The Greek word for anxiety means to be pulled in different directions. In the context of “Aliens and Strangers,” it means being pulled between Earth’s way and Heaven’s way. Other biblical definitions for anxiety that the Amplified Bible brings out include—
- being perpetually uneasy…about your life (Matthew 6:25)
- a troubled mind unsettled, excited, worried, and in suspense (Luke 12:29)
- drawn in diverging directions, his interests are divided and he is distracted from his devotion to God (1 Corinthians 7:34)
Unchecked anxiety can negatively impact our physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual health, so it’s imperative—if we are going to live differently than Earthlings—that Christians handle their anxiety in an alien way.
Peter gives us an alien response to our feelings of worry and anxiety—
Cast all your anxiety on [Jesus] because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Notice that Peter doesn’t say, “Don’t be anxious,” but he does say, “Here’s what to do with your anxiety.” Being anxious is not a sin, but hanging on to your anxiety may cause you to behave in a sinful way.
So what do we do with our anxiety? In a word cast it off—throw it somewhere else! The verse tense here means it’s something we must keep on doing, so Peter is really saying keep on casting your anxiety on Jesus.
Why can we keep on casting our anxieties on Jesus? Because He cares for you. Jesus has taken charge of your care; He’s made it His goal that you aren’t missing out on the abundant life He paid for! This verb is in what’s called the indicative mood. That means it is something that has happened in the past, and it is happening now, and it will continue to happen forever and ever!
Even if you cast an anxiety on Jesus 30 seconds earlier, you can do it again right now because that’s how much He cares for you!
At the risk of oversimplifying it, here is the prescription for anxiety in four steps:
- Recognize that you are anxious—admit it to yourself and to God.
- Remind yourself that Jesus cares for you.
- Reject your anxieties by counteracting your worry with God’s truth—I like to read something like Psalm 23.
- Repeat steps 1-3.
“Your natural tendency when you’re feeling anxious is to focus on yourself and your problems. The more you do this, the more you forget about Me and all the help I can supply. This worldly focus only increases your anxiety! Let the discomfort you feel at such times alert you to your neglect of Me. Whisper My Name, and invite Me into your difficulties. … A problem-preoccupation makes you anxious. So I urge you to cast all your anxiety on Me—trusting that I care for you. You may have to do this thousands of times daily, but don’t give up! Each time you cast your worries and concerns on Me, you are redirecting your attention from problems to My loving presence.” —Sarah Young, in Jesus Always