You may need a cuppa for this one. Take your time and read it twice ..this one is for you.
I find it interesting that in nearly every book that Paul writes he has something to say about fear.
I have never really seen myself as fearful or timid yet the older I get the more I realise that fear has many forms. I have had my share of seasons of feeling unsure of myself and insecure. When you work with people intimidation can wreak havoc with our capacity to love and lead well.
Fear and it’s impact on our daily life is not meant to be a part of the Christian life yet so many Christians live under a spirit of intimidation without realising it. Why can’t we see it?…because it is subtle . I have learnt when I second guess myself, when I doubt my abilities, when I get confused, when I feel coerced, when I feel guilty for saying yes or I feel guilty for saying no, when I find it hard to set boundaries. … These are all symptoms of fear and intimidation playing havoc with my soul.
Phil 1:28 Don’t be intimidated by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.
And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of [their impending] destruction, but [a sure token and evidence] of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God. (Philippians 1:28 AMP)
Throughout the scripture we are instructed to ‘fear not’ and Paul in challenging us to live as citizens of heaven throws in this phrase’ Don’t be intimidated in any way’ . Intimidation comes in so many forms and has the capacity to paralyse us and cripple our walk with God.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in my walk with God has been in this area. It was in a season of feeling numb and paralysed and confused and withdrawn and I read John Bevere’s book ‘Breaking Intimidation.’ My problem was that I had felt the symptoms and kept dealing with the symptoms…not realising there was a spirit at work. At the core I was struggling to live as a citizen of heaven..Full of grace, full of love! full of hope, full of faith, full of authority and wisdom and joy…something was at work robbing me of my identity and my authority. The symptoms are easy to recognise when you know what to look for. Here is a small sample:
you stop or pause in the race called life..and you stop running to WIN.
You feel spent, used, forsaken and forgotten…
You start listening to the dialogue in your head or stop stopping the lies…The words that sap life and feed the negative. The manna that feeds you is not heavenly manner .. It is the manner that wreaks havoc with your soul….the words of ‘not enough’ not good enough, not strong enough, not wise enough, not tall enough, not tidy enough, not enough faith, not enough clean, not enough perfect, not enough fun, not enough happy, not enough of anything….
You second guess your decisions.
You begin to doubt what you never doubted..you doubt He is enough, you doubt you have enough, you doubt what you can do and what you can’t do and what you thinks possible.
you start believing. ‘ this is too hard, too little, too much’;
your confidence runs away and you stop chasing it down to bring it back.
You struggle to say NO to others without feeling guilty, and you feel guilty for saying yes because you said yes to please them instead of Him,
you say ‘no’ because of fear instead of saying ‘yes ‘ because you fear HIM and only him. You say ‘yes’ yes because you dear man more than you fear God. We worship and obey what we fear most but it is not always God we fear most.
you say no because you see limits not possibilities
You love only the easy and the have tos and stop loving the hard.
You say no because your excuses are louder than your dreams
Your gifts are put under lock and key and the dream to be used is buried in the deepest sea.
You it pause on your life because your feelings have become the leader and your feelings today are trembling and you are waiting for a day when your feeling feel okay.
When you are asked to do the daunting you feel daunted and in the daunting read this as heaven’s whisper…when all the time it was the weapon of the enemy to keep you contained and undone.
you are easily manipulated, coerced, mislead because you so long to be loved and to please and to be accepted this becomes the loudest clearest voice that shouts and you don’t hear the whispers of heaven and the hunches and the peace and grace that have kept you guided and on track.
You become your own protector because the fear is they your protector won’t protect you. Life has taught you that.
When others say ‘No’ to you, you feel rejected or angry because wounds are loud and peace is not. You know someone else’s voice is causing strife and division but you lack confidence to rip out the source and confront the evil.
You feel you have no authority in your role…eg as a mum, as a leader, as a work colleague….
you give up easily …
you care about what other people think more than you should
you attract intimidating people into your life.
you find it hard to try new things.
you feel like withdrawing or quitting
You go throughout he motions but yr heart is no longer in it.
you struggle with setting boundaries.
you second guess your decisions.
you find it hard to make decisions in case you get it wrong.
You find it hard to stick with your convictions when around certain people.
you feel powerless and weak around certain personality types and strong opinions.
you are impacted by peer pressure more than you want to be.
you have gifts and talents that you don’t want to use because you don’t want to get used or overlooked or fear rejection.
You will never raise up someone who could be better than you.
You are to stick to convictions
You feel you have to justify yourself
You feel the need to control others so they won’t control you.
It is often the people we love the most who have the ability to intimidate us. The cause is spirtual not physical or emotional.
Synptoms are simply indicators of something more powerful. There is nothing wrong with these feeling but when they lead us to submit to them then we are allowing a spirit of intimidation to rule us instead of the spirit of Chrsit. We begin to allow disappointment, hurt, fear, neglect, rejection, confusion, weakness to be our leader and dictate to us what we do and how we live.
When we understand the symptoms of intimidation and deal with the cause we can feel the freedom Paul has. There is absolutely nothing you can do if you do not break the power fear has over you.
Learning how to recognise fear and break it’s power over my life is vital to living heart free. Conducting myself as a citizen of heaven is almost impossible if I am intimidated.
There are a number of things we can to do break the power of intimidationand and Manipulation over our life. We must stand in agreement with Hod himself and his truth.
The flip side of this issue of intimidation and manipulation is that the enemy uses others Christians to intimidate and manipulate. That means I have the potential to intimidate and manipulate. In my longings and cravings to be heard and yearning to feel loved and have my needs met, in my discontented state I can use intimidation and manipulation to get what I need from others. My contentment and freedom comes only when I find what I need in Christ alone. Is he enough??? I have no need to intimidate or manipulate. I do not want to be used as a tool in the enemy’s hand. The power of agreement with the enemy us destructive. My words, my attitude, my actions, my hurts, disappointments anad fears can be used but the enemy to make others pay and make others feel indebted to my pain. When wounds from the past dictate how I live instead of heaven’s culture, I use and abuse to get my own way. Paul is someone who has been an intimidator. Before he met Christ he hunted down Christians to kill them. He knows what it is like to intimidate. He has also faced intimidation in the church from others leaders. In every city he visited the enemy tried intimidating him and shutting him down but he refused to be manipulated, coerced or intimidated. He has authority in this subject. He is free. He may face hundreds of lashing, hundred of taunts, shackles and the worst of the worst of prison cells but nothing was going to stop him living as a citizen of heaven. Nothing was going to stop him preaching the gospel. Paul speaks has exhorted us to let love increase..not retreat. the retreat is a result of intimidation. deal with this spirtually…Stop dealing with symptoms.
God has given me authority to be a fantastic godly mother. Nothing is going to rob me of that authority. I am female which means I have a gift to nurture and the authority to nurture but when I believe the enemy that nurture is not for me he wins or it keeps me safe and keeping me safe never hurts me and that is just what I want…safe, easy, comfortable, and easy..but God has asked me to do hard and love long and hope , and give and live. God has given me authority to live as citizen of heaven ..nothing is going to rob me of that authority. .. I can be a great servant, a saint, I can be a great friend , a great sister, daughter, worker, lover, wife, giver, liver, dreamer, prayer.
As a nurturer, as a mother as a leader, as a giver, as a lover..the enemy want to rob me of my authority to be what I am called to be …God has given me authority and. The enemy is not gong to rob me of it or contain me unless I let.
I am a Pastor and there are plenty if people who have allowed the enemy to use them to undermine my authority as a Pastor . Ignorance and Insecurity on my part gave the enemy a foothold that had the potential to become a stronghold.
‘Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:12, 13 NLT). He gives me what I need to do what I should do…so why is the wrong fear overruling the right fear????
Who authority will I submit to? God and his call or the people I want to like me ????