Summary: We can triumph in our trials if we replace our worry with worship
Are you a worrier? If so, you’re certainly not alone. A 2015 study in Britain found that 86% of adults considered themselves to be worriers. According to that survey the average adult spent one hour and 50 minutes a day worrying, which adds up to nearly 28 days a year. I couldn’t find any similar studies that were done here in the United States, but I can’t imagine that the results would be a whole lot different. That seems to be evidenced by the fact that 40 million adults here in this country are affected by anxiety disorders and over $42 billion is spent each year treating those people.
But for those of us who are disciples of Jesus, being a worrier is a problem. Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta summarizes why in this recent Tweet:
Worry and worship cannot exist in the same space. One always displaces the other. Choose worship.
Although he didn’t word it the same way, I think that is the message Peter has for his readers, and for us, as he wraps up the letter we’ve been studying for the last 11 weeks. In many ways, the Christians of Peter’s day faced a culture that was a lot like ours in the way that it treated those who lived boldly for Jesus. So there was a lot to legitimately worry about. But Peter wrote his letter to those believers to let them know that they could triumph in their trials if they would replace their worry with worship.
Let’s read what Peter has to say about that. Although I obviously won’t have time to comment on the entire chapter in detail, I’m going to read all of 1 Peter chapter 5:
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
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.
By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. Greet one another with the kiss of love.