Why is Anxiety About the Future a Form of Pride? (John Piper)

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6–7)

Why is anxiety about the future a form of pride?

God’s answer would sound something like this:

I — the Lord, your Maker — I am he who comforts you, who promises to take care of you; and those who threaten you are mere men who die. So your fear must mean that you do not trust me — and even though you are not sure that your own resources will take care of you, yet you opt for fragile self-reliance, rather than faith in my future grace. So all your trembling — weak as it is — reveals pride.

The remedy? Turn from self-reliance to God-reliance, and put your faith in the all-sufficient power of future grace.

We see anxiety as a form of pride in 1 Peter 5:6–7. Notice the grammatical connection between the verses…

“Humble yourselves . . . under the mighty hand of God . . . [verse 7] casting all your anxieties on him.” Verse 7 is not a new sentence. It’s a subordinate clause. “Humble yourselves . . . [by] casting all your anxieties on him.”

This means that casting your anxieties on God is a way of humbling yourself under God’s mighty hand. It’s like saying, “Eat politely . . . chewing with your mouth shut.” “Drive carefully . . . keeping your eyes open.” “Be generous . . . inviting someone over on Thanksgiving.”

One way to be humble is to cast all your anxieties on God. Which means that one hindrance to casting your anxieties on God is pride. Which means that undue worry is a form of pride.

Now why is casting our anxieties on the Lord the opposite of pride? Because pride does not like to admit that it has any anxieties. And if pride has to admit it, it still does not like to admit that the remedy might be trusting someone else who is wiser and stronger.

In other words, pride is a form of unbelief and does not like to trust in God’s future grace. Faith admits the need for help. Pride won’t. Faith banks on God to give help. Pride won’t. Faith casts anxieties on God. Pride won’t.

Therefore the way to battle the unbelief of pride is to admit freely that you have anxieties, and to cherish the promise of future grace in the words, “He cares for you.”

Excerpt from:
Future Grace, John Piper, pages 94–95

(Reading for March 9 from Desiring God’s Daily Devotional app, which features the best of over 30 years of John Piper’s teaching to your everyday life and satisfaction in Jesus. Download it for free in the app store.)

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