For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP
When I went to the dentist recently to have some work done on a broken tooth, the temporary cap that he placed in my mouth was very uncomfortable. I was reluctant to tell my dentist about it because I was a new patient, and I really didn't want to complain. So I pleaded with the Lord and asked Him to remove the pain and discomfort. As I prayed, I got the distinct impression that God wanted me to confront my dentist about it. After an unsettling night, I called my dentist's office and asked for an appointment for that same day. As I sat in the waiting room reading a magazine, I came upon an article urging patients to be completely honest with their doctors about their true concerns. I was certain that this was confirmation from the Lord, and I asked Him to give me the strength, the courage, and the words I needed to confront my dentist. As soon as he called me into his office, I gently but firmly shared my concerns and complaints with him, and he promptly corrected the problem so that I noticed an immediate improvement.
I believe that God used this experience to teach me yet another lesson about how important it is for me to face certain situations and people with openness and honesty. The Bible clearly states that we are not to let others intimidate us, but even so, I confess that there are times when I really struggle with this issue. And I'm not the only one. I know a lot of believers who have the same problem. Why does God frown on our being intimidated by people and situations? Because He knows that as long as we are being influenced by anyone or anything other than His Spirit, Satan can easily manipulate us and sidetrack us with things that are out of God's will for us. Many of us will be called by God to assume positions of authority. We can't expect Him to promote us to higher places until we've proven that we aren't going to be controlled by the plans and expectations of others. When the Lord promotes us, it's so that we can fulfill His purposes and please Him, not others or ourselves. And that should always be our focus.
The experience I shared with you wasn't exactly a monumental one, but I do believe that it was a test that God used to help me overcome some of the fears I've had all my life. Proverbs 29:25 TLB says: "Fear of man is a dangerous trap, but to trust in God means safety." I've learned that our fear of man can be so subtle that we don't even realize it exists in our lives. In order to avoid confronting others, we may try to justify or accept certain wrong situations or someone else's unacceptable behavior. We then resolve ourselves to tolerating something that God wants us to deal with. This avoidance is disobedience, and it will keep us from receiving God's best. The Bible says: "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) We are equipped with Holy Spirit power to supernaturally confront and overcome intimidating people and situations. But we need to exercise that ability and develop it daily through our everyday experiences. We can take great comfort in knowing that each time we make the decision to confront instead of run away, God will back us up with all the wisdom and strength we need to triumph over our anxieties and fears, and to gain the victory in our situation. In Matthew 10:20 TLB, the Lord promises: "You will be given the right words at the right time." That day when I was pleading with the Lord to grant me relief from my mouth pain, He made it clear that He wasn't going to give me an easy way out. Now I'm glad He didn't. He taught me a valuable lesson that day, and He gave me the opportunity to position myself for great blessing and promotion. The next time you're in a tight spot with no easy way out, make up your mind to obey the Lord, and declare with the prophet Isaiah--"Because the Lord God helps me, I will not be dismayed; therefore, I have set my face like flint to do His will, and I know that I will triumph"! (Isaiah 50:7 TLB)
Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for the times that I took the easy way out instead of obeying You. Give me the wisdom and the courage I need to confront those people and situations You want me to deal with. Thank You for the joy, peace, and freedom I'll experience as a result!
- J. M. Farro