|Volume 21 Number 6 June 2019||
Most kids have at least one thing that frightens them—the dark, water, being alone, dogs or cats. For me, when I was a kid, dogs were one of the most frightening things I could imagine. I had been bitten and scratched up a couple of times, and I was completely terrified. Everyone I knew kept telling me, “Derek, don’t be scared. Dogs can smell fear.” To me that was not helpful. Not only did these animals have sharp teeth and claws, now I knew they had the amazing ability to know I was terrified. The more scared I was, the more nervous I was making the dogs. The constant barking and growling only made me more nervous, which perpetuated the cycle. I was at a loss.
Fear, though, can be an especially useful tool. With an appropriate amount of fear, you can learn to not be involved with things that might cause you harm. Respectful fear can help us understand who has authority, and it can lead us to submit to that authority. Yet, while some fear is good, some other fears can be very dangerous. Fear can hold us back and never let us press forward. Fear can entrap us where we feel we have nowhere to go. Fear can have us running in the opposite direction we should be going. Fear can keep us from reaching our fullest potential. When we apply this type of fear to our spiritual lives, we can be assured we are heading for trouble. With this type of fear, we will not be able to enjoy the blessings that God has put before us, and we will be putting our souls in jeopardy.
In 1 Corinthians 13:13, we see three things that we need along our spiritual journey: faith, hope and love. I believe these three things are exactly what we need to overcome our fears. It does not matter if we are dealing with physical, mental, emotional or spiritual fears, they all can be overcome. We begin with faith. We see in Romans 10:17 that faith is connected to our learning and knowledge of God. As knowledge grows, we are moved to action. Those actions lead us into an obedient lifestyle, in salvation and in all of our lives. Because of our faith in God and our obedience, we have hope. We have hope in this life, but more importantly in the life to come. Even when our fears in this life seem to be upon us, we can grab hold of our faith and know God is with us. We also can know that even when our fears come true, we have hope of a better life in Heaven with God.
That brings us to love. First Corinthians 13:13 says that love is the greatest of these three. In 1 John 4:18, we see that perfect love casts out fear. God loved us before we were even formed, and that love is clearly shown through the giving of His Son. As our love for God grows and the love within us is perfected, our fears begin to go away. Fear is a very real thing that we need God’s help to overcome. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
What Happened When Jesus Died?
We know that when Jesus died, His body went into the tomb, and His soul descended into Hades. On the third day, He arose from death and emerged from the tomb. It is important to remember that Hades and Hell are not the same place, according to Luke 16:9-31. What happened while Jesus was in Hades? We don’t have a detailed account of what He did while there, but one thing we know is that the trip was necessary in order to fulfill prophecy (Psalm 16:10) and also to take death captive, which included acquiring the keys to death and Hades. Ephesians 4:8 (ASV) states that He lead captivity captive. Picture a victorious general returning to the capital and being led by his prisoners. When Jesus ascended, He conquered death, and it became His captive. Finally, note how Jesus described Himself in Revelation 1:17-18. “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” This is why the resurrection is the day that changed the world!