"Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying." (Hebrews 2:15 NLT)
We all know that confidence is one of the most important attributes we can display. Employers look for it. Romantic partners look for it. Co-workers look for it.
If confidence is so important for our success in life, why do we do often not have it? In the last few devotionals, I've shared with you some of the roadblocks to confidence that were evident in the lives of the disciples right after the Crucifixion. They were a mess. The first two roadblocks to confidence we can see in their lives were fatigue and failure. The third roadblock — and the most critical — is fear.
The Bible says in John 20:19, "The disciples met together locked behind closed doors in fear of the Jewish leaders" (TLB). The first disciples had seen what happened to Jesus, and they were afraid they were next.
They were playing the "what-if"game. Do you ever do that? "What if I fail? What if I never get married? What if I get cancer?"
What do we worry about the most? Death! People don't want to talk about death. It's the last taboo. Invite some people home after church, and then, over coffee, say, "Let's talk about death." Watch what happens.
When some children were asked to write sentences about what they believed about death, here's what they said:
Gilda, age 8: "When you die, they put you in a box and bury you in the ground because you don't look too good."
Stephanie, age 9: "Doctors help you so you won't die until you pay their bill."
Marsha, age 9: "When you die, you don't have to do homework in Heaven unless your teacher is there also."
Raymond, age 10: "A good doctor can help you so you won't die. A bad doctor sends you to Heaven."
But the most important message of the Bible is that death isn't the end of you. You don't have to fear it, because Jesus conquered it. Because Jesus died on the cross for you and was raised from the dead to conquer death, you can know for sure that you'll spend eternity in Heaven. Hebrews 2:15 tells us, "Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying" (NLT).
I'm not afraid of dying, because I know where I'm going.
Talk About It
Are you afraid of death? If so, what is that fear based on?
How would your life be different if you embraced death as a homecoming and celebration instead of a dark and uncertain unknown?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.