October 1, 2012

Are You Going Nowhere?

In the Virgin Islands where I live, there is a sign emblazoned on the wall at the station where we go to pay our telephone bill. It says, “If the path you are on has no obstacles, it probably leads nowhere.” There are some things you see in life that remain with you, and that is one message that has stuck with me.

Today I want to speak to you about nothing, something, and all things. The shortest and quickest journey anyone can take is to go nowhere by doing nothing. If we have a life with no obstacles, we probably are where the devil wants us to be. This path of the Gospel will have obstacles, but our goal is worth it! It is worth pressing through any challenges to reach that goal. We are encouraged by Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.”

Nothing is dangerous. It might seem that you are harmless if you do nothing. However, doing nothing harms your eternal soul because it means you have no spiritual accomplishments. There is no progress. You cannot build physical muscle if you do not do an activity which exercises that muscle, and that is also true in the spiritual realm. You will build no strength spiritually if you do nothing in the Gospel. You will have no stamina to persevere or endure. You will not have what it takes to win the battle.

We heard a wonderful teaching during this camp meeting on overcoming and obtaining victory. However, we were not told that we could do nothing and still obtain victory. There is a mindset that says, “If I do nothing wrong, I will make it to Heaven.” However, to make it to Heaven, we must do something right! If we remain in a state of doing nothing throughout our lives, at our funeral they will have to say, “This one did nothing to benefit the Kingdom of Heaven. He did nothing that led to eternal life with Jesus. He did nothing to live a clean life. He did nothing to help others. He did nothing to promote the Gospel.” Nothing is dangerous!

In Luke chapter 18 we find the account of a rich young ruler who came to ask Jesus what he needed to do in order to obtain eternal life. Jesus responded by giving him something to do. Now, something is a neutral word; it can be good or it can be bad. The something we must do to obtain eternal life will be good. It will lead to a holy life. It will be righteous. Jesus told the young ruler, in effect, “Go and sell all that you have, give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. And one more thing: come and follow Me.” This is an active Gospel. We cannot follow Jesus by doing nothing. If our goal is to get nowhere, we can achieve that by doing nothing. But if we want to make Heaven our home, we must do something. The rich young ruler went away from Jesus sorrowful because he did nothing about what Jesus told him to do.

One time at a funeral back home, the preacher said that there are a few good things in Hell. For one thing, those in Hell will have a good memory. They will think back to all the times they heard the Gospel call and refused to answer. They will remember all the opportunities they had to do something for God but chose to ignore. There will be good sensory perception in Hell—those who are there experience terrible thirst and will feel the flames, yet they will not be consumed. The people in Hell will have good understanding. They will fully grasp that they are hopeless—that they will never get out of that terrible place. There will be a lot of good wishes in Hell. How those who are suffering in the flames will wish for freedom from torment! But one cannot get out of Hell. The abode of the wicked is just as eternal as Heaven is. We want to do whatever is necessary to avoid Hell and make it to Heaven.

To live lives that are acceptable to God, we must do something. We heard in a Bible teaching that Israel was instructed by God to keep His commandments. We must do the same. We must do what God commands us to do, and His instructions to us are found in the Word of God.

The founding fathers of this country had to do something to obtain their goal of freedom to worship God. They had to fight the war of independence, but they were willing to step out and do that. We are the beneficiaries of what they did. Two and a quarter centuries later, we are free to worship the Lord because of the action they took. So when we do something for God, many times it is not only for ourselves but also for the generations coming after us. We must understand that to do nothing is not an option. We must do something in order to carry the Gospel forward.

One of the things we are instructed to do is to forget certain things. Paul said, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). That is an action statement. In effect, Paul was saying, “I am going to do something. I am going to forget the past and press forward to my goal.” When we do something, our minds determine our goal and then our actions follow through.

In another instance, Jesus instructed a father who had brought his son to the disciples. An evil spirit had been tearing the lad and throwing him into the fire, and he was foaming at the mouth. The disciples were not able to cast out the evil spirit, but Jesus came and told the father, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). We must believe if we are to receive from God. Faith is something that is necessary. When we take hold of Jesus’ words and step out in faith, we get the blessing that we cannot obtain if we do nothing.

When we desire an answer to prayer, we need to take the correct actions to achieve it. Everything worth having is worth striving for. We must repent and believe to receive our soul’s salvation. We must consecrate and dedicate ourselves to God to receive our sanctification. We must travail in prayer for the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire. Those experiences do not come by doing nothing. Nothing leads us to nowhere—nowhere in the physical realm and nowhere in the spiritual realm. If we want to get somewhere with God, we must do something.

Do not wait for another time. This is your opportunity! If we do what God has said, He will give us all things that we need spiritually. Praise God, “All things are possible to him that believeth.” When we get down before God, we should remember that He is a Strength-Giver. He is a Healer. He is a Deliverer. He is a Peace-Giver. He is a Joy-Restorer. He is the One who brings broken relationships back together. He is the One who restores the son and daughter to their father and mother. He is the One who saves marriages. He is the One who gives direction. When it seems like there is no way to go, He is the One who will make a way. With God all things are possible!

If we have the fire of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, doing nothing should simply be impossible. Jeremiah tried to do nothing, and he said it was like a fire shut up in his bones. Sometimes the challenges that face us are difficult, but when the battle is over, we shall wear a crown.

To wear that crown we have to turn away from doing nothing and do something—the right thing. Believe the Lord today and get to a state where you can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

apostolic faith magazine