Driven to drink We all know 1 Peter 5 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. It’s a great verse, a wonderful promise. Can we do it? Can we put it into practice? That term “anxiety” is potent. It means a whole lot more than just that vague uneasy feeling something’s not right. The Greek word means something that eats away at you over time. One dictionary says it is something that people lose sleep over, something that drives people to try to dull the worry through alcohol or other forms of escapism. After the hangover is gone, the problem is still there, and the anxiety is back with a vengeance. And take a look at one cause of anxiety. God said in the verses right before: 5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, You can just picture it because it happens today. This was in a church setting but it is also true in wider society. Young men have to be subject to the older men, the ones in charge, the elders in the church. That goes completely opposite to the instincts of many. You can just see the minds working: “That’s an old man. What does he know about real life today? Can I trust his instruction? Can I trust him to tell me what to do?” We see that being worked out in the unrest in cities around the world today. Young people want to reject the advice, the counsel, of their elders, and so are doomed to repeat the mistakes their elders made or learned from. Solomon pleaded with his son in Proverbs 1: 8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; He kept saying that throughout the book of Proverbs. Did Rehoboam listen? You know what happened. Rehoboam needed to tell the people what kind of a king he would be. Instead of listening to his father’s advisors who had a lifetime of experience and wisdom behind what they said, he listened to his friends’ advice. And lost the kingdom. So people have this innate dislike of someone telling them what to do, especially if they think they are better than the one telling them what to do. That’s why God makes a big deal of this. He says and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. You see, submitting to someone else takes humility. It’s pride that says “I don’t need to listen to him. I know better.” It can also lead to anxiety. Can we really trust the advice of these others? The short answer is to check them out. 1 John 4: 1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; Listen to what they say. Do they have a real, living relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Are they proclaiming the real Gospel, or is it something they make up as they go along? And remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7: 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Look at the fruit they produce. In their lives, in what they say, in what they do, and especially in the lives of those they work with. Are they producing the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23? Are they producing Godly disciples that God describes in 2 Timothy 2:2? Back to anxiety. We tend to get bent out of shape when we have to submit to someone else’s rules. It can lead to lost sleep, we may try to find ways to escape it or fight it. God says we should not try to carry that load ourselves. We need to cast all those problems, those things that we lose sleep over, onto Him. Any time that we start getting worried about something, just tell God “This is a problem I’m having, something I’m worried about. You have said You are in charge of all things and that You will work all things out for Your glory and for my good. I cast this anxiety onto You. I trust You to take care of it. I am putting it into Your hands.” Sure, satan will try to load it back onto us. He’s good at that. He wants us to feel that we are the masters of our lives. When that happens, we just need to treat it like we treat guilt over sins. We have confessed those, God has forgiven us, so we thank God for His forgiveness. Every time satan brings up that old guilt we turn it into a praise and thanksgiving fest. “God, I thank you for forgiving me for those sins and for taking the guilt away from me and putting it on Your Son when He died on that cross.” Whenever satan tries to throw that anxiety back on us, we turn it into a faith fest, trusting God to take care of it. “God, I know You are able to take care of me. This has me worried. Do they really know what they are doing? I commit myself to trust You to work through them.” Caveat: There are some things we need to deal with, and if we don’t take care of them, they will cause anxiety. Paying taxes, attending to that funny noise in the car, keeping the house maintained; there are some things we can and should take care of. Those anxiety attacks can drive us to sleepless nights and to drink and ultimately to suicide. Or they can drive us to Christ. Remember Psalm 4: Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer… 6 Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?” Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord! 7 You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. Those anxiety attacks need to drive us to Christ, where we can drink deeply from His well of living water and find life. John 4 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Bottom line: We can let our anxieties drive us to try to deaden them and drown them in alcoholic stupor, or we can let them drive us to drink from Jesus’ living water.