Fear and Death
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21
How fearful are you of death?
We are living in the midst of a pandemic. It’s can be a scary time, but the truth is that illness, injury, and death are all around us all the time. This isn’t new. It’s been like this since man’s fall into sin in the Garden of Eden.
There is a level of awareness of danger that can lead to reasonable caution. We look before we cross the street. We go to the doctor when we feel sick and so on. However, if we aren’t careful, that awareness of danger can take us past caution into fear.
In our passage for today, Paul writes an astounding statement.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.“
Paul was in prison because of the Gospel and he was awaiting sentencing. That sentencing could very well have been death and there were no more appeals. Instead of descending into fear, he found joy and hope. Why?
It’s All About Jesus
For Paul, it was all about Jesus and the Gospel. If he died, he knew Jesus had overcome death and he (Paul) would be with Christ in Heaven. That’s why Paul describes it as “gain.” If he lived, then he was going to live for Jesus, his Lord and Savior because of what Jesus had done for Him.
This is just as true for us today as it was for Paul 2000 years ago because the Gospel is just as true today as it was 2000 years ago. We can live in the midst of danger, even in the middle of a pandemic, and not fear illness. injury, or death. Jesus is greater. As the Psalmist puts it…
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4
It’s Not About Death
Fear starts to invade our minds when we focus on death, on the danger, rather than on Jesus. So, without Jesus, we only have danger to focus on rather than the answer to the danger, Jesus.
When we focus on Jesus, the one who overcame death, who protected Daniel in lions’ den and Shadrack in the fiery furnace, and who healed the paralytic, we know that whatever we face, Jesus is greater.
Until Jesus returns, we will all face death. It may be today. It may be in 100 years. Whenever it is, it will be a great day of gain for us. Death has no sting. It has no power. So, we need not fear. If you start to feel that fear, rebuke it. Cast it away. Remind yourself that Jesus is greater and He will never leave you nor forsake you, even in the valley of the shadow of death.
How have you been dealing with a lot of fear lately?
How does knowing Jesus is greater than COVID-19, death, and any other danger change how you look at your situation?
You are greater than any danger I may face. Whether you remove me from the danger or walk me through it, remind that You are with me, You are greater, and I have nothing to fear.
In Christ’s Service,