This is intentionally putting people in fear of injury or other hurt, in order to persuade them to respond against their wishes. When we give in to such intimidation, we put someone else in a greater place of control in our lives than God. While we are to submit to the authorities of this world we are to obey God in preference to them if they order us to do what is against divine commands, however we must be prepared to accept the consequences for that civil disobedience (Dan 3:17,18; Act 5:29).
The enemies of the Jews tried to prevent the walls of Jerusalem being rebuilt through intimidation, yet in faith and singleness of purpose they kept their eyes on the God-given task while taking logical precautions and completed the job (Neh 2:19,20, 4:1-15, 6:1-14). “If God is for us who can be against us”, so focus on who is for us rather than those against (Rom 8:31-39; 1 Jn 4:4). In NT times the religious leaders attempted to intimidate the apostles, but to no avail (Act 4:16-20,29, 5:40). Paul used force to intimidate the church before his conversion, then after being saved wrote to the believers “…stand firm…without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you” (Act 8:3; Phil 1:28).
Satan uses all sorts of tactics to attack Christians and although he sounds menacing, in effect Christ has removed his teeth and we do not need to give in to his deceptive schemes (Eph 6:10-18; 1 Pet 5:8; 1 Jn 3:8). It is essential to know who we are in Christ, the resources available in Him, to put the spiritual armour on, be in fellowship with other believers and intimately connected to Christ, confident He is in control. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more…” (Lk 12:4,5). Humans may take our earthly life but if we are God’s child, they cannot touch our eternal destiny – Praise God.
Throughout history, persecution with the threat of death has been used to frighten and pressure believers into submission and denying Christ. However, multitudes of martyrs have remained loyal to Christ, forfeiting their lives rather than turning away from Him.
Would I stand for Christ or deny Him to save my physical life?
See also: armour/spiritual, bullying, control, force, manipulation, martyr, persecution, peer pressure, pressure.