When You’re Feeling Intimidated


2 Timothy 1:6-7 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.


Timothy was a young minister working in a situation where strong voices were spreading unsound doctrine. It seems that Timothy may have had a gentle spirit and have been intimidated by the older and more forceful voices. Foundational to tackling that which seemed to hinder Timothy’s minister, was love. The gift of God was Timothy’s love for God, that filled him to overflowing. He had entered into a covenant of grace, to serve as Jesus’ ambassador on earth, and affirmed by the laying on of hands. He was to remember that moment, and live his life in confidence. 

The presence of the Holy Spirit in Timothy’s life had been evidenced by those around him. Timothy should not feel intimidated, nor should he fear those who disagreed with him. Filled by the Holy Spirit, he was to do his work with confidence. At the same time he was to participate in the effort, by showing self-discipline, pressing forward, and expressing love to those who may disagree with him. 


It’s easy to feel intimidated when you’re young, and you don’t have a lot of confidence. Actually, you don’t even have to be young, because this is an affliction that can attack people of all ages. You want to please people and yet, when confronted with something that just doesn’t seem right, you’re not quite sure what to do. Living life nervously and with anxiety becomes commonplace in our stress-filled world. 

There are many reasons to feel intimidated. Sometimes it’s because someone has more knowledge and experience than you have. Other times it’s because someone is wielding power against you and you’re not quite sure why. Manipulation and threats, physical, emotional and sexual, may cause paralyzing fear and the contemplation of capitulation. All of the above can keep us from accomplishing that which God wants to do in and through our lives.

While the NRSV uses the word “cowardice,” others use the word “timidity.” For many of us, we may just find ourselves on a continuum somewhere between those two words. But then we are reminded of the transformational and empowering work of God’s Holy Spirit. The infilling presence of the Holy Spirit does not leave room for a spirit of cowardice. Instead of being intimidated, one continues to live into the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that exudes grace-filled love. The one who is intimidating probably has their own issues and may just need us to be pastoral in our response. That doesn’t mean that we submit to them, but graciously in love stand up for what is right, and for truth. It is in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit that we are able to do more than we could ever imagine, and face the giants that normally leave us trembling. 

Self-discipline must be part of our response, for we will only be empowered, if we take the time to be re-energized by the Spirit. Just as we must go to the gas station to fill up the car so that it will have the fuel to continue on its mission, so we must fill our spiritual tanks by spending time in God’s holy presence. Then, we must be disciplined to walk with the Lord out into a needy world and face those who may try to be intimidating. 

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Sedith, who reminded me what it means to be focused, self-disciplined and empowered by the Holy Spirit. 

Sunday dinner at the Sedith home. 

Her husband and daughter, Eunice, co-pastor the Toekomsrus church just outside of Johannesburg. It began in their garage and today they have a building that is filled to overflowing. Many of those who come to the church are there as a result of Mrs. Sedith, who has refused to be intimidated. She goes into the taverns and prays for God to lead her to someone. She teaches a “Way-Side” Sunday School out on the streets and today there are preachers in the church who were rescued because of her tenacity. She has been chased by someone with an axe, and prayed with the local Witch-Doctor to come to Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit oozes from this woman, who refuses to be a coward, but has an incredible spirit of love and self-discipline. 

Pastor Eunice leading the service. 

Intimidation comes in many forms, but there is a cure. Soak in the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, and then plan the work — and work the plan! To God be the glory. 


Lord, I want to be like Mrs. Sedith when I grow up. Amen. 


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