Let’s start by reading this passage in a variety of translations:
NRSV: 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert.
ESV: …casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful.
HCSB: casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.8 Be serious! Be alert!
This is a verse I have reflected on for a while now. Verse 7 was a memory verse for a vacation bible school I taught one year, and it just stuck with me. Here’s why: when I think about casting my cares upon the Lord, the image I have is that of standing on a pier with a fishing rod in hand, getting ready to cast my hook loaded with all my cares, burdens, anxieties upon it. The hook flies through the air and there is a large “splash!” where my burdens hit the surface of the water beneath the throne of my God. Seems simple enough, right? And then…I begin to reel it all back in. I still have the rod in my hands, and I turn the knob that pulls the line closer and closer and closer…
Over the years, I realized that to cast my cares upon the Lord, I have to throw the whole rod in the lake too. I can’t just cast and reel back in. I have to fully let go! So often we do that, cast our cares before the Lord only to pick them back up again before we move forward. Then we find ourselves stuck because of our heavy burdens.
Next, I have to remember that God truly does CARE FOR ME. In all the hurt, the disease, the death, the grief, the uncertainty I have faced in my life, God has brought me this far. Each trial I encounter I learn through the process that God is preparing me. He is demonstrating His power in my weaknesses. He has filled my life at just the right moments with people to love and embrace me physically all while He embraces my soul. I like to reflect back and describe what I see now as God’s safety net. Each time I feel myself falling, in time I am able to see God’s hand catch me. He lets me fall, and He catches me before all is lost. Even in pain and suffering, I can see that God truly does care for me.
Verse 8 is one I used to read to my students when I taught in the Christian school. Be SELF-CONTROLLED! I taught middle school students. 🙂 They did not like to be self-controlled. But, they would listen when I read scripture to them. I have this little booklet of lists of verses about each of the fruit of the Spirit, and this was #1 under SELF-CONTROL. Sober-minded, alert, serious, disciplined. All these fall into the self-controlled category. And I also struggle with self-control.
So I often read the verses in this little booklet about self-control. Here are a few more:
2 Timothy 1:7 God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.
1 Peter 4:7 Be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
Titus 2:11-12 The grace of God that brings salvation…teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
1 Peter 1: 13-15 Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled ; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is Holy, so be holy in all you do.
Self-Control is a FRUIT of the Spirit. For it to grow and ripen in our hearts and lives, we must spend TIME in the Spirit. God desires us to be in fellowship with Him, and as we are, the fruits of His Spirit, of His Love, will grow in our hearts and souls. This is not an immediate process. Just as our health is not immediate: it is a process. This is a life-long journey to spiritual and physical health and wholeness.
Lord, I praise You for Your sovereignty. In the darkest moments in my life, You are there. In the most joyous of moments, You are there. You are a mighty fortress, a place of refuge. Thank you. As I continue on this journey to cleanse this temple of Yours, may your Spirit guide me. Greatest of gardeners, cultivate Your fruit in my life. I ask for self-control, for peace, for JOY to fill me as I fight cravings for food, television, sleep, anything that is not worthy of YOU. I seek Your wisdom as I continue this journey. Guide me steps, Lord Jesus. Amen.
This link takes you to the thoughts of others as they reflect on this week’s journey through 1 Peter 5:7-8a, through #Determination, through breakthroughs and identity revelations.