I finished John MacArthur’s book Anxious For Nothing this week. In my last post, I talked about how Pastor John exhorts us to observe God’s care for us and weigh our anxiety against it. He then discusses how to attack anxiety in prayer and taking your cares and placing them with God (1 Peter 5). MacArthur also stresses the importance of Christian community in battling anxiety, with Martin Luther once alluded to with his famous quote, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” MacArthur then finishes the latter part of the book discussing how we can find peace in every circumstance, and the keys to Christian contentment. The book concludes with an appendix of Psalm selections that deal specifically with anxiety, along with a study guide with helpful, practical questions for yourself or group study.
Pastor John has an interesting chapter in the middle of the book titled, “Dealing with Problem People”. He puts these problem people under five basic headings: “the unruly”, “the fainthearted”, “the weak”, “the wearisome”, and the outright wicked. While MacArthur talks about how to identify and then deal with these groups as his focus, I found this to be a good spiritual exam for myself. Which of these tendencies do I have myself ? Do I increase the anxiety of others around me because I’m “spiritually AWOL”, as MacArthur says, with no interest in helping or serving others ? Am I apathetic to the needs of my local church ? I think MacArthur may have intended this chapter to guide our responses to so-called problem people, but I found it to be a good self-examination, maybe in a way that Paul intended in 2 Corinthians 13.
I’ve now read several of MacArthur’s books (you can click on Reading List at the top of the page to see which ones) and would have to say this one is my favorite. It’s much different in tone than many of his books – here he is a deeply concerned pastor helping others to remember God’s promises and commandments to us in Scripture about the dangers of anxiety. I’d recommend it highly to anyone. This quote (p. 29) was one of my favorites from the book:
“When you or I worry, we are choosing to be mastered by our circumstances instead of by the truth of God. The hardships and trials of life pale in comparison to the greatness of our salvation. Jesus wants us to realize it doesn’t make sense to believe God can save us from eternal hell but not help us in the practical matters of life…When you catch yourself worrying, go back to Scripture and have your eyes opened again.”