When Becoming Nothing is an Improvement
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” so that we look down on others or we are wise in our own eyes, we deceive ourselves! The only something there truly is, is God.
If we know we are nothing without God, and we can simultaneously recognize that the grace He has worked in us is so we can bless others. If we have such an attitude, then there is no limit to how much God can use us. Our knowing we are nothing is a great attainment in His eyes. For then our energies are no longer spent exalting or defending ourselves but in clinging to Christ and relying upon Him.
You see, 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 while helping your to appreciate your “nothingness.”
So, let all who know they are nothings rejoice: you are miles ahead of everyone who thinks 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 them. But if we are transparent with our need, the Spirit and Word can work in us to bring life and order. All we need do is to open up and confess our 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.
“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 is because God shines His light on it. If you persevere—if you continually thrust your darkness into the light of God’s grace and power—that light will ultimately shine out from within you. 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 Paul’s view of himself:
“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” (Phil. 3:4-7).
To become nothing in ourselves, to be excavated of pride and of being consumed by our attainments and pedigree, is part of the path to sonship. Paul actually saw all his human, religious attainments as obstacles. Certainly, in time the Lord used all of the elements of Paul’s life, but not before Paul gave them up to the Lord.
John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). You see, though self-confidence dies, God-confidence comes to life!
So, do not fret. You can admit 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.