Welcome to Part 2 of our current series. In Part 1, I discussed the meaning of intimidation and pointed out that fear is a spirit (2 Tim. 1:7). I also shared on the purpose of intimidation, forms of intimidation, the root of intimidation, and who is affected by intimidation. Today, I will be sharing on the signs & symptoms of intimidation as well as the effects of intimidation.
Signs & Symptoms of Intimidation
Persons who are affected by a spirit of fear (intimidation) will display several signs and symptoms some of which are listed below:
- loss of peace, confidence, courage, endurance, resolution and security; great anxiety & worry (Mt. 6:34, Phil. 4:6-7, Isa. 26:3);
- torment (severe physical and mental suffering) (1 John 4:18);
- doubt and unbelief about God’s love (1 John 4:18);
- discouragement, hopelessness, frustration (Isa. 41:10);
- a perception that God has deserted you and you are alone (Deut. 31:6, Josh. 1:9, Psa. 23:4);
- insecurity (Mt. 6:34);
- fear of men’s faces; timidity (Psa. 118:6, Act 4:29);
- paranoia (everyone is against you or trying to harm you) (Rom. 8:31);
- feeling of being trapped (Job 22:10);
- shame and embarrassment (Jeremiah 1:17; Phil. 1:20);
- warped judgment or perspective (e.g., Elijah);
- heaviness and depression (e.g., Elijah);
- desire to die (e.g., Elijah);
- attack the pure in heart (e.g., 1 Sam. 17:28 – Eliab and David);
- failure to step out into ministry (2 Tim 1:6-7);
- failure to speak out against unrighteousness (Mk. 6:17, Eph. 6:20);
- walk in unrighteousness (Psa. 119:134, Josh. 1:7);
- lack of energy and feeling of exhaustion (e.g., Elijah);
- a sorrowful spirit (Exod. 15:14).
Effects of Intimidation
We note that when Jezebel caused a spirit of fear to come upon Elijah (1 Kings 19:2-4), one of the first things that happened was that he began to operate out of the Lord’s perfect will. The intimidated person honours what he fears more than he honours God. There is greater vulnerability to walk in unrighteousness because fear prevents one from standing up for what is righteous. The fear of men’s faces and the pride of life take over (1 John 2:16). It is easier to conform to the world rather than being courageous enough to come out from among them (Rom. 12:2). God’s anger is against those who continue to walk in fear (Heb. 10:38). Scripture tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). The end of such a person is “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:7-8). I didn’t say it, God’s word did! Of course, this is not God’s desire for any of us. His desire is that we enter into His rest, however, unbelief will prevent us from doing so (Heb. 3:19).
And in no way be alarmed or intimidated [in anything] by your opponents, for such [constancy and fearlessness on your part] is a [clear] sign [a proof and a seal] for them of [their impending] destruction, but [a clear sign] for you of deliverance and salvation, and that too, from God. For you have been granted [the privilege] for Christ’s sake, not only to believe and confidently trust in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, [and so you are] experiencing the same [kind of] conflict which you saw me endure, and which you hear to be mine now. (Phil. 1:28-30, AMP)
God is requiring us to expect the enemy to try and intimidate us because his modus operandi has not changed. Jesus endured it, Paul endured it and we will endure it. When we, as Christ’s representatives give in to the intimidation of our opponents we bring God’s name into disrepute. It is an indication that we do not believe and confidently trust in Him. If we don’t believe in the God we say we serve, why should unbelievers? It brings our testimony and witness into question before the world.
Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces. Lest I dismay you before them. (Jer. 1:17)
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Mt. 10:31-33)
God is very serious about how we represent Him before others. As His representatives, if we allow fear to cause us to misrepresent Him, He will allow us to be ashamed in front of our enemies. Jesus goes further to state that He will be no mediator before God on behalf of anyone who denies Him before men. God warns that we must not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt. 10:28).
One of the main effects of fear is on the manifestation of our spiritual gifts. Which is why Paul found it necessary to admonish Timothy to stir up (Greek: anazopureo) “to kindle afresh or keep in full flame” his gifts (2 Tim. 1:6). We see that the spirit of fear is the root cause of gifts becoming dormant (2 Tim. 1:7). If we allow fear to prevent us from exercising our spiritual gifts then the effect is similar to a muscle that is not exercised, it gets weak and dies. The ultimate effect though is that those who should have received ministry through the spiritual gifts that we have been given are not ministered to. God says He will hold us guilty of their blood (Ezek. 3:18, 20; 33:6, 8).
As we reflect on the serious consequences of allowing intimidation to gain a foothold and become a stronghold in our lives, we should recognize the urgent need for us to be equipped with the knowledge to overcome it. This will be the topic for the third and final part of this series. You can’t afford to miss it. Join me again next week.