As a Christian, theoretically I know I should not fear death. The Scriptures paint a wonderful picture of what will happen when we die. “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality … death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:52-57. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 also holds a glorious promise for what those of us who believe in Jesus can expect.
But I’ve sometimes wondered how I would actually react when my own turn to meet death came. I can talk the talk and quote the scriptures, but can I walk the walk?
Experiences with death
Through some experiences that I had in my personal life it became clear to me that there are two ways to go out from this world.
I could go out empty, with nothing to show for my time here. If my focus is only on the things of this world, with no vision for eternal life, I will have no eternal treasures stored up, no life with Christ, nothing to take into eternity.
Or I can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, learning of Him, and building up a storehouse of eternal worth. I can live in such a way that when I go home to Him I will hear Him say to me, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:14-30) This kind of life also makes life on earth rewarding, and I can be a blessing and an encouragement to many people.
My life on earth
So, I know that it’s the life I live while I’m here on this earth that affects the way I can react when my time comes. If I live a faithful, overcoming life in obedience to God’s Word then I can meet death with joy and peace. Death is nothing to be feared for anyone who is a disciple of Jesus. It can be met with joy and expectation of our reward. We can be transformed from having a fear of death to having God’s mind about death, which is just to be reunited with Him. In Matthew 25:34 Jesus tells us, “Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And in 1 John 2:25, “And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life.”
The best way to be ready to meet God when we die is to get to know Him while we are living. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. Then we can look forward to the day we get to meet our Father, and His Son, whom we have gotten to know and love so well while still here on earth.
God’s Word is true
I have seen God’s Word proven to be true in so many ways throughout my life. I believe that His promises about life after death will prove just as true and glorious. “The Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30. I have had many opportunities to put God to the test, and He has proven Himself true every time. His Word has been a sure foundation for my life.
It is written that our days were numbered before there was one of them. God has prepared works for us to walk in. He knows how much time we have here on earth and it is just enough time for Him to finish the work He has started in us. (Philippians 1:6) We must walk worthy of this high and holy calling. If I believe the scriptures, I have this hope in Him and I purify myself even as He is pure. (1 John 3:3)
The bottom line is: if I believe the scriptures and am faithful to obey God’s Word just as it is written, I will not fear death, but rather look forward to hearing Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant; … enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:21-23.