Did you know that “death” according to several studies is one of the top 10 things that people are afraid of? According to thetoptens.com the fear of death, which is #6 on their list of things that people fear, shows that many people fear death because of the lack of knowledge they have about what happens after they die and even how they will die.

Here are some of the comments listed…

“It’s more a fear that there is no afterlife for me. The idea that after death your consciousness just disappears forever is frightening. If heavens real there’d be no real need to fear death but we don’t know if it is so it’s scary.”

“I’m afraid of death because I don’t know what happens after it, whether it be going to heaven or seeing nothing. That’s why I fear death and we don’t know how we die or if it’s going to be painful or not”

“What happens after death? Death is the end. Once you die there is no way back. Forever”

“Thinking of death puts me on the verge of a panic attack”

Another site, theodysseyonline.com, which puts the fear of death at #9, states that the main reason that people are scared of death is due to “the unknown.” After reading through several comments and thoughts in several articles and sites this seems to be the cause of the fear. Three simple words, “I don’t know.”

What if I told you that you could know what will happen to you when you die, would you listen? Would you take it in and allow your mind to be changed?

The Bible is filled with knowledgeable truths that can put you at ease allowing you to know things such as…

  • How one is to live…Hebrews 10:38
  • How one is to treat marriage…1 Corinthians 7; Ephesians 5:22, 25
  • How one is to treat others…John 13:34
  • How one can be spiritual…1 Peter 2:5
  • How one can have faith…2 Corinthians 5:7
  • How one can have knowledge…1 John 2:1-6; 5:13
  • How one can know where they will go when they die…Romans 6:5-7; 14:7-9; 1 John 5:13

With true knowledge, one can be released from fear. Why be afraid of the unknown? Meaning, why be afraid of that which you don’t know? Could it be that our fear of death is triggered based on a negative thought process of the bad things that could happen? Could it be that our fear is programming us to stay in a position of “not knowing” which places our minds in state incarceration never allowing us to gain knowledge that can put us at ease?

I have found in my personal life, that my fear is the strongest when my knowledge is the weakest. In other words, when I don’t know my fear fills in the gaps producing a situation where my mind is captured by all the things that I “think” could happen that in reality may never happen.

Taking The Step

One of my favorite movie series is Indiana Jones. While I enjoy all of the movies, “The Last Crusade” might be my favorite personally. In this particular movie, there is a scene where Indiana is leading the way to the Grail while trying to save his father who has been shot, we find him standing on a ledge where a great divide has occurred between what looks to be two mountains. While looking hundreds of feet down if not more he sees no way to get across, but then remembers what he had learned from his father’s writings. He had to take a “step of faith.”

In this iconic scene, Indiana Jones is seen standing on one foot while the other is lifted up in front of him, as he leans forward with full commitment, believing that he will find and stand on the path that will lead him across. To his amazement, surprise, and relief, he did find the path that was invisible to his eye but seen by his heart.

While Indiana Jones is of course a fictional story, the application of this scene is very intense. There were plenty of reasons that he could have used to not take that step, including maybe the biggest one, “I will drop hundreds of feet down to my death!” But, he wasn’t focused on the negative he was focused on what he knew. He believed in what his father had studied and said because of the knowledge that he had.

Sometimes just taking a step can be the biggest hurdle! Let’s think about that.

  • How many congregations of the Lord’s Church are stuck in the rut of doing things the way that they have always done them and refuse to change anything because they fear the bad that could happen?
  • How many elderships or men’s meetings operate and make decisions based upon what those who give the most say or think because of their fear of losing that income and the effects it could have?
  • How many preachers refuse or steer clear of hard topics such as Marriage-Divorce-Remarriage, Homosexuality, or other controversial issues that do and could exist based on the fear of losing their position?
  • How many bible students (anyone who studies their Bibles) come to biblical conclusions that may go against the traditions of some of our right or left-leaning brethren and are afraid of changing their beliefs due to the backlash they may receive?
  • How many Christians sit in our pews, week after week, wondering and possibly fearing what could happen if they stood where Jesus stands and allowed others to see their convictions?
  • How many of us sit and stare at our bibles wanting to know its truth but never do anything fearing that we will not be able to understand it, or fear to start it based upon the size and bulk of what has been written?
  • How many of us will never study with another person based on our fear that we will not know the answer to the questions we are asked?

Christianity goes against the grain, not with it. Biblical truths are against traditions, philosophy, and worldly concepts, not for them. God’s children are to walk by faith and not by sight. Therefore taking the first step is not based on your feelings, it is based on your knowledge.

Knowledge builds faith and faith leads to life!

Dead or Alive?

To illustrate dead faith, “It is that kind of faith which would lead a man to take a bottle of medicine from his medicine cabinet. Looking at the instructions, he says, ‘I’m sure they’re correct. I have all confidence in the source of the medicine. I know who wrote these directions. I believe everything about it. I know this will relieve my headache if I just take it.’ But he takes the medicine bottle and puts it back on the shelf. He doesn’t lose his headache. It continues on. Yet he can say I believe that medicine. I believe all about that medicine. But still, he won’t take it. That’s dead faith.”

As silly as it may sound, many of our bibles are just like this bottle of medicine. They sit next to our beds, in our libraries, in our offices, next to our chairs, and on our coffee tables, they are on our phones, tablets, computers, and more. Only to sit there as a source of comfort for us to look upon rather than to take the spiritual medicine inside.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked the question, “What happens when I die?” Or “Is there any way to know we will be in heaven?” While I understand the question and am certainly happy to help them find the answer, it oftentimes concerns me (depending on the person) as to how they don’t know the answer already. I hope this doesn’t seem harsh, but what I have found is that there are a lot of Christians who only open their bibles when they are at church. So up to a possible 3 times a week. My friends that is not enough time!

Who learns the most in a bible class? The Bible class teacher, first. Then those who take what they have done in class and do more work on it at home. The more study, the more knowledge, the more knowledge, the more trust, the more trust, the more faith, the more faith, the more assurance. This is how spirituality works.

I believe in the Words of the Bible, therefore I study what they mean because they alone are the words of my Creator. When I take His words and input them into my heart, soul, and mind, I am building a faith that lives based upon the fact that I know I am saved and know I will be with Him when my life on earth is done (2 Cor. 5:6-9; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4; 1 John 5:13).

Notice what John writes,

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is”…1 John 3:1-2

A living faith puts the heart, mind, and soul into action James 2:14-26 and therefore does when others do not. You and I will never know everything, we aren’t meant to, but we can know all that God wants us to know now and everything that we can know is what we should know.

A living faith pushes you to be something you weren’t, and a dead faith keeps you what you are. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be who I am, “dust of the earth consumed by lust” I want to be what Christ makes me, “righteous.”

In a world where there is so much fear of physical death, we can bring the hope of spiritual life. That takes time and commitment. But that is what faith can do, it can devote your time and commitment to someone greater than yourself focusing on all of the good that will happen, even if something bad could happen.

Take your step, be alive, and set yourself free! That is what God will do for you!


Work Cited: 



James 2:20 – Dr. Harlan Roper, Tape on James, Dallas, Texas

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Garrett married his wife, Cristen, in December 2005 and has four wonderful boys! Parker is married to his beautiful wife Claire and their daughter Taytum, Cohen, Ryder, and Kamden. Garrett has directed and participated in many camps, retreats, conferences, and workshops and serves on the national staff for Lads to Leaders. He is the President of Excel Still More and an annual writer and instructor for ESM. Garrett currently serves as the pulpit minister for the Hydro Church of Christ in Hydro, Oklahoma, where he and his family reside.