God Cares (1 Peter 5:7)

1 Peter 5 7

In the verse immediately preceding our verse, Peter says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). This concludes a short section on the value and importance of humility. The sense of the Greek word for humility means “the character trait of valuing and assessing oneself appropriately, especially in light of one’s sinfulness.” I think we all have a basic understanding of what it means to be humble.

But what does being humble have to do with casting our anxieties on Christ?

It’s quite simply the fact that we understand that being anxious for things, particularly things that are outside of our control, is a form of arrogance. You are basically saying to God that you don’t trust that he will work things out. You are putting yourself above his power. It’s the opposite of recognizing your humility in comparison to him.

The anxiety that you have (literally, “cares that bring disruption to the personality and mind”), causes you to doubt the order of creation. Is the Creator God really in control of everything, or do you, in your finite mind, need to worry and concern yourself with the things you have no control over?

Even though Peter is reminding us to be humble, particularly when considering our place compared to God, he emphasizes the fact that God cares for you! The word cares means, “to be relevant or important to; to be of interest to.” God cares about YOU and YOU are interest to HIM. God doesn’t want you to worry or be anxious – he wants you to humbly accept the fact that you have no control and need to rest in his arms of compassion and care. Once we can let go of the fact that we have to try to control everything, we can finally be assured that God is in control and we truly have nothing to fear because he cares about us more than we can ever know.

Nothing Can Separate Us (Romans 8:38-39)

Romans 83 8

In our passage today, Paul reassures us that NOTHING can separate us from God’s love. God’s love is always present in our lives, no matter what else is going on. But before you think that Paul is just writing some platitude to help people feel better, please remember that Paul is writing out of his own experience.

Paul has endured great hardships in his life. He has been beaten multiple times, imprisoned, stoned, faced death, shipwrecked, robbed, faced danger “in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas,” endured sleepless nights, faced starvation, dealt with severe thirst, and was in the cold with nothing to warm him (1 Corinthians 11:23-27). He is a man who has suffered!

Yet in his suffering, he is able to find solace in the fact that God has never left him; more specifically, that God’s love has never left him. What does it mean that God loves us? God’s love was ultimately demonstrated for us when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. What greater act of love can there be than to take someone else’s place in death? John tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). That means that all that is love is also God and all that is God is also love. And without God’s love, we could not love one another (1 John 4:19).

When you can stop your worry and anxiety long enough to consider who you love, recognize the fact that God loves you even more than you love that person or people. There is no limit to how much God loves you and how much he cares about you. In the midst of our worry, remember that God’s love knows no limits and he loves you more than you’ll ever know. Nothing can separate you from that love!

Am I More Than a Label?

Labels. They are very helpful in most cases.

I want to know what is in my food. I want to know what is in my cleaning supplies. I want to know the warnings associated with my appliances. I want to know the side effects of my medication.

But labels can turn nasty when they are used on people.

He’s the fat guy. She’s the smart one. He’s the funny one. She’s the loud one. He’s a jerk. She’s a loon.

These types of labels take one part of a personality and purport that it is the only, or at least the most important, part of a person. We all logically know this to be true, yet we still do it. We continue to label people and try to define them and put them in a nice, neat box.

The problem is that no one fits in a nice, neat box. We’re all a smorgasbord of personality traits, physical features, emotions, and beliefs, that make up the unique person we are. That unique person was created by God in God’s own image. That’s where we need to be finding our identity – as a child of God.

I’ve often heard that if you sin, you are a sinner; If you commit a crime, you are a criminal; or If you lose your temper, you are a hot-head. I will admit that there is SOME truth in that, but if we allow ourselves to be defined solely by our actions, then we’re missing the big picture.

We are not only the sum of our actions. Yes, our actions matter, and yes, that is how we are judged, but what truly matters is who God says we are. God says we are his children, made in God’s image.

Nothing that we can do will change the fact that God has created us – that he has perfectly and wonderfully made us. When we commit sinful acts, even gross atrocities (whether actual or in our minds), we are still made in God’s image. We are still his children. He’s never going to leave us or abandon us. He’s going to love us and seek a relationship with us NO MATTER WHAT.

Whether a person is a Christ-follower, an atheist, a pagan, or an agnostic, doesn’t matter. He loves each of us the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re straight, gay, male, female, old, young, tall, or short, God loves you, cares for you, and wants a relationship with you.

That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about your actions – he certainly does. What it does mean is that he loves us all the same. Sometimes love requires discipline, and that certainly is the case with God, but God’s judgment doesn’t negate the fact that he loves us. Our relationship with God will necessarily change how God responds to us – but he loves us all. He demonstrated that fact when Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

God has created each of us, and he desires that all people enter into a right relationship with him. But that doesn’t mean he stops or starts loving people based on their decisions.

If you’ve really screwed up lately, I want to give you hope. I want you to know that God still loves you and offers his grace to you. Don’t beat yourself up over your actions. Accept the consequences and move on. Do what you can to make things right, but accept God’s perfect love and forgiveness for yourself. God doesn’t label you based on your sins – he labels you a Child of God based on who you have been created to be.