Scripture: “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7.
What are you afraid of, and why are you afraid?
At this time of year, people throughout the ages have felt spooked when the summer’s time of plenty gives way for the coldness and death of greenery that come in late autumn. Ancient Celts believed that the line between the worlds of the dead and living became blurred during this season. After Christianity took hold, people in those regions still held on to superstitions. They fought their fears with costumes, lanterns, and community events.
But God tells us that we don’t need superstition. He has conquered all evil – even death – and we, as His children, have nothing to fear!
Through the Bible, God warns us to beware of evil: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We have to be on the lookout for all kinds of evil. We don’t want to be taken by surprise; we want to “watch and pray”. However, we know that we don’t have to fear, because God also tells us in Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” We can rely on our loving Father to protect us when evil and danger appear! If someone or something is attacking us, we know we’re “in the right”, and can easily remember to pray against that kind of evil. But what about the evil within – when we give in to the temptation to sin? We Christians are still human, and through that humanity, we have inherited a sinful nature. And there’s nothing we ourselves can do to keep from having to pay the penalty for sin – death: “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) As sinners, we must rely on God’s grace for forgiveness and salvation. We can depend ONLY on our Lord to save us. Jesus took all our sin onto Himself and paid the price – death and separation from the Father!
But we know that the grave COULD NOT hold our Lord! Because Jesus is part of God, the power of God worked a miracle so strong, that Christ triumphed over death, emerging from His tomb after the three days.
Do you love your life so passionately that you’d hang on to it, no matter what? As Christians, we are instructed to follow Christ’s example: to be willing to let go of, or even sacrifice, our earthly lives, because we know that the eternal life that comes after is even better.
The Apostle Paul gave us an example of a good attitude about this: “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” (Philippians 3:10-11)
Paul’s words reinforce for us that we have nothing to fear – nothing bad on earth, even death, can compare with God’s glory in eternal life. The life of Jesus calls us to be His passionate followers, loving and trusting Him, clinging to Him more than our earthly lives.
We trust Jesus to take the guilt of our sin away by the sacrifice of His death. Therefore, we can trust His promise to fulfill God’s purpose after our earthly deaths. Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die.” John 11:25-26
What a miracle; what a promise!
One of the first steps of becoming a Christian is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that the miracles of His life, death, and resurrection can teach us to live righteous lives, guarantee the forgiveness of our sins, and promise us the life everlasting at His side, in Heaven. He told us that when we believe in Him and strive to live our lives righteously, as He did, He will conquer death in us.
Jesus gave us the ultimate examples of faith; prayer; loving; cooperating, or working together, with friends; and more. His was a sinless existence. And although we still might sin sometimes because of our humanity, we can try to live lives like Jesus’s, following God’s will even to death, without needing to fear it.
God has given us a marvelous gift. We can live our lives in freedom from the bondage of sin! Although we were born into sin and death as our human inheritance, God has adopted us as His children, and we have a new inheritance.
St. Paul wrote that, “Just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another Man.” (1 Corinthians 15:21).
Jesus takes us from the legacy of death into the legacy of rebirth and life everlasting. Because of all this, we MUST live in a way that is pleasing to God. We want to please our Father. Since He has given us so much, we must eagerly give our lives back to Him. We have a new inheritance, a rebirth; we no longer live in sin and face death. Let our earthly lives reflect our heavenly lives! St. Paul summed it up: “Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
* The Prayer, Care and Share Jesus (PCS) series is a guide to help you PRAY and CARE for others and SHARE your faith in Jesus *
Your PRAY NOW Challenge: "LORD, I know that you have conquered all evil. You love me and that I have nothing to fear from life. "
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Will you pray this week:
• To thank God that He has overcome all evil and death
• That God will help us be alert for attacks by the evil one
• That God will give you and our community courage to grasp God’s promise of His being with us – so we don’t have to fear
• To praise God for the miracles of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection
• That we will live to glorify God
Where can you go to talk about fear and freedom from it? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!