How We Manage Anxiety

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” - Luke 9:49-50

When you look at this passage in context, it makes a lot of sense. Earlier in this chapter Jesus had given the disciples authority to heal and drive out demons (Luke 9:2; see also Mt 10:8) - so they were riding high, feeling very good about themselves. But then, just after that, the disciples failed to drive out a demon (Luke 9:40) and were publicly embarrassed by their failure.

So what do they do with their anxiety? First, they try to inflate themselves (in 9:46) - by arguing about who is the greatest. Then they try to deflate others (in our passage from today, they put down others). Aren’t those the classic human responses?

How often do you face a blow to your confidence or some other anxiety-producing situation and respond the way the disciples do, with either trying to make yourself look better or making others look worse? Well, you’re in good company.

Talk with Jesus today, asking for his help in seeing when your insecurity is pushing you to those unhealthy alternatives. You could also pray out of this insightful verse: “The wicked put up a bold front, but the upright give thought to their ways” (Prov 21:29), asking Jesus for the grace to give thought to your ways - both in naming your insecurity and in choosing healthy ways to respond to it.