Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. (Rev. 20:14)
Is it really possible to live without fear? Frequently throughout the Bible, God tells us, “Fear not, do not be afraid, be strong and courageous!” Why do we find it so hard to live life with courage?
I think that the reason for at least some of us is that we live with an outside-in faith. Though we may not verbalize it this way, our faith could be described in this way: If everything on the outside of me is okay, then I know I will be okay on the inside. If things at school or work are going well, if the people with whom I have close relationships are doing well, and if I am supported and encouraged by my environment, then deep down in my heart I will be okay. Things will be as they should be and I know that things are good between me and God.
The problem with that kind of faith is that it inevitably leads to fear because rarely do all those things align in the way that we think they should be, and when they do, we are thinking about the next time things outside of us are going to go awry, and we feel fear.
Unlike animals, human beings can imagine fear even when there is no clear and present danger in their environment. A gazelle feels stress and fear when they see cheetah and that cheetah begins to chase them. But when the cheetah is gone and the danger has passed, the gazelle relaxes and goes back to eating grass. We can imagine cheetahs that don’t even exist and feel real stress and fear over things that are not even real.
The human mind is a fantastic gift, but it was meant for God’s life-giving good purposes. And to align our mind with God requires a different kind of faith: an inside-out faith. Inside-out faith says that at the center of our being, all things are already ideal. We already everything we need to be okay because Jesus has lifted us out of the muck and the mire of our former life and given us a new life with Him where we already forgiveness of all our sins, the fullness of God’s love and a future where all things, including us, will be made new. Satan and all his evil forces will be defeated and banished, death and the grave will be destroyed, and we will live forever with God because our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Resolute in where we stand on the inside, we are able to face the turmoil of chaotic and stressful exterior circumstances with confidence. We know how the story ends and that makes all the difference.
Dear Jesus, by your Spirit, help us to do the soul work of rooting out worry and anxiety from our hearts and replacing them with faith that is confident in who You are and what You have done for us. Amen.