probably anxious.
In chapter three, what do we find out? God shows up in the burning bush. Moses who once was this proud person becomes this anxious person. When God tells him, “Look, Moses, I want you to go back, and I want you to go before Pharaoh and say let my people go.” Do you know what Moses, his question is? Who am I? Who am I? When we get anxious, we tend to ask the question that way, don’t we? God, I see what you’re saying that you care for us, but God, who am I? You know what God says, chapter three of Exodus? Moses, the question isn’t who are you? Moses, the question is, who am I? That’s where we’re introduced into the great I am, this glorious God that we can cast our curse to.
I think in that story when Moses finally loses himself and grabs a hold of the identity of who God is and reshapes his life in that identity, and God uses him tremendously as the people around them. That’s not to say we’re the experts of this, because for all of us as we walk this path in life, it’s a struggle. But it’s about trusting in the one who is King of Kings and Lord of lords, because He cares for you.
This message has been brought to you by Alpine Bible Church in Lehi, Utah. If you’d like more information, please visit us online at alpinebible.com.