Intimidation: How the devil brings us down
Combat has fascinated men for centuries. In former years, it was about conquering and ruling, survival and breaking the yoke. It was a way of life men were born into, in a culture where strength and honor were valued and men could live out what the builder baked into their foundation.
The longing for strength trickles through the barrier of modern life in the form of ESPN, boxing and, rising fast in reach and value, the UFC. When boxing was first organized in the early nineteenth century, there were no standard weight classes. 230 lbs machines would fight little guys who’d weigh in at 150 lbs soaking wet. Those fights usually didn’t last very long and the outcome was easy to predict.
Mass and muscles of the big guy can be a huge advantage but only if both opponents have a decent technique to go with. Since boxers should know how to box, weight classes were a logical conclusion to tackle this problem.
Outside of professional fighting, however, judging a person’s ability to fight based on their size can be very dangerous. A big guy without technique will look like the clear favorite against a little guy. He will flex and roar, puff himself up and do everything to get into his opponent’s head. He wants to break the little guy’s confidence before even the first fist is thrown.
The devil’s strategy is very similar to that (1 Peter 5:8). He marches around like a roaring lion but it comes down to it, the devil knows that he has already been defeated. If he can strike fear into our hearts and distract us from who we are, we lose.
He’s like the backyard bully, the loud kid who doesn’t know when to stop. He uses intimidation to strike us with fear. It works a lot of times and we give up without a fight. He looks big and powerful and like the Israelites faced with the giants in the promised land, we think we are weak without receiving a single bruise.
Our reality is what we believe
When they entered the promised land, the spies who were sent to scour out the land reported it was occupied by the Nephelines. ”We seemed like Grasshoppers in our own eyes”, they said. “And we look the same to them.” Those guys were afraid to even though they knew God was on their side.
They have seen the parting of the sea, they were witnesses of God’s great miracles in Egypt. After all of this, they were afraid and spread their opinion throughout the whole camp. As a result, none of the Israelites were able to enter into the calling God had for them. (Numbers 32:11) Except for Caleb and Joshua, every adult of that first generation died off.
So why did Caleb enter? It was because of his faith. He believed in his God and he was not afraid to share it with the rest of Israel:
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
And of course, we know the story of Caleb claiming his mountain. He was 85 years old when Joshua blessed him to go and fight the “great fortified cities of Anakim”. He knew that his God would be with him and as the story goes, the mountains fell.
Who is by our side?
No matter the size of our enemy, we can send him to sleep because Christ is in us. We have the promises of Jesus and we have John’s revelation of the end. We are urged to have faith like Abraham (Hebrews 11) because our destiny hangs on our trust in God.
Faith is a mindset that will stir our lives through difficulty and mold our character into the image of Christ. As we see his faithfulness when we step out, our faith will grow and our confidence in his power will increase.
So will we have faith like Caleb and enter into our destiny? Will we take risks and trust our God? Or will we perish like the spies whose names will forever be forgotten?
Our destiny begins with a choice.