It’s sometimes a good thing when you learn something.  Would you like to know what people fear the most?

I learned the answer from David, who was giving a lesson on “speaking without notes” at a public speaking conference yesterday in Little Rock.

You might think that death is the greatest fear.  That was the first thing that came to the minds of many in the room of 25 or so.

According to David’s research, people fear public speaking more than they fear death.  This is probably true since humans are creatures that don’t plan well and most figure that public speaking is on the agenda sooner than death.

After sharing his research, David shared knowledge he had about being a better public speaker.

Death, by the way, was the second most feared item on David’s short list.

The speech club that I belong to makes a serious attempt not to enter into  religious and political topics that may be offensive. This is so that the main goal may be achieved.  The goal?  It is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

If you wish to stay away from such topics, attend a speech club like mine near you.  This blog is a different “animal.”   David was making a point.  I would like to make one here since this isn’t the speech club.

No one needs to fear death just like no one needs to fear public speaking.

Everyone has heard this famous passage at a funeral:

4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;”
(Psalm 23:4)

I know people who used to be petrified before an audience of any kind.  They are now able to speak in front of a group off of the cuff. “How did that happen?” you ask.  Look at the environment the club attempts to create as noted above and the question becomes, “How could comfort in front of a group of folks with that attitude not happen?”

It is the same with death.  The “environment” created by the Word of God instills a trust that is greater than death.  The Word of God is more powerful than death.

As far as I know, only two men have ever escaped death: Enoch and Elijah.  Many think they will be the two witnesses mentioned in the book of Revelation and, therefore, they will eventually die.  I will not argue the point.  But, I will quarrel with those who think they might escape death. (I must add that if you are alive during the “taking away” that Jesus describes in Matt. 24, you will not die.)

“Everyone knows they will eventually die,” many would articulate.  If this is so true, then why are people so unprepared?  They are as unprepared for death these days as they are to give a public speech.

It is the same old lie that keeps folks unprepared.

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!

5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3)

Today there are many who promise that you can be God.  You can heal yourself.  You can make yourself rich.  You can create wonderful relationships for yourself.  You can visualize that you will be great at something and it will happen.  You can verbalize something that you want and “poof,” it will appear.  You can make God anything you want, because you are God.  You can add the salt and ignore the pepper.  You can wish for jewels, and you will find a shiny gem, a maybe more, when you pull down the covers at night.  And all of these promises can be claimed, “In the name of Jesus.”

I know that there are great promises in the Bible, but the only place I can find a promise that we can be God is in Genesis 3.  The promise is made by the serpent.

The same promise that was made by the serpent is being made in too many places today.  It is everywhere.

I am not God and you are not God. However, we can be prepared for death.

After the major mess up in the garden, a plan was formulated by THE Almighty God.  Man, no matter how hard he tries, cannot remove sin.  The only way to remove our sin was for God to take it upon Himself.

26For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;

27who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (Hebrews 7)

The ultimate offense is to think we can be God.  We should, however, ask God if we can be more like Him.

22Butthe fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

(Galatians 5)

I liked David (now President of a speech club) very soon after meeting him.  He was like God in that he was not afraid to share his best.  After spending some time with him, he asked me to accompany him and his date (a wonderful young lady named Ann) to dinner.  We had a meal to remember.

Are you afraid of public speaking or of death?  If you are, you should find a source to deal with your problem.  Email me if you would like to know where you can find a speech club like the one to which I belong.  My email address can be found under “About” at the top of this blog. Being afraid of death is a much higher problem. God’s Word, the Bible, is the only antidote for the fear of death.

Chris Reimers

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