Book Review: The Anxious Christian

As the deacon in charge of the library, one of my goals is to find and promote books that could potentially aid in the building and mending of our spiritual lives. To further that goal, we will be publishing book reviews in the weekly Messenger from time to time, in the hope that this will draw more attention to the book in particular, and the library in general. The book will then be placed in our library collection.

Our prayer is that this will be an influence for good in our personal lives and the life of this congregation.

A review of The Anxious Christian; Can God Use Your Anxiety For Good?

One of the most powerful tools Satan has for driving a wedge between God and His children, is that of anxiety. This he then widens – with great success – through the power of shame and guilt. He convinces us that we stand alone in whatever sin or temptation we face.

What about passages telling us to be anxious in nothing? (Phil. 4:6-7)

Are we therefore, sinning when our minds are occupied by a sick family member? Perhaps the loss of a job or a career change has given us many sleepless nights. Maybe yours is a struggle with doubt about who God says you are. We have to choose between trusting God or remaining buried in self-doubt and fear. I believe this is the starting point for what Paul says in Philippians 4.

In his book The Anxious Christian; Can God Use Your Anxiety For Good?, Rhett Smith reimagines anxiety as a way to grow closer to God. Since God created us as free moral beings, we then have the ability to make choices that affect us in both positive and negative ways. Anxiety can then arise from choices made in the past, or choices to be made in the future. It can also be driven by things beyond our control.

The goal then, is to embrace these changes as God calling you toward His good purposes, thus refining you for a life totally dependent on Him. This book contains many helpful ideas on how to do just that and how to deal with the anxiety that may be prevalent in your life.

We may be so used to losing that mental, emotional, and spiritual battle that we can’t imagine life any other way. Perhaps we have become stuck in our rut and held captive in our own lives as we have given the unseen force of anxiety permission to keep us from living the freedom of the life God has called us toward. – page 82

The ways in which we experience mental anguish are many and often so personal, they have us convinced we are alone in the extent of that fear and anxiety.

No matter how big or small, our worries are very real to us. They dominate our minds in ways that rob us of our peace and trust in God. We then begin to trust ourselves more than our heavenly father. This will always lead to disaster. Perhaps if we fully trust Him with our anxieties, He could reshape our pain into something positive we never would’ve otherwise imagined.

If you are experiencing anxiety, I can recommend this book as a tool for redirecting your life in accordance with God’s desire for you.

Anxiety shouldn’t be buried through shame. We have many tools to help us. We draw strength from the presence of God’s family (Heb. 10:25). We can pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). And just as important, is the need to let others know of those struggles. In some cases, this should also be done professionally.

As Peter says “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). But always remember, nothing can separate you from the love of God (Rom. 8:39).
-David Harper