How does one overcome the fear of death?
Recently heard a testimony of Josef Tson who returned to communist Romania from England. The Lord was, he said, sending him as a lamb in the midst of the wolves. He reasoned that it is plain suicide if the wolves were in control. But the fact was, His shepherd was in control, and the wolves could not touch him until the Lord granted it.
The first time his life was threatened, They said that they were going to kill him the next day. Josef responded by saying that wouldn't be a very smart thing to do. They asked why. He said, he was a pastor and his tapes were spread all over Romania. Once they killed him, blood would be sprinkled over every tape so that everyone would listen to his tapes more. The next day they released him!
At another point, he was to be interrogated over several weeks. Each day he had to walk from his home imprisonment to the cell where he would be interrogated. They had two guards that took turns beating him and trying to get him to change his position. One time one guard had to go, and he was left alone with one guard.
The guard mentioned that this must be the worse time in his life for him. Josef responded by saying something radically different than expected. Josef said that it was not the worse time but the sweetest time. He continued by saying that it was very sweet to come and be interrogated. The guard asked what he meant.
Josef simply but powerfully said that he had the opportunity to meet the Lord each day and pray for his guards every morning. Love was filling his heart rather than hate. The guard was seized with shock. He confessed he enjoyed seeing Josef each day. Soon afterwards, he was relieved of this interrogation.
Once you don't fear death, nothing can control you. Satan has lost his last bluff. We do not seek death. But one can live in the threat of death and not be anxious. Fear does not need to rule us. As Paul said, to be with the Lord is better than life here on earth.
(Summarized from notes of Josef's video lecture. 3/2002)
The truth of God's Word leads us to overcome the fear of death! If someone wants to know a good reason to become a Christian, here it is. We will make 4 observations from Hebrews 2:14-15.
"Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." Hebrews 2:14,15
People were enslaved
Slavery through the fear of death is commonplace. People would do anything not to die! When a person has no heaven to go to, dying is the worse thing possible. This fear still rules most of the people on earth, even needlessly many Christians. One serves whom he fears.
... through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
The devil prided himself in his power of death. He gained control of all of mankind through Adam's disobedience. Once Adam served Satan, he and his descendants all became his servants.
... who had the power of death, that is, the devil.
God sent Christ in human form so that He could die and strip the devil of his power over death.
... He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death.
When we believe in Christ, we no longer need to fear death because Christ died for us. We now have life eternal. God is in control of my life now and when I go to be with Him.
... might deliver those ...
"Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead ... for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory." 2 Timothy 2:8-10
Many Christians are still wrongly living under the fear of death. They are not set free by the truth that death no longer is in Satan's hands but their loving Father's hands.
Sometimes God allows His children to suffer pain, suffering and even martyrdom so that they can share in the sufferings of Christ. It is like Jesus said, "I will build my church" by my cross and your cross. You might be asked to die for Christ.