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12th July 2015
There should be no intimidation in the lives of Christians, nor in the church. Yet it’s amazing how easily we succumb to intimidation – worrying about how people see us or about situations we face.
We see this in Numbers 13:27-33, where God’s people were exploring whether they could take the land flowing with milk and honey that God had promised to them, but most gave a report based on intimidation. Their account was based on the size of the opposition and how they saw themselves by comparison. Only two of them said, “We can do it!”
There are four things we can learn here about how to overcome intimidation. Firstly, we need to know who we are. Joshua and Caleb knew who they were – they hadn't forgotten their identity. There’s nothing special about us and we won’t overcome obstacles or opposition by our own strength, but we are children of God living in His authority, and that changes everything! It has dramatic repercussions for the rest of our lives.
Secondly, they knew who the opposition was. They knew the reality that these people were not the people of God and that it doesn't matter who is against you if God is for you! We need to know who our enemy is – that he is defeated and no match for Jesus!
They also knew that God was with them. We need to know that God is with us too, and that nothing can stand up against His power. We can do remarkable things, not through our strength, but by knowing God and knowing that He is with us. Jesus promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us.
We also need to know the promises of God – He has the power to do everything He has promised and He is completely faithful to keep every promise He has made! Believing His promises sustains us through every intimidation thrown at us.
We all face, all the time, all kinds of things that can intimidate us. We have another example in the story of David and Goliath, where the people of God were intimidated and afraid, but along came David with an utterly different perspective. David knew who he was and who was with him.
The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are. The good news for us is that Jesus overcame every intimidation that was thrown at Him. In Mark’s gospel we read a succession of events that could have intimidated Jesus. He could’ve been intimidated by creation (the storm), the devil (the man full of demons who no one can help), sickness (the woman who had been sick for many years) and death itself (Jairus’ daughter). But He calmed the storm, set the man free, healed the woman and brought the girl back to life! He overcame every intimidation.
It’s interesting to see that Jesus didn’t use a lot of words in any of these situations. He knew the authority and power that His words had.
There is One who has gone before you who has faced every intimidation that you face, and overcame them all, even the intimidation of a brutal death on the cross.
As Christians and churches that are sometimes so intimidated, maybe we’ve forgotten who we are, or who the opposition is, or who God is, or what He has promised us. How do we overcome opposition? In Jesus. How do we have the authority? It’s His authority. What if the problem is too big? The One who lives in you is greater than any other!
We overcome because He is in us and with us. We live in Him and in His power. The potential for fear, this side of heaven will always be with you. Fear is an intimidating barrier that we need to overcome. We sometimes think we will be courageous when the fear has gone, but courage is walking through the fear and being courageous despite it.
In what area are you intimidated? One of the keys of for King’s Church Hastings to make a bigger impact on this area is individuals empowered by God and overcoming intimidation, so that corporately we know who we are, we know the nature of the opposition, we know who our God is and what His promises are.
Posted by David Holden