Standing Strong Through the Storm - Friday, February 21, 2014

FEAR OF DEATH

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Satan uses and plays on one of the basic elements and instincts of our nature—fear. It is natural for finite man to fear—especially the fear of the unknown, the fear of being hurt and the fear of death. There is nothing more Satan would like than to see us paralyzed with fear just like King Saul when facing the Philistines and Goliath.

Why do we allow fear to be so controlling? On the one hand, we have past experiences that we don’t want to relive and on the other hand, we are very hesitant about what might lay ahead. But often the events and situations creating most fear in people have no basis in reality.

All fear is based on perception. Thus fear has been described in the English language as an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” If we could consciously remember this, it would help us to allay many fears. But that false evidence sometimes is so convincing! However, we must always realize that dread and fear—like other tactics of the enemy—are based on a lie. This is why throughout the scriptures we are repeatedly commanded—366 times—to “fear not.” It is intensely liberating for our witness when we personally overcome the fear of death. This allows us to focus on Christ and His kingdom.

Living as a Christian under Romania’s dictatorship posed extreme difficulties and dangers. Even though Rev. Joseph Tson had counted the cost and served the Lord and His flock faithfully, he feared the day that he would be called in by security. He knew the possibility of facing death was inevitable.

The day that Joseph feared arrived. Security officers arrived at his home one day and took him to their headquarters. He was instructed to sit on a chair and a gun was put to his head. “The choice is easy,” came the commander’s voice. “Deny Jesus or we pull the trigger.”

This was indeed the moment that Joseph feared all through his ministry. But suddenly the Spirit of the Lord filled his whole being. “If you kill me today you will do me a great favor. All my sermons that were recorded will be in great demand because I will be a martyr for Christ. You will help me greatly to share my messages. You will also help me to go to my Lord quickly!” Joseph fearlessly replied.

The officer dropped the gun. “You Christians are crazy,” he shouted and then commanded the officers to take Joseph back home.

Joseph’s life was spared but in a sense he lost it that day. “Never again did I fear what man can do to me. Never again did I fear to lose my life,” Joseph concluded.

RESPONSE: Today I will not allow Satan’s favorite tactic of fear and intimidation to conquer me in any way.

PRAYER: Lord, enable me to overcome the fear of physical death as I realize that I am already dead to myself in You. May this be true today too for believers in conflict zones of our world.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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