We live in an anxious world. Whether it’s the threat of terrorism, the turbulence of racial tension, the isolation of COVID-19, or the overstimulation of screen life, anxiety levels are extremely high. And there often seems no escape from it. Troubled emotions can follow us in every situation. They can create an emotional slant that affects every situation we face.
Peter wrote to an anxious society as well. His readers were seen as “exiles” in their world. He wrote about persecution and relational upheaval. The people may not have been dealing with social media or COVID-19, but they still had anxieties and worries.
They also experienced tension between age groups. In the final chapter of 1 Peter, the writer addressed the “elders” and the “younger” people in this church. Apparently, there was a division among them, which was exacerbated by the greater tension in their world surrounded by the danger of religious oppression.
It was within this context that Peter penned 1 Peter 5:6–7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (NIV).
In this section of Scripture, Peter gave us two wonderful directives by which to live.
Alter Your Attitude
Apparently, a significant amount of the tension these believers were experiencing came directly from their own personal perspectives. They, like many of us, thought too much of themselves. They placed their needs and desires above the needs and desires of others. It is easy to understand, really. When we are young, it is difficult to put ourselves in the place of someone older. When we are aged, it is very easy to forget what it was like to be young.
The only answer to this problem is one of humility. We must each decide to intentionally alter our attitude. And not just any attitude, mind you. We must alter our attitude about ourselves. We must intentionally seek to take ourselves off the pedestal and throne of our own minds.
How in the world are we supposed to do that?
Peter made it clear. We will be able to alter our attitude when we recognize some truths about the God we serve. Let us look at three important things we need to remember about God. Help yourself remember these three things by using the phrase “under mighty up.”
We exist under God’s hand. With that in mind, it demands the recognition that He is over us. And just as we are under God, so is every other human with which we interact each day. Being reminded each day that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is over us can be such an encouragement. Take joy in His placement, which can remind us of our own placement. This can help us “alter our attitude” in the greatest of ways.
His hand is mighty. The Greek word translated as “mighty” here is krataios. This word is only used once in the New Testament. When this happens, we can surmise there is some special reason why this particular word is being used.
The word krataios is a powerful word. It denotes a God who is dominating, supreme, and masterful. He most certainly is one with an unmatched dominion—and this should give us hope.
Because we are under the mighty hand of God, we can rest easy knowing that we are safe. We are secure. We don’t have to take up our own battles or represent ourselves in eternal things. Nothing can thwart His will. Nothing can separate us from Him. Nothing can stand in the way of the promises we receive from Him.
We can alter our attitude as our trust in God increases. We are safe in His embrace. As the Scripture says elsewhere, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NIV).
He will lift us up in due time. That’s right. We can trust the God who is over us to use His mighty hand to do all the lifting our lives need. We do not have to represent ourselves or climb ladders over others, because when the time is right, God will elevate us in His way.
This is worth celebrating!
Avert Your Anxiety
To avert is to “turn aside” or to “push away.” Because of all that we have learned about God from verse seven, we can now avert our anxiety away from ourselves and onto the God who has the mighty hand. And all this is ultimately true because the powerful God genuinely cares for us.
Anxiety can be used as a litmus test for our own trust in God. The more we worry, distress, and try to control our own lives, the less we may trust the mighty hand of God who is over us.
Set your goal this week to “alter your attitude,” and as you humble yourself, celebrate freedom as you “avert your anxiety” from yourself to the powerful, Almighty God.
Dr. Brad Henson has served as a church planter in Kentucky. He is also a very thankful husband and father; he and his wife of 26 years, Stephanie, have two teenage sons, Bradon and Jackson.