For most, death is THE enemy. For the Believer in Jesus Christ, death is victory.
That being said, one way you can tell the veracity of a person’s faith is observing their view of death. Perhaps better said: the best way to see if you have faith is to examine your view of death.
1) Death is victory; the process of dying is agony. In no way do I mean to minimize the reality of what death is and does to a person. Being concerned with how you will die, how you will bear up under pain, the slow decay of the body and its functions, is no fun. Death is the ultimate delivery from agony, for the Believer. But until death occurs, life might stink.
2) Fear of death is bondage. Being afraid to die binds us to maintain life here, keeps us in slavery to keeping ourselves alive. In many respects, it keeps us from living. If you don’t want to die, will you maintain your witness before hostile multitudes? People who obsess over healthy living to stay alive as long as possible, are in bondage to rules and regulations that frequently suck the joy out of eating, which often sucks the joy out of company. Nothing more disastrous for a party than a health-nut lecturing everyone about sugar.
3) Wanting to die aint all bad. As I’ve said before, many big-name Bible characters wanted to die (Moses, Job, Elijah). Paul had a desire to depart, which is FAR BETTER. We’re not talking about a morbid, depressed, suicidal tendency. It’s a rejoicing in what is to come, which brings a realization of how far short this life is from ultimate glory. The issue is not just that you’re tired of living, that you wish physical existence was more pleasurable, the desire is to be with the Lord and to leave sin behind.
4) Death is sad, even for believers. There are some who take a verse like “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope,” and try to make it mean that Christians can’t cry at funerals, that we have to “be strong” and “put on a happy face because of Jesus.” Most of this is hooey and a fixation on your reputation before people. Death is sad. Cry. Weep. Mourn. Weep with those who weep, don’t judge them for “not having enough hope.” Take your time. Cancel plans. Weep. Let your heart cry out to God. This is sin’s biggest weapon and it’s ugly. Yes, there is hope and there is a pressing on. But the death of others hurts. Let it hurt. Let that hurt drive you to Christ where we have hope.
5) Go to funerals. Weep with those who weep. Funerals give you perspective. Funerals teach. Funerals make you wise. Many have told me, “I don’t like funerals.” Stop it. Get over it. Go to them. Go to them as much as possible. Think long and hard about the fact that yours might be next. Especially go to them if it is family. Many regrets are had by those who skip family funerals. Do the right thing. Go. Be humble. Be quiet. Weep. Learn. Think. Ponder. Death is on its way to you. Our world is distracting you from this truth. The world covers it up. Three kids shot by their drunk dad is followed up in the news by a story about a small mouse dressed up to eat burritos.
Death. It’s real. It must be dealt with. Get ready now.