t’s amazing how much time and energy the enemy is willing to invest in order to close the mouths of the saints. Revelations 12:11 tells us that we overcome by the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony, so it only makes sense that he would try to influence or stop the spoken word of the saints. This has been one of the many spiritual battles I’ve experienced throughout my life, and it seems to have intensified over the last few weeks. If you’ve read my eJournal entries titled Stand In Your God-Given Authority and A Call to Take Authority, then you know that one of the spirits the enemy used to try to close my mouth is the spirit of intimidation. It’s interesting how we use this word so loosely in today’s society not realizing how it can spiritually, mentally and emotionally cripple its victim. Additionally, many do not know that intimidation is actually a spirit, and this spirit seldom walk alone. The spirit of intimidation is often accompanied by the spirits of insecurity, inferiority, shyness, control and manipulation just to name a few. Up until recent, I used to get clobbered by the spirit of intimidation, and was its slave most of my life. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ! (2 Cor. 2:14a). God has recently delivered me from the spirit of intimidation, and He is teaching me to walk each day in the power, love and sound mind He’s given me through Jesus Christ!
ou know the old cliché that says never judge a book by its cover? Well, I admit to doing this myself over the years. I am grateful, however, that the Holy Spirit is helping me to steadily UN-learn this behavior so that I’m less inclined to judge others. This is not only because the Lord tells us to judge not lest we be judged in Matthew 7:1, but also because I myself don’t like being judged. I’ve had people misjudge me because I look a certain way and/or have a particular style, and as a result, many would make up their mind about me before even speaking to me, much less knowing me. Throughout the years, I’ve been frequently mislabeled as either conceited or overestimated as a woman with great confidence. I guess between the two the latter would be much preferred; however, neither was accurate. I was very insecure, shy and timid, but this was often hard to detect because the nervous energy I had would somehow transform into what appear to be an outgoing personality. I never really understood why this was neither did I plan it to be so. It was as if I had a built-in fail-safe that would self activate when needed.
ntimidation was a problem for me for as long as I can remember, but it was just recent that I began to realize how destructive this spirit is and how it can quench the Spirit of God in any believer (See Stand In Your God-Given Authority to read more). John Bevere, the author of Breaking Intimidation expounds:
The objective of intimidation is to restrain you from action and coerce or force you into submission. Intimidation wants to overwhelm you with a sense of inferiority and fear. Once you’ve retreated into submission, either knowingly or unknowingly, you are a servant of the intimidator. You are no longer free to fulfill the will of God but are doomed to the desires of your intimidating captor.
Consequently, the gift of God, His spiritual ability in you, is inoperative. Now your authority has been stripped from you in order to be used against both you and those in your sphere of influence.
The origin of intimidation is fear, which has its roots in our adversary, the devil. He is the originator of all fear and timidity (Gen. 3:1-10), especially v. 10). He will attack us by way of thoughts, imaginations and visions, or he will use circumstances and those under his influence to intimidate us. Either way, he has one objective: to control and limit us. (Page 46)
hen the Lord began revealing this to me, I asked Him to show me how this rooted in my life. A few days after that prayer He began showing me flashes from my childhood, and how as a little girl living in an abusive home, the doorway was opened for these spirits to set up strongholds. Without my knowledge or consent, these spirits attached themselves to me and my life at such an early age that I mistook their whispering lies for my own thoughts. As God began revealing this to me, I began to see how intimidation played a major role in my life, preventing me from living in the freedom and abundance that Jesus offers His believers.
ontinuing down this path of discovery, I also began to see how this spirit infiltrated the body of Christ. This spirit is so camouflaged and so subtle that it often goes long periods of time without being noticed. Consequently, it gains enough strength and control to form strongholds in the church. I believe the answer to why it goes unnoticed for so long can be found in 1 Samuel 16:7, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.“ Because we have the tendency of looking at the outward appearance, we make the grave mistake of thinking giftings, anointing or ministry “success” indicate purity in heart and motives. Think about it. If you were living during the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, would you’ve been able to discern the heart and spirit of Judas Iscariot? This is a man who ate, traveled and somewhat lived with Jesus! Furthermore, did not Jesus himself charge him as an apostle? Did he not also heal the sick and cast out demons as well? (Read Matthew 10:1-5). SELAH
If that doesn’t do it for you, Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 7:22-23 that anointing doesn’t mean a pure heart. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” I really don’t think you can get any clearer than this.
The author of the book Breaking Intimidation speaks a little about ministry success and relationship with God:
Even though the church is experiencing a refreshing at this time, sin must be dealt with. It is wonderful that people are so hungry for the power of God, but let’s not neglect purity of heart. We have seen too many ministers fall. But they didn’t fall when they committed their first act of immortality. No, they began to fall earlier—the day success in ministry became more important than their intimate relationship with God. We’ve not only seen this among ministers but also within their congregations. (Page 23)
n the other side of the coin are those who are anointed and have a heart after God. It is these that the spirits of Jezebel and intimidation seek to neutralize. The unfortunate fact is that these spirits are oftentimes successful, even when going against those who we believe are mighty in the Lord. An example of this can be found in the story of one of the most powerful prophets in the Bible, Elijah. The story of Elijah begins in 1 Kings 17, with chapter 19 showing how through intimidation and fear, Jezebel put this prophet to flight. During my study of intimidation, I stumbled upon a website that provided an excerpt from a book titled The Tactics of the Enemy (author unknown):
For seven years, God had carefully protected Elijah. God fed him in the wilderness. When Ahab’s armies sought to kill Elijah, they were unable to lay a finger on him.
Finally, in a showdown at Mt. Carmel, Elijah called down fire from heaven and resoundingly defeated and killed the priests of Baal. All Israel fell at his feet in repentance, worshipping the true God. Elijah was the man of the hour. He was vindicated, victorious, and clearly in charge.
Nevertheless, when Jezebel sent Elijah a single threat, he suddenly turned coward and fled to the desert. Anxious, depressed, and miserable, he begged God to kill him!
Think about this. It makes NO sense. Elijah enjoyed supernatural protection for seven years. He watched fire fall from heaven and defeat his enemies, yet when a single angry woman threatened him one time, he lost every shred of vision and ran away. He moaned in self-pity and depression, begging God to kill him!
This is a great example of Jezebel’s powerful demonic “anointing” to intimidate, create fear, and cause men of God to withdraw. Jezebel steals your vision. Jezebel will even make you depressed and anxious when there is nothing significantly different in your circumstances. If there are difficult circumstances, this spirit will tell you they are insurmountable, impossible, and overwhelming. Jezebel will make you feel like dying when in reality, you are God’s man of the hour.
WOW! The writer continues:
Jezebel’s witchcraft will attack key leaders in her targeted area through intimidation. Those under attack may awaken one morning to find it takes effort just to breathe. All joy seems to depart. Spiritual life seems irrelevant. Demonic voices will echo in their minds “something’s wrong with you!” They may suddenly find themselves in unreasonable anxiety, fearing tragedy or death. Much of what is called “depression” in the ministry is simply Jezebel!
his is exactly what I had experienced that day I wrote about in the eJournal entry titled A Call to Take Authority. I woke up to a series of mental attacks and didn’t understand why. Later on in the morning, the Holy Spirit told me to “take authority” and I did. In retrospect I now realize that He was preparing for what was to come a few days later (See Stand in Your God-given Authority). Not even realizing it at the time, I submitted to the spirit of intimidation, and as a result, I was knocked out of the spiritual authority God had positioned me in. I immediately began to experience the symptoms of intimidation and each day the symptoms grew progressively worst.
An intimidating spirit unleashes confusion, discouragement and frustration. Its goal is to cause you to lose your proper perspective. Everything will seem overwhelming, difficult or even impossible. The stronger the intimidation, the greater the discouragement and hopelessness. (Breaking Intimidation, Page 48)
These were the very feelings I had experienced; however, what was worst was that the Holy Spirit within me was quenched, the anointing went dormant and the sweet communion with God was interrupted. At the time I still didn’t understand what was going on, I just wanted it to stop. I prayed, repented, rebuked and bound evil spirits, and nothing I did seem to work. It was a few days later when God began to give me insight and revelation as to what was going on. Originally I was looking at what I was experiencing from a “me” perspective, but God then let me know that what I was dealing with was bigger than just me. He began to show me the spirits I was dealing with and have charged me with responsibilities I really can’t say that I wanted. BUT, when you’re used to communing with God and then that’s interrupted, you do whatever it takes to get back into communion.
here are still lots to tell, as this is a meaty subject, and it is one that I will be sharing with you over the weeks to come. What I want to make sure that I leave with you is the absolute awareness that intimidation is in fact a spirit, a spirit that is sent by Satan; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV). Since this spirit is sent by the enemy, we know that the ultimate agenda of this spirit is to kill, steal and destroy all of mankind, especially the saints of God. In effort to help the enemy accomplish his ultimate goal, this spirit, which works closely with the spirit of Jezebel, looks to enter the strong man’s house and plunder his goods; but they must first bind the strong man (Read Mark 3:27 and Matthew 12:25-30).
If the Spirit of God within a believer is quenched, then the believer is in fact bound, and this almost always causes a domino and/or rippling effect. The book I’ve been referencing throughout this entry, Breaking Intimidation, mentions:
What would happen if all believers functioned in their place? What tremendous things we would see. Revival is not for the preachers but for the entire body—when every person takes his position.
Remember, the gift is the ability God gives us. We are not responsible for that which we were not entrusted with. The leg is not responsible for sight. Even so, the will of God can only be accomplished by the enabling of the Spirit. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” (2 Cor. 3:5).
It is the joint operation of these gifts the enemy wants to stop. When successful he can severely hinder out growth! He knows he cannot stop God from giving these gifts, so he is after our freedom to exercise them. Intimidation is the primary way he hinders this. (Page 40)
If there is a spirit other than the Holy Spirit that is controlling a person, family or church, than that person, family or church is in fact bound; and again, this almost always causes a domino and/or rippling effect. The author also makes another valid observation and point:
There are those who bear the title of pastor or leader, yet they are controlled by the manipulation and intimidation of others—usually the people who should be undergirding them, such as wives, associates, board members, deacons, intercessors and so forth. They run the show behind the scenes by controlling the person with the title of leader.
This also happens in homes. Parents are intimidated by their children; husbands are intimidated by their wives. They are not the head of their homes. It is important for a leader to consider the counsel of those around him, whether in his home or his ministry. (Breaking Intimidation, Page 52)
You may be thinking to yourself that you wouldn’t or couldn’t be a victim of such a thing (spirit) or that you would be able to spot such workings (manipulation, control and intimidation) a mile away. However, you must keep in mind that the working of these spirits is often camouflaged and subtle, and they can do an enormous amount of damage for years while going unnoticed. The enemy rarely comes at us in his true form because he knows he would have a fight on his hands. However, coming disguised allows him to do serious damage for long periods of time because your guards are down and unsuspecting.
Below are a few other quotes from the book that I wanted to share in this entry:
People who have strong personalities will use intimidation to make a lie look like the truth. You must stay in the spirit to overcome the strength of such attacks. (Breaking Intimidation, Page 86)
Usually intimidation will accuse you of the very weakness it seeks to hide. Those who act pure outwardly but have an impure heart will always attack the pure in heart. (Breaking Intimidation, Page 87)
Naima- I personally have had this happen to me a lot!
Jesus constantly faced intimidation. The impure Pharisees and lawyers tried to discredit Him or catch Him in His words. If they could only intimidate Him, then they could control Him. So they said He was a traitor, a glutton, a drunkard, and a demon-possessed sinner, which were the very characteristics many of them possessed. By refusing to come under their control, Jesus exposed their hearts.
Why do the impure seek to intimidate the pure? To relieve themselves of conviction and to maintain control. If successful, they don’t have to examine their hearts and repent. (Breaking Intimidation, Page 87)
n closing, I have seen people smilingly admit to being intimidating, not realizing that in essence what they are admitting to is allowing this spirit of fear work through them. For many years of my life, I used to be that way myself. After having the revelation God has shown me, I now understand what this truly is and this spirit can do damage to individuals as well as the body of Christ.
In weeks to come, I will begin sharing on how to break the chains of intimidation from your life. In the interim, if you are serious about learning more about this subject, then I recommend that you read the book titled Breaking Intimidation by John Bevere. He does an excellent job at exposing this spirit in great detail as well as how this spirit has impacted the church. Additionally, you can begin your deliverance out of the world of intimidation by praying the following prayer:
Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus, confessing that intimidation has caused me to stumble. I ask Your forgiveness for thinking of myself as inferior, for I am created in your image, and I am Your workmanship. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is in me. Therefore, the power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me and causes me to face life with hope and divine energy.The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Lord, You said that Your would never leave me or forsake me. Therefore, I can say without any doubt or fear that You are my Helper, and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me. Greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world. If God is for me, who can be against me? I am free from the fear of man and public opinion.Father, You have not given me a spirit of timidity– of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear — but You have given me a spirit of power and of love and of a calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.
1 John 1:9
2 Timothy 1:7
1 John 4:4
(Prayers that Avail Much by Germaine Copeland, page 102)
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
© 2009, Apostle Naima Williams. All rights reserved.