Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Confronting Our Very Real Fear of Death

It is very rarely discussed...this fear of death we all carry, or, at least I would assume all of us carry. Of course it is mentioned and even acknowledged, but very rarely is it....exposited. I would say I wonder why that is, but I know why that is, as do we all: We are afraid to talk about our "fear of death" as Christians because to talk about it would be to expose the idea that we are, indeed, afraid of dying, even if we aren't "supposed" to be.

I guess what got this ball rolling was someone recently highlighting Pauls outline of when the last times will be made obvious in its impedance. I couldn't help but notice that, hey, people already act like this, and we are at a very crucial point in our history where relativism is losing popularity. Now, any other time, I'd say that's a good thing. Even a few years ago when I was in high school I would've told you that Christians have a greater chance at evangleism once the stranglehold of relativism is loosed. it's finally getting there. Sam Harris just did a series of lectures on how the world can no longer pretend that everyone's point of view matters and should be considered, because, if this is true, then we should consider the point of view of the members of Al Qaeda. Sam Harris is also an advocate of getting our beliefs about God out of the way. So on the one hand I agree with him completely, on the other hand I oppose him diametrically. But my point is, the forthcoming abolishment of relativism will pave the road for legal and social persecution of Christians. In a certain sense i believe God has allowed relativism to remain so that we as Christians had a bit more time to educate ourselves in his word and to spread the gospel more openly & peaceably before that time eclipsed. Well, guess what?

So now we start to come to a point where our persecution is beginning to fade as simply an idea and evolving into something that's got some flesh to it. So lets go ahead and admit it. This thought makes us tremble. I think the thing that makes us tremble more is a fear that we would recant on our beliefs because we are so scared of death in the very near future. this is a valid fear and it does indeed need fixing and its not okay. its not okay to have it in the church and its not okay to have it in me.

I think we would all agree that none of us, sitting here at our computer screens, want to recant our beliefs. So, I say let us act now before the temptation overtakes us and our flesh deems itself fit for eternity.
First things first. We must must must read our Bibles always if we are to ever rid ourselves of fear of death and fear of apostasy. We must know our God. We must know of his love for us. We must understand it, we must grasp it, me must process it and make it so real that we can feel its touch just as real as the cold steel of a gun to our temples. Its like Christ was making the point to his disciples, we have to make God the ultimate and exigent source of our deepest satisfaction and joy. If we don't we will seek to fill that void with our flesh and in doing so, will allow sin to persuade us that we are doing just that: being satisfied, when indeed we are pouring sand down our throat in a vain effort to quench the thirst of doubt. If we do not read his book, if we do no understand his sovereignty, his love, His absolute Copiousness (see former post, Our Copious Christ,), then we will fail to see a point in adhering to him in the face of a very real death.
Secondly, we must stop listening to our flesh. Tell me something. In a war, would you listen to your enemy when he told you to take a certain action? Ummm....no. Why? Because you would be trusting your enemy to tell you how defeat him!! This makes no sense! Yet everytime we listen to our flesh tell us that it can satisfy, we are doing EXACTLY the same thing. We are asking our flesh to tell us how to defeat our fear of abolishing him/her. Make any sense? If you were flesh, would you tell you how? I wouldn't. So, stop trusting your enemy (your flesh) to tell you how to defeat his army (doubt in God). Go to God instead and ask him to defeat your doubt in him, for in so doing you will acknowledge his power to do so.
I'll never forget someone, maybe John Piper, saying "You become dangerous to the devil when you no longer fear death" Why? Because once you realize that who you are is not in eyes reading this screen, or the fingers typing a reply, or the legs that take you to your car, then you will realize that to lose these things is not to lose yourself, which leads to the first of my last two points.
Once we realize that flesh is simply our encasing and that to be with God will be much much better than our current situation, then we will become less attatched to it (understand in your head that literally the moment you die, you are in a place beyond anything you've ever experienced, and it's gonna be good :) It'll happen the moment you close your eyes for the last time). In order to understand this though, we've got to got to got to get into the mind and heart of God.
Lastly, know that we have the promise of a glorified body and a resurrected one if we perish. We will see these bodies again, they are not forever gone, they are not useless, they were created by God. He holds the keys to death, so if its your or my time to die, then its only because God says so, so let him have your body, so he can embrace you in spirit. Understand the promise.
But what about pain, torture, suffering, loss? I garuntee you that if you stay in scripture, all of these things (and the peace which passes all understanding) will follow.

I love you all as my brothers and sisters in Christ, and am praing for you in this current age. Make your urgency for the gospel.

P.S. I wrote this, as usual out of personal conviction. I came to the realization that I feared death I think more than I loved God, and that's not good. i want it gone. Hence, the post. hence my concern.



Tracy said...

So great to see you blogging again, bud. I applaud (but am not surprised by) your courage in addressing something like this. Unpopular, but necessary.

I read your post a couple of nights ago and it's been rattling around in my head a bit since then. Not even sure how to put words to my thoughts except to say thanks. Couldn't agree with you more about the importance of drawing as close as we can to the Lord, and the unprecedented urgency of the Gospel.

There is truly an indescribable peace that comes from the knowledge that no harm, no disease, no tragedy, no persecution will befall us that hasn't first been allowed by God, the one whose love for us defies human explanation, and yet even then, there can be fear.

For me, I think it comes from the way we see the world changing around us. It's one thing to think oh, things may come to that SOMEDAY... But the changes just in the last couple of years have really awakened us to the realization of indeed how quickly things can change, and the hard reality that we may actually experience these things in our lifetime. It's hard to swallow.

Thanks again for sharing these thoughts. Bringing it to light is definitely a step in the right direction.

I love you & I'm proud of you...

Ian said...

As always, Brennan, your grasp of the spiritual and your ability to create clear, tangible thoughts is an inspiration. Reading this post reminded me of Lewis' "The Problem of Pain"...have you read that? Anyway, his concept of total surrender meshes with yours quite nicely. Okay, so it's God's "concept", but you get my point.

Keep writing! Once every 7 months is not nearly enough for your loyal fans. :)

Brennan said...

haha thanks both of you guys, I appreciate it more than you know

Brennan said...

and i haven't read that, i'll have to check it out