Beyond Intimidation

I'd like to talk about some ways we can be intimidated, and what we can do about it: Have You Given Satan the Upper Hand?, Has Your Job Gotten the Better of You?, and Holy Fireworks!

Have You Given Satan the Upper Hand? I went to calling hours for someone I knew at work for seven years. She died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 56. When someone dies, you never seem to have the right words to express how you feel: either to comfort someone else or to express your own sorrow. A touch of the hand or a hug may best convey your message.

My approach to life is uncomplicated. In fact, my manner is quite simple. The simpler the solution, the better. I sometimes believe that a simple hug can cure just about anything. My articles may give an in-depth discussion of a topic and may go into great detail when I unravel complicated mysteries. That is to peel off the layers of Satan's lies.

Satan tries to convince us that we must build up layers of complicated reasoning to get the most out of religion. He wants us to believe that a relationship with God is difficult and complicated, because such a complex relationship would be unattainable to most. But I believe we must approach God in a simple manner, in total honesty. I try to uncomplicate or simplify matters in my articles. I try to be open and honest. And I try to point out how Satan may try to fool us.

When we meet a new person, we try to put our best foot forward. We try to show our better side. Then, little by little, as we learn to trust our new acquaintance, we start to reveal our flaws. When the person has earned our trust enough that we feel comfortable telling him anything, he is no longer merely an acquaintance. He has become a friend.

Satan wants us to think we must develop a relationship with God as we do our friends: we must put our best foot forward and try to hide our sins from God, until we get to know Him better. But this approach is too complicated. We must base our relationship with God on total honesty. God is already our friend. He has already earned our trust. And God already loves us, even though He is fully aware of our sins.

When life seems too complicated, or a relationship with God seems too difficult to obtain, consider this. Are you being totally honest with God? Is God really any further away, or any harder to reach? Or has Satan just fooled you?

Has Your Job Gotten the Better of You? I heard part of a radio program that discussed job stress, commonly referred to as burn out. I would like to pass along and expand upon what I heard. The speakers explained that burn out can happen to anyone, whether you are employed outside the home or are a housewife. What causes stress or burn out? The speakers thought the number one cause of stress is bitterness and anger. Stressed-out people usually have pent-up hostility toward their situation. They feel they have been wronged or cheated. A stressed-out person may think, "They expect too much of me and don't give me what I need to do it right. Others have it better than I do. I am not appreciated."

What remedies were offered for stress or burn out? They gave the following advice. Don't be so preoccupied with your job. While at work, do the best job that you can, as though you were working for the Lord. Then when you go home at the end of the day, leave your job at work. Go home and work on your relationship with your spouse. And play with your kids. Also, review the following checklist.

Spiritual Pray. Study the Bible every day. Memorize verses and apply them to your life. Let the Word of God be as a soothing balm to your spirit. And find an area of service where you can use the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you.

Physical Exercising three times a week (a sport, an exercise program, or just long walks) helps to relieve pent-up frustrations. Eat right. Exercise and proper nutrition have many positive health benefits, and even change your blood chemistry. This will make you feel healthier, more energetic and more alert, improving your ability to cope with stress.

Psychological If things are bothering you, don't let your anger and bitterness build up inside until it explodes. Diffuse that volcano by venting your feelings to a friend on a regular basis. You will find that the more you talk about it, the less it will bother you. Eventually, the more you talk about it, the less you will need to talk about it. But you cannot expect your friend to solve your problems for you. Let it be enough that he cares enough to listen. That is how your friend can help the most, by showing he cares.

Holy Fireworks! Paul discussed the letters he wrote to friends and churches. (2 Cor 10:1-11) "By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you-- I, Paul, who am 'timid' when face to face with you, but 'bold' when away!" That sounds like me! Why do I find it easier to be bold in an article than in person? Let me turn that question around. Why do YOU find it easier to ALLOW ME to be bold in an article than in person?

An article is not a face-to-face confrontation. It is much less threatening to read an article (or open letter) that was written to everyone. When I deal with a sensitive issue, you can say I am talking to someone else. Yet, if you choose to respond to the article, you can respond to it at your own pace, when convenient for you, and in the privacy of your home. It is easier for you that way. And it is safer for you that way. Although we all crave love, attention, and affection, our culture has a great fear of intimacy. Our culture has confused "intimate" with "intimidate".

If you desire a more intimate relationship with God's spirit, my articles should be merely a starting point in your search for intimacy. You must have personal devotions (daily Bible study and prayer). And don't settle for "paper", when you can have "people"! These articles, on paper, are no substitute for fellowship with real, flesh-and-blood people. Become more intimate with God's spirit by becoming more intimate with God's people.

Paul had more to say about being bold. "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ... For some say, 'His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.' Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present."

As I watched the Fourth of July fireworks, I thought, "Why do Christians need artificial, man-made fireworks? We have the real thing from the Holy Spirit!" Be timid no more! Don't go to a fireworks display to see artificial, man-made "fire-works". Be bold and see the real thing! Display the "fire" of the Holy Spirit in your "works"!

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