I feel a little like an expert on our topic today. At the young age of 7 my papa died. Death. What does a 7-year-old understand about death? Very little. It was a scary thing. Sometime soon after, I had my first anxiety attack – petrified of dying. I was 7! I still can see that night in my mind’s eye. That initial fear of dying was the beginning of a journey for me that lasted into my 20s and 30s. For the next three decades, on and off, I had seasons of anxiety and fear. I know I was an extreme case but I know there are many people that suffer from fear and fear of death even in their 60s, 70s and 80s. I know because I have talked to them.
I want to consider this topic in light of our 2016 summer theme: Facing the future with CONFIDENCE.
What threatens our ability to face the future with confidence? Doubt and fear. Isn’t a lack of confidence, uncertainty sitting on a foundation of fear? It seems to me that to face the future with confidence we need to put fear to death.
From where I sit, from my own personal experience, my counseling experience and the Bible, fear is a part of being human. Over and over again God tells us “do not be afraid; do not fear” — over 100 times in the Bible.
So how do we put fear to death? The answer to that could take a book but here are a few thoughts in the right direction.
#1. It is vital that fear of death itself no longer holds sway over us. Being a Christian can settle this for many but some continue in bondage for years. Those that remain in bondage to the fear of death fail to fully grasp Hebrews 2:14-14 “…through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” For the believer, death is not the end but the beginning of something far more wonderful than we can imagine. It takes faith to believe and trust God and take Him at His word.
#2. Fear and faith are diametrically opposed to each other. Fear may come but claim the promises of God and trust Him to keep His word – choosing faith overcomes fear. It requires knowing the truth and choosing to believe it despite how you feel. Stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself by telling yourself the truth. Don’t give fear any oxygen to fan its flame into a raging fire. Squelch it when it is still a spark. Faith will douse the spark.
#3. Put on Love. What? What’s love got to do with it? Well, this I know. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18. Fear is inward, love is outward. Force yourself to step out in faith, trust the Spirit to empower you to put love in action.
I trust this will give you some food for thought today. You can face the future with confidence by first putting fear to death.
Diane Hunt served for 16 years on the staff of America’s Keswick until recently when she and her husband relocated to North Carolina. She now continues serving as a contributing writer and Partner Care consultant. Diane is also a Biblical Counselor, speaker, teacher, and author. She delights in the opportunities she has as a women’s conference and retreat speaker to share from God’s word. Many of her illustrations are drawn from her relational experiences as a wife, mother, and mema. They are the very relationships that bring her the greatest joy and the most fun!