A few years ago, my wife and I were awakened by what we thought were two dogs fighting. Getting up, I traced the fierce barking and growling to our front porch. When I peered through the glass storm door, I could see two dogs straining to reach something that was under the glider along the wall. Unnoticed by the preoccupied canines, I quietly slipped on to the porch and carefully peeked underneath. While I was relieved that it was not a skunk, I was saddened to discover that the object of the dog's aggression was a little cat. Petrified, the wide-eyed feline was pressing herself tightly against the wall just out of reach of their snouts. Turning my attention back to the dogs, I wielded my shoe, stomped my foot, and yelled, “Get out of here.” Startled, they looked up at me, took a last look at the cat, and then bolted off the porch.
Once the dogs were gone, I tried to gently coax the traumatized cat out from underneath the glider. My slowly extended hand and softly spoken, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty," clearly offered no reassurance. Knowing it would probably shred my hand with its claws if I physically tried to pull it out, I reluctantly gave up and went back to bed.
As I lay there pondering the predicament of the cat, I Peter 5:8 popped into my mind, "That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour" (AMP). "That is exactly what the dogs were doing," I thought, "holding that poor cat hostage under the glider." Continuing to reflect, it struck me that sometimes the enemy of our soul likes to do the same thing when we step out in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Often when we rise up to follow God's leading, the enemy releases dogs of fear and intimidation who bark lies and growl threats.
In his book titled Breaking Intimidation, John Bevere writes, “The objective of intimidation is to restrain you from action, and coerce or force you into submission. Intimidation wants to overwhelm you with a sense of inferiority and fear. Once you’ve retreated into submission, either knowingly or unknowingly, you are a servant of the intimidator.”
Perhaps today, you feel like you are “the cat under the glider.” Know that there is freedom and release in the name of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive our thoughts to make them obedient to Christ.”
Fear and intimidation are pretenses that set themselves up against our knowledge of God. In the face of those lying dogs, God’s invitation is to wield the Sword of the Spirit by speaking the Truth. In The Message, James 4:7-8 is paraphrased, "So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time." You see, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).
Now, for the rest of the story. In the morning, I was delighted to discover that "the cat under the glider" was gone: free from the barking and growling of fear and intimidation!
May you be diligent in prayer, attentive to the Holy Spirit's promptings, and walk freely in joyful obedience to Christ to the glory of God the Father. You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you in the face of “all these things” (Romans 8:37).