“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
There are several TV evangelists that preach from a position of ‘The end is near! Come to Jesus before it’s too late!’ Fear is a great motivator. It can motivate us to act quickly, like running out of a burning building. Or, it can motivate us to do nothing, like standing on the edge of a pool as we are about to jump into it for the first time. Fear keeps us out of trouble sometimes, but it also keeps us from some of our greatest opportunities. Pretty powerful stuff, fear is. We calculate our options, consider the consequences and determine if fear will rule the day, or moment, or lifetime.
Death – for most of us – is life’s greatest fear. So it is no wonder that when anyone, be it TV preacher, dooms-day preppers, or Sci-Fi writers talk about the end of the world, it gets our attention. Funny thing about the end of this world – it’s inevitable. Strictly from a purely scientific viewpoint – it’s gonna happen. Sooner or later the sun is going to explode and the earth is going to perish. And when you think about it, as Jim Morrison once penned, ‘the future’s uncertain and the end is always near.’ Every day is one day less we have on this earth one way or another. According to the CIA, every day is ‘the end of the world’ for 154,889 people. So, if we know for a fact that our world here is going to end, either catastrophically or individually, why aren’t most of us doing anything about it? Sure you can decide to ignore it, a lot of people do. But ignoring it or denying doesn’t make it go away. Remember death and taxes…both are inevitable.
But here’s the good news. Death is actually an inevitable event that we can actually affect to the positive for ourselves and for others. I don’t mean that we can put off the death of our physical selves, but we can impact what happens after-the-fact. So why then do most people spend more time planning their next vacation or their retirement than they do considering their after-life? What are people really afraid of? Here is a brief list of possible excuses:
- I don’t want to think about it…It’s depressing (It’s actually just the opposite, once you understand what God has in store for us you will never be depressed again.)
- I don’t really believe in an after-life – I would like to but I don’t. (Belief comes with some effort, like anything worthwhile. If you put in the time you will come to believe. I can show you how.)
- I’m young and have plenty of time to think about it. (The truth is age is no true indicator of longevity. Sadly, a lot of people die ‘before their time’.)
- I don’t think I am worthy enough to get to Heaven. (None of us, including Mother Theresa, are worthy enough to get to Heaven. God’s grace and our belief get us to Heaven.)
- I said I don’t believe and don’t want to consider/admit that I may be wrong. (If your intention in life is to never having to admit you were wrong, good luck.)
- Believing in God or Heaven, or the after-life is not cool. (You need to find yourselves some new friends, because there is nothing ‘cool’ about the alternatives.)
- I’m too busy. (Really? Time is never an excuse for anything. We choose what we do with our time.)
- I don’t want to be disappointed. (Think how disappointed you are going to be the second after you die and realize the mistake you just made. God never disappoints His children if we believe He knows what is best for us.)
There are probably a few more I’ve left out, but for most of us it is just a matter of where your level of belief is, and what we discussed previously. The greater your level of belief or faith, the less likely you are digging a bomb shelter or stock-piling food and water in storage lockers. Once you get your trust aligned with God’s will (see last week’s post ‘The true measure of your belief’) you begin to understand the futility of fear, and the obligation you have to help others conquer it. A life without fear is a beautiful gift. Next Sunday is Easter. God’s gift of His Son as a suffering servant for the sake of our ability to once and for all live without fear is the greatest gift we can ever receive and all we need to do is accept it…and then share it. And sharing it is how we express our gratitude to God for giving us this gift. So now, what exactly are you waiting for?