Last year, while my wife and I had our regular walk in our neighborhood, a dog started to bark and attacked us in the middle of the road. She came very aggressively towards us, and for the first time in my adult life, I was afraid of being physically hurt.
Fortunately, the owner of the dog came to rescue us, but unfortunately, he was unable to stop her. It took several minutes until she found some neighbors who seemed more interesting than us, and finally we were able to continue our walking.
When was the last time when you experienced fear and anxiety? Fear is normally defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.
According to Psychology Today, there are only five basic fears, out of which almost all of our other so-called fears are manufactured. These are:
1. Extinction—the fear of annihilation, of ceasing to exist.
2. Mutilation—the fear of losing any part of our precious bodily structure. Anxiety about animals, such as bugs, spiders, snakes.
3. Loss of Autonomy—the fear of being immobilized, paralyzed, imprisoned.
4. Separation—the fear of abandonment, rejection, and loss of connectedness; not wanted, respected, or valued by anyone else.
5. The fear of humiliation, shame, or any other mechanism of profound self-disapproval.
From my perspective, two major fears are predominant among us as Seventh-day Adventists.
First, fear of end-time events. It is well known that Adventists are the people of the end time. We strongly believe in the prophecies from the books of Daniel and Revelation. We know almost every detail of the prophetic charts that describe the pre and post-advent events. We believe and preach about the persecution of the saints during the great tribulation. It is normal and acceptable to be concerned about your physical, emotional, and spiritual condition during those critical times, but I discover myself being concerned more about my safety than anticipating the great experience of seeing Jesus, face to face. Instead of focusing on Him and being ready to meet Him, I focus on myself and my survival.
Second, the fear of not being saved. Because we don’t believe in the cheap grace and the “once saved always saved” theory, we find ourselves excessively worrying about our spiritual condition. No one is perfect and everyone needs repentance and transformation, but the presence of the Holy Spirit brings peace and the joy of salvation in the converted heart.
Jesus, through His words and ministry, brought the message of encouragement and inspiration: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12: 32) “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)
Also, Apostle Paul encouraged the readers of his letters to consider freedom from a fear-based religion. “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
In essence, our religion is based on a personal relationship with God, allowing Him to be in control of every dimension of our existence on earth, and experiencing the joy of salvation now and through all eternity. Do not let anything or anyone to steal the assurance of salvation from you. Let your love and devotion to God be genuine and let your light shine!
Titus Naftanaila, Conference President