Can you remember the last time you felt timid or fearful? Perhaps you were about to step into something new or take a leap of faith but at the same time you felt deterred? Did someone speak discouragement into your heart and tell you that you couldn’t possibly do that – or maybe that voice was coming from within.
The enemy loves to use intimidation to hold us back from the full potential that God has placed within us. We can recognise intimidation in the face of something that requires great faith and strength when we stay silent when we really want to speak, or we stand back when we know we should be stepping forward.
Nehemiah's enemies had heard that he had rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem, in other words he was reaching his calling and standing in his purpose. While Nehemiah was standing in his purpose the enemy was towering over him in full force.
" ... But they were scheming to harm me; He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me." Nehemiah 6:2, 13
We can never get complacent in our purpose ~ the enemy is always seeking to harm, intimate and discredit.
Nehemiah 6 is a goldmine of wisdom on how to withstand the intimidation of the enemy:
1. Refuse to engage on the enemy’s level
“so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and
cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer” Nehemiah 6:3-4
The enemy was calling Nehemiah away from his purpose, but he refused over and over to engage with the enemy which would have taken focus off his purpose. Keep your focus on your purpose and refuse to stoop to the level of your enemy.
2. Ignore the enemy’s lies and ridiculous claims
“I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” Nehemiah 6:8
What lies are the enemy throwing at you right now? Is the enemy claiming that you are not good enough to complete your purpose, that you heard God wrong, or that this kingdom work is too much for you to carry?
Keep your focus on the truth of who God is and who you are in Him – kick out the lies of the enemy and learn to laugh at their ridiculous claims.
3. Pray for strength to continue the work of God – Stand your ground
“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” Nehemiah 6:9,11
The enemy was using intimidation to try and weaken them in their purpose. If they stayed focused on the fear and the intimidation they would start to back down and back away from their God-given work. Keep your focus on prayer – pray for the strength that only God can give you. He freely gives you His strength when you ask so the work will be complete as you stand your ground.
4. Discern the words of others through the Holy Spirit
“I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.” Nehemiah 6:12
The enemy will speak words that sound so close to truth to try and through you off course. Keep your focus on the Word of God and the truth of God, ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on the right people at the right time that are going to be working with you and not against you.
5. Stay obedient to your purpose
“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.” Nehemiah 6:15
The enemy fights to distract and destroy – to through you off your God-given destiny and purpose. Keep focused on the task at hand, stay obedient to the call of God until the work is done, don’t let the enemy steal your “completed” purpose.
If you're feeling the intimidation of the enemy right now, it's all good - you'e just in your purpose! Stand your ground, hold your head high, and keep living in your full God-given potential.
Elise Heerde is a wife, mother, teacher and writer from Melbourne who loves Jesus and passionately shares about the grace, hope and love that He offers to all. She deeply desires to see the broken made whole, the captives set free and the lost brought home. You can find her instagram account here @her.anchor