Feeling depressed and unmotivated? Struggling with discouragement, been tempted to shrink back lately? So was Timothy:
2 Tim 1:3-7 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. NIV
Paul was encouraging Timothy to fan into flame the gift that God had given him, so obviously Timothy had let that gift grow cold.
How? Paul acknowledges that he is feeling fearful and intimidated and then reminds him that God didn’t give that to him, instead He gave him power, love and a sound mind:
2 Tim 1:7 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. KJV
It can happen so quickly!
Look at Elijah, God had used him powerfully to show forth His glory. (You really should take the time to read the whole chapter, it is awesome!) 1 Kings 18:36-40 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD-he is God! The LORD-he is God!” 40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. NIV
I’d say that’s some pretty powerful stuff!! I think I might be walking on clouds after that, feeling pretty good about God using me so mightily.
But in just a few verses, Elijah gets intimidated by the woman Jezebel and it sends him fleeing in fear.
1 Kings 19:1-5 19:1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. NIV
Seems so hard to believe that Elijah could be intimidated and running in fear so quickly after such an incredible victory, but I’ve seen it happen in my own life, have you?
Things are going well, you’re walking hand in hand with the Lord and feeling His peace all around you, then you hear something that someone else says about you. OR, you see someone who represents a painful situation in your life. OR you compare yourself to another person. SNAP, you’re intimidated and you start shrinking back. You suddenly feel inadequate, you no longer hear the Lord’s voice or sense His presence.
I am focusing on us as individuals, but this spirit can be at work in churches and ministries also. It seeks it’s own way and will do whatever it can to destroy God-given authority, usually cloaked in a person who seems very strong in their faith.
Listen again to Paul’s words to Timothy: 2 Tim 1:7 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. KJV The first step out of this pit is recognizing that God did not give you this spirit of fear (intimidation). It is not from God, so you don’t need to put up with it for one more minute. Pray against it, confess God’s word over your life and put off (rebuke) the lies of the enemy. Don’t let them determine one more step in your life.
Second, recognize what God has given you- NO MATTER WHAT anyone else may says…He’s given you power, love and a sound mind.
Third, acknowledge that no one can make you feel inferior without your permission. There is a side of this that we must look in the mirror and see. If we let ourselves get intimidated by others, that means that there is a part of us that is more concerned with what others say than with what God says. Pride causes us to want the approval of others more than the approval of God. Therefore, repent and choose to look to God for all the love and acceptance we need. HIS Word should mean more to us than anyone elses.
I pray that if you have been affected by intimidation, you would rise up out of it today! Don’t let the enemy have one more minute of your life by keeping you under this darkness.