When Becoming Nothing is an Improvement
by Francis Frangipane
In the beginning, the earth was formless and void, but that did not deter the Almighty. He looked into the fathomless depth of its darkness and concluded, "All it needs is light!" Likewise, in the beginning of our spiritual lives, we also are "formless and void" and God, just as confidently, is still saying, "All they need is a little light!" Remember: it's the Lord's responsibility to create and our responsibility to submit to His creating.
The Lord only needs three things to fashion life. First, He needs a "nothing." The Almighty always begins His great, creative works with a "nothing" (this is very important because this is where we come in!). Then, His Spirit needs to be hovering over the "nothing." And, finally, He needs His Word, which is the "something" He's going to put in the "nothing's" place.
God has no difficulty at all creating something out of nothing. The only obstacle He faces is when the nothing doesn't know it is nothing, but instead thinks it's something. At that point God has to break it back down to nothing before it is good for anything. (Are you still following me?) Paul said this better than I when he wrote,
"If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself" (Gal 6:3).
Even as Christians, if we think we are something better than others or that our opinion is wiser or that we have "arrived" spiritually and become important in our own eyes, we are deceiving ourselves! The only Something there truly is, is God. And yet, this is wonderful if we categorically know we are nothing without the Lord, and we simultaneously recognize whatever grace He has worked in us is so we can be a blessing to others, then there is no limit to how He can use us. Our knowing we are nothing is a great attainment in His eyes. For then our energies are no longer spent exalting ourselves, but in clinging to Christ and magnifying Him.
God is not offended by chaos
There will be times when, like the pre-creation universe, you discover your life seems "formless and void." Do not be over-concerned. When you discover there is "chaos" in the deepest part of you, do not fret. You are at a new beginning. It has taken the Lord quite a long time to help you to recognize your "nothingness."
So, let all who know they are nothings rejoice: you are miles ahead of those who think they are something! The proud, who consider themselves something special, do not deal with the lightless regions of chaos in their souls; they simply hide it. But, God is about to bring your life into order and set you free! All you need is to open up and confess your nothingness to the Holy Spirit.
"For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor 4:6).
This is the very way our great Creator creates. He causes light to shine out of darkness! The only thing He requires of us is to be honest about the darkness, to confess it instead of hiding it.
"And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them . . . but all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light" (Eph 5:11,13).
When darkness is exposed to the light, it becomes light. In fact, the very reason our darkness becomes visible to us, is because God is exposing it to light. If you persevere, if you continually thrust your darkness into the light of God's grace and power, God's light will shine out of your darkness. Your darkness will actually become light.
Beloved, if you know you are nothing in yourself, you're a prime candidate to become something in God! Consider again what Paul wrote:
"For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ" (Phil. 3:3-8).
Learning to put no confidence in the flesh, to become nothing in yourselves, is an ongoing process and an integral part of the Christian experience. Paul saw all his human attainments as obstacles. Certainly, the Lord used all of the elements of Paul's life, but not before Paul gave them up, surrendering them to the Lord. Such is the path into Oneness with Christ and, beloved, oneness with one another.
As John the Baptist said, "He must increase and I must decrease." You see, though self-confidence dies, God-confidence comes to life!
So, do not fret; admit to yourself and others that you have areas within
that are dead and dark. Romans 4:17 says, "God . . . gives life to the dead,
and calls into being that which does not exist." God gives LIFE to the dead.
Do you sometimes feel dead? Good. You're qualified to get God's life! Look
to God. Trust Him as your Creator. Do not fear when you discover you are
nothing. There is a time when becoming nothing is an improvement.
In this inspirational email and the one to follow (Lord willing), I’m going to give examples of what God can do with “nothing.” Perhaps some of you on this inspiration email list might care to send in examples from your personal life where He took your nothings and created mighty things from them. --Gary Amirault
Evangelism, God’s Way
I was sitting in a MacDonald’s restaurant drinking a cup of coffee reading my Bible on a rainy day. I didn’t know at that time why I was in MacDonald’s drinking their coffee – I couldn’t stand their coffee. My Bible reading was not very productive. I felt empty.
An Indian employee with a red dot on her forehead came out of the employees’ door.
“Darn, looks like I’m going to have to walk home in the rain. Better get a garbage bag to cover my head.”
Having an evangelistic drive in my bones, I took this as a clue from the Holy Spirit that I was to share Christ with her. I didn’t really feel up to it, but to be honest with you, I just love to share Christ with people, no matter how dead I feel.
“I’m not doing anything right now, I’ll be more than happy to drive you home,” I said.
She gave me a careful looking over, noticed my Bible and then gave the OK.
As soon as she got into my car, she immediately began witnessing to me about her Hindu faith. I had NEVER been evangelized by a Hindu, ever! And she would not stop! I couldn’t get a word in edge-wise. I gathered that she was in a very high cast in her religion from what she was saying.
At one point during the drive she asked if I would stop at a particular Pharmacy because she had a prescription there. While she was in the store, I decided to have a little chat with my Boss upstairs. I could see I was going to get nowhere with this woman. She was a non-stop apologist for her faith and I was being steam-rollered. I was flatten into a pancake. I felt like I was a taxi-driver in the employment of the Kingdom of God. My “chat,” or grumble to my heavenly Employer went something like this following.
“Oh, God, I quit, I’m off duty. I’m pulling my flag down. (In days gone by, taxi’s used to have a little flag-like leaver that let the passenger know you were still paying. When he put the flag down, the meter stopped adding to the cost.) If you want to save this woman, you’re going to have to do it. I’m off duty. I quit. She’s too much for me.”
As she was coming out of the store to come back into the car, I was bracing myself for a second barrage of her Hindu Crusade to win me to Krishna or whatever.
“So tell me about his Jesus you believe in,” she blurted out. (If my jaw didn’t drop in the natural, it sure did in the spirit.) “God told me to listen to you. You have the truth. Your face is shining like an angel.”
“Face is shiny?” I thought. I felt dead, useless, defeated, very UNspiritual and my face was shining to her? “How can this be?” I wondered.
I gave her probably the shortest testimonial about my relationship with God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, that I think I ever gave. I shared about my REAL relationship with my Father, the Creator of the universe. I told her that Jesus was the Door to enter into that personal relationship. It seemed like I only spoke for 2 or 3 minutes, gave her a couple of tracts to read, dropped her off at her apartment building and began to ponder about this incredible moment as I was driving back home.
My mind regurgitated the many sayings and Scriptures which fit into this real life situation. Let go and let God. When we are weak, then He is strong. (2 Cor. 12:10) Apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) When you come before kings take no thought of what you will say for the Holy Spirit will give you what to say. (Matt. 10:19, 20) He or she who clings to their lives will lose them, but he or she who loses their lives for Christ’s sake will find them. (Matt. 10:39) When I quit trying to do FOR God, God Himself came through in ways beyond my wildest imagination.
Our Christian lives should be literally filled with moments and experiences like that. Why don’t we have more of them? Because we refuse to become nothing first. We refuse to be emptied of our worldly ambitions. We refuse to become poor in spirit, the spirit of this world and the spirit of religion. We hold onto our self-righteousness, our pride and prejudices – we hold onto our denominational biases, our traditions of men and doctrines of demons. We refuse to let go of our “religious activity,” because we think it is pleasing to God when, in fact, He thinks they smell and look like menstrual cloths. (That is the actual meaning of “filthy rags in Isaiah 64:6) We hold onto the idea of doing FOR God instead of letting God do for Himself THROUGH us. Oh, what a world of difference! But most of us still haven’t caught on yet.
Christians are in bondage to Egypt and Babylon
I believe the sins of the world are typified by the bondage of Israel (God’s first “chosen people”) to the “fleshpots of Egypt.” The Babylonian captivity of Israel is typical of our religious bondage which produces soulish activity – religious activity, not spiritual. We must be freed from both the flesh realm and the religious activity in the soul realm if we are to fully manifest the spiritual activity of the Holy Spirit that the world might be set free from its bondage to corruption. (Rom. 8:19-22) How can they see Jesus in us with all our darkness in the way?
Truly, the hardest thing for us Christians to do is to cease from our labors and enter into His Rest in which are the “works prepared from the foundation of the world that we should walk in.” (Eph. 2:10) We have filled the vessels which we are with all manners of things which produce the dead works of religion. We have fallen from grace and aren’t even aware of it. We have been trapped into obeying all manners of religious laws of various denominations without realizing they have literally killed us, spiritually speaking.
It is HIS grace through HIS faith which will manifest those works of the Holy Spirit that we should walk in which were prepared for us FROM the foundation of the world. (Eph 2:8-10; Heb. 12:2) Let us leave the fleshpots of Egypt, the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. Let us leave the beautiful trappings of the ornate religious activity of Babylon which speaks of religious confusion, which speaks of building religious Babel towers in our own soulish strength. It speaks of being seduced by men and women using the name of God and the lives (time and money) of God’s people to build kingdoms for themselves and to perpetuate the names of their religious dead forefathers. Tens of thousands of denominations of Christendom around the world each with opposing doctrines and concepts of God does not speak of the unity of love for one another which Jesus prayed for – it speaks of confusion which is what Babylon is all about. Religious works ARE NOT spiritual works prepared by God for us to walk in. Yet it is obvious that most of us are not discerning the difference.
If we want to manifest the works and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we will have to become empty of all that the Egyptian and Babylonian captivities represent spiritually. We will have to empty ourselves of all their activity, cease from the labors which build their systems, come to a complete rest in Him, become nothing, become dead to these things – not add our support to them by giving them our time and money. It is only when we die to the powers of these systems that we can begin to recognize what activities in the church world are of God and which are just religious works of a lower nature than the nature of God. We must become nothing, that He might become All in All. (1 Cor. 15:28) We must humble ourselves, turn from OUR wicked ways, and pray for the world to be healed. (2 Chron. 7:14)
We Must Empty Ourselves And Come Out Of Dead Religious Systems
“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you might have life and more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Jesus and the apostles warned nearly 2,000 years ago that Satan would transform Himself and his workers into “ministers of righteousness” and would deceive many through false apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors, evangelists, missionaries, etc. (2 Cor. 12:15; 1 Tim. 6:20, 21; 1 John 4:1; Gal. 4:20-5:10; Gal. 2:3; Galatians 5:7-12; 1 John 2:18-20; 1 John 2:26,27; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 1 Tim. 6:20-21; 2 Tim. 4:9-16; Acts 20:26-31; Galatians 3:1-3; 1 Cor. 1:10-15; 2 Peter 3:15-18; Titus 1:7-16; Tit 3:9-11; 2 Tim. 1:13-15, etc.) So often we read these great warnings from Jesus and the apostles and put them into the future when in fact these false “ministers of righteousness” were being injected into the church back 2,000 years ago. The religious systems which they built are still here today. And many more have been added throughout the centuries. Religious darkness covered all of Europe and Asia Minor until the fourteenth century.
As the Hebrew and Greek languages were revived in the centers of learning in
Europe, translations of the scriptures began to come forth in the native languages of Europe. Truths that had been buried for centuries began to come forth. The Holy Spirit, instead of coming into individuals in tiny drops, began to move in movements, in waves. But when God would move on to unveil more revelation which had been lost during the Dark Ages, those who received previous revelation but refused to move on, would harden and set around the old move of God and form denominations with their cornerstone being that revelation that God brought forth during that move. Every new movement of the Holy Spirit has always been persecuted by those who refused to move into deeper waters. As the Holy Spirit moved on from one restored revelation to another, those who refused to move on to further revelation were left behind even as what happened to those who refused to move with the cloud and fire in the wilderness under Moses. The Holy Spirit moved the camp 42 times. If one didn’t move with the cloud and fire, they died. There are many denominations of Christianity, many of them representing a past movement of the Holy Spirit. The truth which was brought forth during the movement of the Spirit of God is still true, but the Spirit is no longer in it. The letter (truth) without the spirit is dead. (2 Cor. 3:6) It produces nothing but legalism and dead rituals. He continues to restore more and more every decade. Each move of the Holy Spirit restores that which has been lost. And as men and women try to harness that power and put it in a box, he moves on and leaves behind men and women who try to manifest through the flesh that
which can only be brought forth by the Holy Spirit.
The truth without the Holy Spirit is not the Truth. Even the Bible without the Holy Spirit giving understanding brings forth nothing but carnal knowledge, that is, death. (Rom. 8:6) One can memorize the entire Bible and not come to the knowledge of the truth. As a matter of fact, some of the most anti-Christ (replacing the Holy Spirit with something else) Christians and church leaders I know are quick to quote Scriptures out of context to support their anti-Christ, anti-Anointing, that is, anti-Spirit) positions.
The Scriptures are a wonderful tool if used as an aid to help understand the things of the Spirit. But when one uses the Scriptures to condemn others while justifying themselves with those same Scriptures, be on guard. You may be speaking to someone whose ancestors are the Pharisees who counted jots and tittles (tiniest letters in the Hebrew language) thinking it would make them more righteous while neglecting the weightier elements of justice, mercy and faith. Many of us have developed the same habits of the ancient Pharisees who swallowed camels while they were busy straining out gnats.
Many of God’s people are in Babylonian religious systems doing dead religious works and trusting them for salvation and many of them don’t even realize they have fallen from grace if they ever had it in the first place. Remember, Christians are “called out” of the systems of this world built by men unto the Son of God through the Holy Spirit. We are NOT called unto Paul or Barnabus or Apollos. (see 1 Cor. 1:10-15; 3:1-7) Neither are we called unto a Pope, or Luther, or Calvin, or Wesley, or whoever. Paul, the apostle, made it quite plain in his first letter to the Corinthians that we are NOT to divide the body of Christ through following the teachings of men. Yet we have done exactly what he told us not to – divide into thousands of different denominations built around the teachings and principles of men and women.
We are called unto Jesus the Messiah who will draw us unto His Father, the
Creator of the universe. We cannot be about our Father’s business doing the “works prepared from the foundation of the world for us to walk in” if we are about the business of perpetuating the systems of dead and alive men and women who create religious systems which glorify themselves. This kind of activity merely perpetuates these systems which hold God’s people in bondage to fleshly and soulish activity rather than the activity led by the Holy Spirit. Religious activity does not perpetuate and facilitate the advancement of the real kingdom of God, it actually restrains its manifestation! The spiritual works of the Kingdom of God are IN the person of Jesus the Messiah. Apart from Him we can truly do nothing.
This is very hard for us to come to grips with. We do not let go of our Babylonian activity easily. Many of us who have been in religious organizations for any length of time and have invested great time, energy and money in works which (according to scriptures) fall into the “menstrual cloth” category usually don’t give up those kinds of works very easily. These works become our very life; we pride ourselves in them; we use them as platforms from which we can look down upon others. We’ve received praise and glory from each other for these works. We don’t want to call them “dung,” as Paul called his manure pile of religious activity produced in a soulish zeal and not the zeal of the Lord. We love the praises of men. Not wise . . . not wise at all . . . yet we find ourselves seduced by this lying religious spirit nevertheless. It is very hard to still the soul, to cause it to cease
from religious activity, to go into the wilderness where God can begin to show us the difference between religious and truly spiritual works. The call to “Come out of her, my people,” (Rev. ch 18) is a call that falls on far more deaf ears than those who can hear the call and obey it. Will you be one who heeds the call?
The Holy Spirit is still calling people out from fleshly and religious works unto the labor of Jesus Christ. We must come out of Babylon and thus diminish its power in the earth, but we must also get the Babylonian mindset out of us. We must come out of Babylon thereby starving it by not giving ourselves and our money to it. Then we must purge ourselves from a soulish religious works mentality. We must empty ourselves, become nothing that we might be filled with the Holy Spirit and the works of God. Only then, can we truly lawfully assemble together and manifest a corporate expression of truly spiritual good works produced through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Then when we gather as a corporate body we will all be full of His Holy Spirit and will manifest the kingdom of God in the earth. Only through the Holy Spirit can we enter the labor of the Lord prepared from the foundation of the world in Christ Jesus. If you are hearing that call today . . . I urge you . . .obey!
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10) Make sure there is a season in your life in which the Holy Spirit brings you to nothing that your heavenly Father might truly become your all in Christ Jesus. Then you will indeed have the life Jesus came to give you.
"I have come that you may have life, and more abundantly." John 10:10