Overcoming the Fear of Death
Our worries about sickness reveal a deeper fear that every human shares: the fear of death. Death is one of the worst consequences of humanity’s original sin. How appropriate, especially this Easter, to remember how after Jesus died on the cross, he rose victorious over death! This excerpt from Oasis book Overcoming Fear of Death by Richard J. Gehman tells us how faith in Jesus overcomes our fear of death.
Whether you live in the East or the West, North or South; whether you live in Europe or Asia, fear of sickness and death is pervasive and seems to be built in human nature.
Within many African traditional cultures, sickness and death are not chance accidents. They happen because others, through jealousy or enmity, have used witchcraft or sorcery to strike at the wellbeing of their enemy. Or it may be that the ancestral spirits have been displeased with their target’s neglect and disregard for ancestral traditions.
Whatever problems arise – famine, accidents, sickness, infertility, miscarriage, or crop failure – the traditional solution was to consult a specialist to determine the cause and solution. Sorcery, witchcraft, witches, curses, evil eye, evil tongue, black magic, or any other form of mystical powers are thought to be the cause. And this leads to heightened fear and horror.
Although Westerners tend to disbelieve in the spirit world, the Bible and cultures in Africa acknowledges its reality. Africans have experienced the powers of darkness. How should a Christian deal with these powers?
Cut all other spiritual ties
Overcoming fear of death requires a complete break with everything and everyone that pertains to other mystical powers. For those who have trafficked in the mystical powers of darkness and have such paraphernalia in their houses, experience has shown that these items must be removed and destroyed during a public service of Christian testimony. Seeking any help from the spirits shows that we do not trust our Father to provide for our needs. Charms of any kind, whether designed to protect or harm magically, should not be utilized by Christians.
Consulting a specialist in the daylight for “good,” or in the darkness of night for “evil” is prohibited. A spirit-possessed person will need to experience total deliverance, the need for which can be seen in a new convert’s inability to grow strong in the Lord, frequently lapsing back into the old ways of African traditional religion. Compromise or ambivalence will only lead to defeat and falling back to the old ways. The Church in Africa has known this for many years.
Stand firm on Christ’s victory
Overcoming fear of death also requires a genuine conversion and an understanding of salvation. Every human being is born into the kingdom of darkness. Following Jesus always includes rescue from the dominion of Satan and the transfer into the kingdom of God. But contemporary churches today do not serve their congregations well when they continue to emphasize the devil instead of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament is generally silent about spirits because it is focused on God Almighty, our Creator. It surely is not preoccupied with demons, and we should not be obsessed with evil spirits either. The New Testament teaches that Satan is a defeated foe.
Christ has triumphed over Satan and all evil spirits through his death and resurrection. All evil spirits are powerless to molest the believer when the believer relies on Christ, the Victor. To be God-centred is to have such confidence in the sovereignty of God that we need not fear spirits or be engrossed with them. Instead of focussing on the devil, meditate on the victory of Christ over death.
Our hope of resurrection
We have a rock-solid hope in our own resurrection from the dead, because not only did Christ die in our place to secure our redemption, he arose from the dead and ascended to heaven where he intercedes for us before the Father (Romans 8:27, 34). The great victory of Christ over sin, death, and all evil was made possible by the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Because Christ died and rose again, we can face tomorrow with joy and confidence.
Because of the hope we have in Christ, we should no longer fear sickness and death. We have access to the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. God’s Spirit dwells in us and can empower us to overcome the powers of darkness and all fears of sickness and death if only we will use the means of grace available to us. God has provided in Christ all that is needed to free believers from the fear of death. Hallelujah!
This excerpt is taken from Overcoming Fear of Death by Richard J. Gehman. Learn more about being secure in our relationship with Jesus Christ and understanding the priceless privileges we have as children of God from the book, available on Amazon.