How to overcome the fear of death
The dreaded ‘d’ word. In our house, the d word makes my 5 year old SUPER uncomfortable. Whenever we mention it, she tells us not to say “that word”.
The d word is death or dying and my daughter wants to hear nothing about it. One of her friends seems to have put the fear of death in her small mind.
In an effort to reframe her mind, I’ve rather focussed on telling her about heaven and how wonderful it will be. And even after that, she prayed to God that she would rather live here on earth with all her toys and not go to heaven (sigh).
She still doesn’t fully understand the concept which is okay. In time, she will.
But it’s not just my daughter who is scared of dying. Most of us adults are. Even Christians.
We know that Heaven is better, but boy, oh boy, we’re still scared to leave this world. Over the past few weeks, we’ve all been thinking about the ‘d’ word a lot!
Death has always been there but for some reason we never think about it as a reality we can face today. We always think it will come years from now, and by then we might be prepared to welcome it.
But we are never prepared for the possibility of dying today or next week or next month. Yet with the current pandemic, that fear and that reality is now here.
Why do we fear death?
1. We are not sure we will go to heaven
We try to be good Christians but we’re not perfect. We might have had a strong relationship with God when we got saved, but along the way we lost that connection.
Life got busy. We entertained sin a little longer than we should have and it became normal to live in it. Without knowing it, we may have cut God out of our lives and are not sure how to reconnect with Him.
It’s possible that we stopped praying and don’t read the Bible as much.
If we die today, we’re not sure we will go to heaven.
2. Fear of the unknown
We’ve never been to heaven, so we don’t know what it’s like. And as humans, we fear the unknown.
A first time pregnant woman fears childbirth because she’s never experienced it. The first day of school- whether to kindergarten, high school or college is scary for our children.
What we don’t know, we fear.
3. Too attached to the world
It’s so easy to be attached to this world. It’s all we can physically see. It feels familiar. Comfortable. Popular
The idea of leaving the world and going to a place we don’t know makes us scared. What awaits us on the other side of this life?
4. We haven’t achieved what we want in life
We have dreams and goals. And we always think we’ll have time to achieve them.
Maybe when we retire. Or when we’ve finished paying off the house. Then we will live our dream life.
We may think when the children grow up or when they leave the house is the time we will start enjoying life.
But what happens if that future event doesn’t happen? We get scared because we are not ready to leave this world without doing what we’d like.
Apostle Paul, a great example
Apostle Paul said something profound about living and dying. The man was not scared of dying. In fact he preferred it.
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. “Philipians 1: 21-23
#TruthBomb1: We need to understand that we should not fear when God decides that our time on this earth is up. On our own we should not decide this. Only the One who created us will make this decision.
10 Ways to Overcome the fear of death
1. Repent, Confess and receive Jesus Christ
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 6:23
If you fear dying because of sin know that the results of living in sin is death- separation from God while here on earth as well as not going to heaven.
But you don’t have to be seperated from God….
You can receive the gift of God which is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Knowing that your future is secure will help you overcome the fear of death.
So confess that you have sinned against God, believe God and be saved. Those who are saved will see heaven and that’s a promise from God.
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”Romans 10: 9-10
If you’re not saved or born again, I encourage you to read this post and pray the sinners prayer to receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
2. Believe God
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.“John 3:36
“ These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God“1 John 5:13
Our belief in God guarantees us eternal life and helps us overcome the fear of death.
3. Don’t believe the lie that it’s too late for you
Luke 15 is power-packed with parables of the lost coin, lost sheep and lost son. The moral of the story is the same. God’s arms are open to those who have become lost in the world and want to find their way back to Him.
He is ready to receive us. It’s never too late.
“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”Luke 15:7
Remember the thief who was hung on the cross next to Jesus? He repented in the final moments of his life on earth. And Jesus assured him that his place in heaven was guaranteed.
Luke 23 vs 42-43
“Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” “Luke 23 vs 42-43
#TruthBomb2: It’s never too late to find your way back to God, no matter how far away you have strayed from Him.
4. Remember the world is passing away
The Bible says we’re in the world but we are not of this world. We need to live our lives differently.
“And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”1 John 2:17
While being in the world can be familiar and popular, it’s temporary! Nothing in this world lasts forever. That’s why we can’t live attaching ourselves completely to the world.
5. Focus more on the spiritual life
We need to focus our minds on the spiritual, the things above and not the things of this world.
“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”Galatians 6:8
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”Colossians 3:2
6. Accept God’s amazing love
The reality is God loved us so much that He wanted us with Him in heaven. He loved us while we were yet sinners. His love is amazing.
What makes us fear death is that we haven’t accepted FULLY God’s amazing love. We don’t understand the extent of it. Once you accept and believe that nothing, even death can separate you from God’s love, you won’t be scared of dying.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:37-39
#TruthBomb3: Nothing, even death can EVER seperate us from God’s amazing love for us.
7. Live by faith understanding that works will never save you
From the beginning, God doesn’t save us because we are good. He saved us while we were in sin. What saves us is His grace- His power and unmerited favour.
This grace saves us by faith. We believe what we have not seen with our own eyes. We believe-by faith, in God who we have not seen .
#TruthBomb4: Works cannot and will never save us.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9
Works like going to church every Sunday, reading the Bible daily, witnessing to unbelivers cannot in and of themselves save us.
We do those works out of love for God. We do it to get close to Him and build a relationship with Him. We don’t it to get us to heaven because grace gets us to heaven.
So living by faith in God and accepting His grace will help us not to fear death.
8. Don’t wait until tomorrow to enjoy life
I’m a recovering procrastinator and perfectionist. So I know what it’s like to wait until things are perfect to go after what I want.
But if anything we’ve all realised, tomorrow is not guaranteed. We should live an intentional life.
For some great tips to stop wasting your time and start doing the things you enjoy, read this post.
9. Remember Jesus overcame death
Jesus overcame death through His resurrection. He also helps us to not fear death!
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.“Hebrews 2:14-16
10. Look forward to a better life
The reality is while this world can seem ‘comfortable’ its not! There’s so much that’s wrong with our world. Violence, war, injustice. It would be sad if this was it. If this was forever.
But thank God this is not the end of our story. When we die we can look forward to an amazing life with God. And looking forward to heaven helps us overcome the fear of dying.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”Romans 8:18
“and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”1 Peter 5:4
There are awesome things we can look forward to in heaven according to Revelations 21-22
- No more crying and weeping (YEAH!)
- No more pain and sorrow, no more death
- Streets of gold (no money problems there)
- No need for the sun or moon- light everywhere, no night
- No more curses
- A reward for serving God faithfully
- And seeing and being with God FOREVER and EVER…
When we focus on all these things above, we know we’re guaranteed of heaven when we die.
My encouragement to you
Well, friend I know that fear of death is real. It’s normal, in fact. But we don’t need to be scared. If we are saved and believe in God, His amazing grace will get us to heaven.
And what awaits us in heaven is perfection. A perfect love forever with an amazing God. Our lives on this earth are temporary but we can look forward to eternal life with our wonderful Creator in Heaven when He decides one day that our time on this earth is up!
Heavenly Father, thank you for my life. Thank you for your amazing love and for sending your Son to die for my sins on the cross. Thank you for saving me by your grace. Help me daily to overcome the fear of death by holding on to faith that death will reunite me forever with you.