Revelation 21:8: But the fearful…shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire.
Of all the verses in the Bible, this one stands out to me more than any. I think I know the reason why. Before I gave my life to the Lord, I saw a t-shirt that I still think about sometimes. It said on the front “If you died today, where would you go?” Then, on the back, it said “It’s the burning question.” Underneath, it had Revelation 21:8. I immediately went home, looked it up, and unintentionally committed it to memory. It was just scary. It got me to thinking about eternity. If there really was a hell, and everybody in this verse from the fearful to the liars were headed there…where did that leave me? At the time, it was the liars that worried me because I was one! Today, I’m understanding more and more what it means to be fearful.
Before I get into it, I want you to understand that this is the American version of being fearful. We don’t have a clue what it’s like to be tortured and potentially lose our lives for Jesus Christ. In America, we stand to lose position, social standing, or worse…our “cool” factor among our peers. Though I’m making light of this, it is a very real and very painful loss to us “comfortable” Americans. That being said, I don’t know if you are feeling it like I’m feeling it, but the pressure is being turned up on those who are really trying to live the Christian lifestyle. I will give you some examples from the education world…you’ll have to apply them to your own.
I witnessed a student a few weeks ago take a huge step of faith. He was about to get into a fight. I told him not to do it, it just wasn’t worth it. He told me about all the names that he would be called and told me he would be made fun of if he didn’t go and fight. Immediately, my mind went to Matthew 5:10…Blessed are those who are persecuted because of RIGHTEOUSNESS, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. The next two verses are even cooler: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you falsely, and say all kinds of evil about you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.” Wow! If he does what is right and does not fight, there is an eternal reward. Yes, there will be the enduring of some name calling, but if that happens, he isn’t supposed to well up with anger, he is supposed to REJOICE! He is suffering for doing what is right, and one day the God he did that for will reward him. If he does what is wrong, do you know what he is?…fearful!
Contrary to popular opinion and belief, I do not “proselytize” in my classroom. Not one time have I ever told a student what he or she should or should not believe. However, I do teach right and wrong under the guidelines of our three “R” rules that are posted in our hallways and classrooms…Be Respectful, Responsible, and Ready. I do my best to model these every single day. I also tell a great number of stories that illustrate the consequences of poor choices and actions in hopes that they will not make them. However, because students see me preach from time to time in various pulpits, lead devotions at a Tuesday morning breakfast right across the road from our school, read WMD, see me play on our praise team in church, and hopefully see me live this stuff out every single day, I am a magnet for questions about the Lord and the Bible. This has led to many students in my school receiving the Lord. There are people that frown upon this. What am I supposed to do? If I tell them about the Lord, I am being obedient to my faith and honoring the one who gave His life for me. If I succumb to the world‘s wishes, I’m fearful, and I don’t care for the last words of Revelation 21:8 that clearly states what happens to those who are fearful!
I’m starting to read where coaches are being placed under intense pressure to stop prayers before games. The Lord’s prayer found in Matthew 6 is a common pre-game ritual all across the southern part of the United States. Because a few people, and I mean a few people, find this offensive, many coaches are just saying “no more prayers.” I’ve even heard of teachers in the classroom being asked about their beliefs and they won’t even tell their students that they are of the Christian faith…fearful!
Read Daniel 3. These guys were willing to be thrown into a blazing fire rather than bow down with the rest of the world. Read Acts 4 and 5. These guys had their skin beaten off of their backs and fronts, then still kept carrying on “the Name.” They prayed for boldness…not protection. Americans pray for comfort and safety. We hope that we won’t ever have to do anything hard for the one who did the hardest thing imaginable for US! The early church believers prayed for many signs, wonders, and miracles in the name of Jesus, not for themselves to see, but so others might see…and believe. Shouldn’t we do the same? Or, are we too…fearful?
One day soon, our Lord will return. Revelation 21:8 lists the qualities that He is NOT looking for. If you have repented of your sins, asked for forgiveness of your sins, and placed your trust in Jesus, be bold and live the remainder of these last days for Him. It is difficult, but extremely rewarding. 365 times the Bible says “fear not.” That’s one for every day of the year.
He is in control. He’s got your back. He loves to see and reward faith in action.
There is no need to fear.