How to Become Ineffective

"While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, 'Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.'" (Matt 9:32-33 NIV)

People were amazed! Jesus could not stop Himself from helping others. His goal reached far beyond spreading the Good News message. He cared for others and for their needs. Never was anyone sent back with the words: "Sorry, I don't have time for you." He healed everyone and anyone: "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people." (Matt 4:23 NIV)

However, not everybody was enthusiastic about Jesus' endeavors. The devil had unsuccessfully tempted Jesus when He was the weakest (see Matthew 4:1-11), now he would encourage his earthly adherents to use a different kind of weapon: intimidation: "But the Pharisees said, 'It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.'" (Matt 9:34 NIV)

It is amazing that Jesus did not stop healing people with such accusations. Such allegations were meant as intimidations to render Him powerless in His endeavors.

I still remember being a new immigrant to the United States. I am originally from Belgium, and I had always been taught to be gallant. One day, while entering the library of the university in Michigan that I was attending, I noticed a girl walking behind me. I didn't notice her because of her looks, for my mind was completely engulfed in my homework; I noticed her as someone who needed the door held open for her. I was flabbergasted by her response!

"Who do you think you are? I can do this myself."

For the next few months, I never opened the door for anyone. Why? I had become intimidated by false accusations.

Another time when I was trying to help someone, the response I received went like this: "Who do you think you are? My mother?" Even working hard seemed to be against the "law of ethics" at this university. I would overhear people saying: "We can see HE wants a promotion!"

These kinds of intimidations tend to render you powerless if you let them, and at first, I let them!

But Jesus didn't let himself become intimidated. He continued to be what God wanted Him to be, and so should we! All attempts at intimidation are attempts to hinder our growth into the person God wants us to become.

Moreover, Jesus gave us authority. Let's use it! "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." (Luke 10:19 NIV) Let us walk in our God-given authority, otherwise someone will take it from us and use it against us!

The devil will do anything to displace us in order to regain the authority Jesus stripped from him, and intimidation and discouragement are two of his most effective weapons. Let's not fall into His traps. Instead, let's remember where we stand: "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." (Eph 2:6 NIV) Nothing can move us from our God-given authority unless we let it!

I still face intimidation on a daily basis; however I believe God's promises and I stand on HIS power so that I do not fall under ITS power. The following words, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, led me to victory: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom 8:38-39 NIV)

So come on in! I will hold the door open for you, no matter what your reaction!

Rob Chaffart

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