Saturday, July 31, 2010

MacArthur on Anxiety

My favorite pastor/author is none other than Dr. John MacArthur.  I have almost all of his commentaries and dozens of his books.  I have listened to probably close to a 100 of his sermons and lectures and have benefited from him throughout my life.  He has shaped my thinking and my sanctification.

In his commentary on Matthew 1-7, John MacArthur had some insightful things to say regarding our text for the morning:  Matthew 6:25-34.  This text discusses the issue of anxiety and worry in our lives and as MacArthur points out, what is really at stake isn't stress, but God's providence.  Will we trust in the providence of God or will we seek to trust in our limited, temporal, and weak providence?

MacArthur writes:

Worry is the sin of distrusting the promise and providence of God, and yet it is a sin that Christians commit perhaps more frequently than any other.  -419

I think he's right.  The most neglected doctrines of God and how they show up in our lives are God's Providence, His Soveriegnty, and His Holiness.  I believe the reason the church is so anemic today is because we do not appreciate (and barely believe if at all) these foundational doctrines of God.  Affirm these and we will lives of peace, comfort, assurance, contentment, and righteousness (just to name the few).

MacArthur goes on to add the following illustration regarding the things we worry about:

It has been reported that a dense fog extensive enough to cover seven city blocks a hundred feet deep is composed of less than one glass of water – divided into sixty thousand million droplets.  In the right form, a few gallons of water can cripple a large city.  In a similar way, the substance of worry is nearly always extremely small compared to the size it forms in our minds and the damage it does in our lives.  -419

What is it that they say?  Only a very small percentage of things we worry about actually become reality.  Its amazing how a cup of water can affect a city through fog and how the smallest thing can destroy our lives through needless worrying.

Finally, MacArthur offers the final bit of wisdom and exhortation:

‘You believe that god can redeem you save you from your sin, break the shackles of Satan, take you to heaven where He has prepared a place for you, and keep you for all eternity,’ Jesus is saying, ‘and yet you do not trust Him to supply your daily needs?’  We freely put our eternal destiny in His hands, but at times refuse to believe He will provide what we need to eat, drink, and wear.  -424-425

Once again, MacArthur confronts us with a reality we must face.  Why is it do we trust God with eternal realities and not with present and future earthly realities?  Could it be that since we have no control over our eternal souls we are forced to trust in Him?  But the present world, on the other hand, we feel as if we are in control.  How foolish we are.  Or as Jesus puts it in this passage, O you of little faith!

See you in the morning.

For more:
Bonhoeffer on Anxiety 

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