When we were constructing a huge church facility many years ago in the Republic of Latvia - a former Soviet nation where our family once lived and worked - worry and anxiety tried so hard to control me. In fact, worry nearly broke me until I really came to understand and embrace the meaning of First Peter 5:7.
At the time, no credit was available for building churches in that nation. This meant we had to believe for all the finances to come in quickly so we could pay cash as we constructed the massive facility. Then the local authorities gave us a deadline by which the building had to be complete and occupied; otherwise, there was a possibility we could lose everything we had invested. With this kind of pressure on me, I found myself continually worrying that we wouldn't have enough money to finish the project on time. I was constantly fighting thoughts about losing the building if we didn't make the deadline that the government had given us.
I would lie in bed at night, rolling this way and that way, turning again and again, unable to sleep because my stomach was churning with acid and my mind was spinning with doubts, worries, fears, reservations, and concerns. My heart pounded harder and harder each day and night as anxiety reached out its demonic fingers out to grab hold of my emotions and twist them into a mangled mess of panic. My wife would tell me to quit worrying and start trusting the Lord, but instead of appreciating her advice, I only got angry that she wasn't worrying with me!
Finally one night, I got up, walked down the hallway to my study, opened my Bible, and read these words: "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). I had read this verse thousands of times in my life, but that night it was as if it reached out from the pages of the Bible and grabbed hold of my attention. I read it and read it and read it again. At last, I picked up my Greek New Testament and began to dig deeper into the verse. What I discovered in that verse changed my life and set me free from worry, anxiety, fretting, and fear!
That night, I saw that the word "casting" used in First Peter 5:7 was the Greek word epiripto, a compound of the words epi and ripto. The word epi means upon, as on top of something. The word ripto means to hurl, to throw, or to cast, and it often means to violently throw or to fling something with great force.
The only other place this word epiripto is used in the New Testament is in Luke 19:35, where the Bible says, "And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus there on." It is important to note this passage, for it correctly conveys the idea of the word epiripto, which in secular literature often pictured the flinging of a garment, bag, or excess weight off the shoulders of a traveler and onto the back of some other beast, such as a donkey, camel, or horse.
We are not designed to carry the burden of worry, fretting, and anxiety. This load is simply too much for the human body and the central nervous system to tolerate. We may be able to manage it for a while, but eventually the physical body and mind will begin to break under this type of perpetual pressure. In fact, the medical world has confirmed that the major source of sickness in the Western Hemisphere is stress and pressure. Man was simply not fashioned to carry pressures, stresses, anxieties, and worries; this is the reason his body breaks down when it undergoes these negative influences for too long.
If you are struggling with sickness or depression, your condition very possibly could be related to stress and pressure. In First Peter 5:7, it is almost as if Jesus is calling out to you and saying, "Your shoulders are not big enough to carry the burdens you're trying to bear by yourself. This load will eventually break you - so please let ME be your beast of burden! Take that load and heave it with all your might. Fling it over onto MY back, and let ME carry it for you!" Just as Luke 19:35 says they cast their garments upon the back of the donkey, now you need to cast your burdens over on the Lord and let Him carry those burdens for you!
But exactly what problems and cares are we to throw over onto the shoulders of the Lord? The apostle Peter says we are to cast all of "our cares" upon Jesus. The word "cares" is the Greek word merimna, which means anxiety. However, in principle it described any affliction, difficulty, hardship, misfortune, trouble, or complicated circumstance that arises as a result of problems that develop in our lives. It could refer to problems that are financial, marital, job-related, family-related, business-oriented, or anything else that concerns us.
This means anything that causes you worry or anxiety - regardless of why it happened - is what you need to throw over onto the shoulders of Jesus Christ! Nothing is too big or small to talk to the Lord about, Peter says, because He "careth for you." The word "careth" is taken from the Greek word melei, which means to be concerned; to be thoughtful; to be interested; to be aware; to notice; or to give painful and meticulous attention. Peter uses this word to assure us that Jesus really does care about us and the things that are heavy on our hearts. In fact, He gives meticulous attention to what is happening to us. He is interested in every facet of our lives.
So don't ever let the devil tell you that your problems are too stupid, small, or insignificant to bring to Jesus. The Lord is interested in everything that concerns you!
Because of the Greek words used in First Peter 5:7, this verse carries the following idea:
"Take that heavy burden, difficulty, or challenge you are carrying - the one that has arisen due to circumstances that have created hardship and struggles in your life - and fling those worries and anxieties over onto the back of the Lord! Let Him carry them for you! The Lord is extremely interested in every facet of your life and is genuinely concerned about your welfare."
When I saw these Greek words and perceived how deeply Jesus cared about the burdens that were on my heart, I realized I was carrying a load I didn't have to bear by myself. Jesus was standing right at my side, longing to help me and inviting me to shift the weight from my shoulders to His shoulders. By faith, I heaved those financial cares onto the back of Jesus - and when I did, I was set free from the stress, anxiety, and pressure that had been weighing me down at that time in my life.
You don't have to carry the whole weight of the world by yourself. Jesus loves you so much and is so deeply concerned about you and the difficulties you are facing that He calls out to you today, "Roll those burdens over on Me. Let Me carry them for you so you can be free!"
If you are lugging around worries, cares, and concerns about your family, your business, your church, or any other area of your life, why not stop right now and say, "Jesus, I'm yielding every one of these concerns to You today. I cast my burden on You, and I thank You for setting me free!"
MY PRAYER FOR YOU TODAY
Lord, I thank You for what I've read today. I regret having carried these burdens and worries so long by myself when, in fact, You were always ready to take them from me and to carry them on my behalf. But it's never too late to do what is right, so right now I make the decision to yield to You every one of these matters that are bothering me. Thank You for coming alongside me to take these weights from my shoulders. Because You are so loving and attentive to me, I can now go free!
I pray this in Jesus' name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that Jesus is standing right at my side, yearning to help me and inviting me to shift the weight from my shoulders to His shoulders so I can go free! By faith I have already cast my cares onto Jesus. As a result, I am liberated from stress, anxiety, worries, pressures, and all the other things that have been bothering me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus' name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
Do you habitually worry and fret about certain things? What are the issues that weigh on your mind more than anything else?
Are you able to cast these cares over onto the Lord, or do you keep stirring yourself up with thoughts of fear, reigniting the fretting and the worry all over again even after you have already released those cares to the Lord?
What triggers worry, fretting, and anxiety in you? Have you noticed key words, phrases, or events when worry and fretting begin to operate inside you? Recognizing those moments may help you prevent them from reoccurring, so consider well what kinds of situations arouse these emotions in you.
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