Anxious for Nothing
God’s Cure for the Cares of Your Soul
by John MacArthur, Jr.
Published by David C. Cook
Late last year, I experienced bouts of anxiety over the smallest matters. Did I lock the door when I left the house? Did I send a confidential work email to the wrong recipient? This made me second-guess my actions and crippled my mind with worried thoughts, replaying scenarios to figure out if I had made a mistake. After a few weeks of this, I decided it was time to take hold of the problem and raise it up to God. I should have done so earlier. God was gracious as always, and brought to my attention a book by John MacArthur, titled Anxious for Nothing.
Through the readings, God revealed to me new truths and reminded me of lessons that I had picked up in the past.
Prayer is key (Philippians 4:6-7)
God has provided the gift of prayer for us as a bridge to communicate with Him. In the well-loved scripture passage Philippians 4:6-7, He commands us to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to present our requests to God. And God promises to grant us His peace which will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Worry and anxiety is best dealt with by grateful prayer, knowing that all our difficulties are within God’s purposes, and that His power and promises have already been made available to us. Being thankful is a real demonstration of entrusting our situations under God’s sovereign control.
Turning our minds to greater things (Philippians 4:8-9, Colossians 3:2)
What we go through on earth is ultimately temporary, and will pass. In light of this, God calls us to focus on what is eternal, the things above. Often, we get caught up in daily worries and short-term concerns, and we end up expending our energy on these things instead of the greater things that God calls us to. We who are caught up with worry believe that God can rescue and redeem us from the shackles of sin and grant us eternal life, and yet we don’t have sufficient faith to believe that God can take us through the next couple of days? That doesn’t make sense. If we can trust God for the greater calling to live as a disciple of Christ and believe in eternal life with Him, let us trust Him for the lesser daily things as well.
God calls us to the mental discipline of right thinking. MacArthur highlights that worry does not mean people are thinking too much, but rather that they are not thinking in the right direction. As outlined in Philippians 4:8-9, let us take hold of this truth, to think about whatever is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise – let us think about these things instead of our worries.
God is forming us in Christlikeness
Taking a step back, if we understand that God is using all the difficulties we face to perfect us and form us in Christlikeness, we will be at peace that all we go through is not for nothing. We can trust in God’s loving character and be encouraged that there is a good reason for the challenges we face (Romans 8:28).
While reading this book, I had a conversation with a good friend, with whom I shared about the irrational anxiety I had been facing. My friend commented that the ability to take a step back to reflect is God demonstrating His mercy to me. The next day as I continued reading, I came across this paragraph: “The ability to think clearly and correctly is a tremendous blessing from God. It all begins with the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). The Lord uses the gospel to illuminate the mind of the unbeliever.”
When I read this, I was moved by how God was using His Word, His teachings and His people to encourage and remind me that He was working through my weaknesses and helping me overcome through Him. Indeed, journeying with Christ is the most precious gift and our goal is to be more like Him daily.
I would recommend this book to all who have had anxious thoughts at one point in time or another. The teachings in the book are eye-opening, soul-enriching reminders of God’s character and how He works in the lives of disciples. There is also a discussion guide at the back of the book with questions to go in-depth on each chapter. In addition, the appendix includes a compilation of Psalms related to dealing with anxious thoughts.
Do pick up a copy, read with God in mind, and be blessed by His grace in every situation.
Andrea Low –
worships at Christalite Methodist Chapel. She works in Communications and enjoys reading, writing and walks in the green corners of Singapore.