CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Just Do It

Aug 12, 2020

Do what God wants you to do – even if it is never popular:

No I am not plugging running shoes. I am plugging running with whatever God tells you to do – regardless of the cost, regardless of the opposition, and regardless of the self-doubts. Of course knowing for sure what it is specifically that God may want you to do (aside from all the general stuff that we already find in Scripture about God’s will) may be difficult – and the stuff of another article.

Here I want to focus on being faithful to what God would have you to do, even if you know it will NOT be popular, you WILL be misunderstood, and you may well even suffer greatly for doing it. It will come as no surprise that this piece is in good part inspired by my daily reading: I am now once again reading through the Book of Jeremiah.

And just moments ago I read this from Jer. 20:1-2: “Now Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the Lord.”

Hmm, there you go: do what God wants you to do, and all hell breaks loose. Even the religious leaders of the day turned on Jeremiah. No wonder he is known as the weeping prophet – he had it real tough. He even goes on in this chapter to say the following: “Cursed be the day on which I was born!” (v. 14), and “Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?” (v. 18).

And the most amazing thing is this: God had told Jeremiah well ahead of time that the people would reject him. He was warned from Day 1 that his message would NOT be received. But he must go and proclaim the Word of the Lord nonetheless. As we read in Jer. 7:21-29:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors. When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips. Cut off your hair and throw it away; take up a lament on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned this generation that is under his wrath.’

Wow. And other prophets, such as Isaiah and Ezekiel, were also told at the outset of their ministries that the people would not listen to them and would reject them and their message. Imagine getting an assignment like that from God! And Jeremiah had to keep faithfully proclaiming the message for decades, while the people kept hating on him and rejecting what he had to say.

Christians today may have similar sorts of scenarios that they find themselves in. They have prayerfully sought God as to what they should do and what they should say, and all they seem to get is opposition, rejection, hatred and abuse. They may question if they heard God’s call correctly.

‘Why all the enmity and hatred?’ they may ask. ‘Am I sure I heard you right God?’ ‘If I am doing your will, why all this persecution and fierce resistance – even from other Christians?’ Again, we need to make sure that what we are doing is what God in fact wants us to do. Often we are rebuffed, rebuked and rejected NOT because we are in the centre of God’s will, but because we may just be obnoxious, arrogant and insufferable oafs!

But if you are pretty clear on what it is that you are meant to be doing, then just do it! Persevere, hang in there, and ignore the critics. Doing what God wants you to do is the crucial thing here. Ignore the naysayers, the opponents and the scoffers. You are not accountable to them, but to God.

Sure, we must listen to the critics in the sense that they may be offering us some much-needed advice or mid-course corrections, etc. Maybe we are going off on tangents, and we need to let others give us some wise counsel, help and correction.

But not everything others say to you will be of God. Sometimes they just dislike you and/or what you are doing, and Satan is using them to throw you off your divinely appointed mission. So treat the criticism as you would a fish dinner: eat the meat but throw out the bones.

And I am speaking to myself as well as I pen this piece. I of course need the same encouragement – even when it comes to writing articles for this site. I do at least one piece a day – sometimes more. (OK, so none were written yesterday – but I did try to celebrate the special day for my wife on her birthday – something especially difficult to do successfully with our very hard lockdown conditions.)

So I usually pray each morning asking the Lord for guidance on what I should write about. And I have come to see that when I do a more spiritual or devotional piece, there are usually far fewer comments, or likes, or shares. So I even thought just now that this piece would also be another one that would not get very much interest.

If I write on the threat of Islam or the radical homosexual agenda for example, then my articles get much more attention and circulation it seems. So I sometimes wonder if these devotional-type pieces are worth doing if maybe only a dozen folks might be helped or blessed by them.

But then the Lord reminds me that such a small response is just fine: better a handful of people deeply impacted by what I am being led to write, than a whole lot of people getting excited about something that may not be on God’s heart. I must just do what God wants me to do in other words, and leave the results up to God.

If I only sought for a great response with a lot of interaction, I would stay away from these sorts of articles and just concentrate on the culture wars’ articles. The temptation is always there to just give people what they want. But the right thing to do is to find out what God wants you to do and then just do it, regardless of the response.

So that I shall do. It will never result in this website being very popular and having masses of people come here every day. But if it is what God wants me to do, then the best thing I can do is to just do it.

[1283 words]

32 Responses to Just Do It

  • Great message, Bill! We don’t just want messages that tickle the ear, but stir the heart! Keep up the good work!

  • Your daily comments are always thought-provoking and helpful. I am also reading Jeremiah at the moment. So stay the course and help (even a few) others.

  • Hi Bill.

    Your cultural and political commentaries are always an important corrective to the mainstream and social media’s take on things.

    However, may I reassure you that your spiritual and devotional pieces are no less valuable.

    If I don’t always comment on them, it’s not because they haven’t had an impact on me.

    It’s probably because they’ve prompted me to deeper prayer and reflection!

    May God continue to bless your CultureWatch ministry.

  • Hi Bill. Thank you for being a faithful servant no matter ‘what the cost’. All of your articles are inspirational and challenging. The devotional style ones may not get as much attention – but that says more about the readers than you. Thank you for your ministry.

  • Yes Yes Yes Bill,

    “Keep ’em coming!”

    I just had the joy of seeing my two daughters gleaning hungrily, from your wonderful informative articles, after coming off the powder milk substituted church messages for decades!

    Your “ear-tickling” few readers may not read your valuable work, but we who feed on the Word of God, need you and thank God for His gifting in you…

    Keep up the “God” fight in you Bill, stay safe and close to Jesus, in these prophesized difficult times.

    Cheers and blessings to you and your family + readers

    Eric Hansen

  • Many thanks John, Geoff and Eric!

  • Thanks Mr Muehlenberg. A good reminder.

  • Yes, thank you again Bill. While I am guilty of reading the more controversial topics, I really do appreciate the devotionals. Perhaps, which I am sure it will generate a lot of debate, another article on capitalism verses socialism, in light of the Biden/Harris race.

  • I don’t know if you have another book in the offing Bill, but if you haven’t I reckon a selection of your daily posts would make a good read in anyone’s thinking.

  • Dear Bill,
    Please know, and I’m sure I speak for many, that all your articles are appreciated . . it’s just that some evoke a personal heart response, while in the case of the culture war topics your readers, including me, may be aware of something they feel may be helpful to post on your site to add to the discussion.
    p.s. Many happy returns, Averil!

  • Keep up the good prophetic (forth-telling) word Bill.
    “Just do the next thing”
    Elisabeth Elliott, taken from a very long quote.

  • Thanks Stephen:

    Years ago, Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) popularized an old poem—the commonsense simplicity and clarity of which have encouraged many anxious and weary saints.

    From an old English parsonage down by the sea
    There came in the twilight a message to me;
    Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
    Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
    And on through the doors the quiet words ring
    Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

    Many a questioning, many a fear,
    Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
    Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
    Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
    Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
    Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing

    Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
    Do it reliantly, casting all care;
    Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
    Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
    Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
    Leave all results, do the next thing.

    Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
    Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
    In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
    The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
    Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
    Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

  • Bill, I welcome your articles and find they never cease to prompt deep thinking and deep prayer, but I rarely feel prompted to write in. I do do so when this happens. Never feel that no response on my part means the Lord has not used you. Not by might but by my Spirit, says the Lord.

    Sue

  • Thanks Bill for the encouraging article. One reason we cannot comment on your more devotional articles is that there is nothing more to say – you have covered everything there is to say.

  • Ah, yes, how true today as we live in the Police State called “Victoria”! I have friends who are quite willing to abide by the “law of the land”, because “that’s what scripture says to do” as opposed to standing with the standard of Jesus. If the oppressed Christians hadn’t stood up for the Truth, there would be no Christians in those oppressed countries today (think of Hong Kong)today… Christine

  • Thanks, Bill. I needed that.

  • As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isa. 55:10-11).

    Be encouraged Bill, as I was to learn this: the rain gives short term results which can be seen almost immediately. The snow builds up until the thaw, then melts, and does exactly the same as the rain, it just takes a little longer. Keep proclaiming whatever Holy Spirit leads you to and God will see it accomplish his purpose in his time. Grace and blessings to you.

  • Thank you for the Word in good season. Just what was needed and definitely encouraging.

  • I am a relatively new reader of you commentaries so many thanks Bill for your amazing and encouraging reads standing up for the truth. I love your Bible Study Helpers. Please be encouraged your readers need your truth. Would love Sky News Allan Jones to set up an interview with you on Christianity.

  • Dear Bill,
    I heard along time ago, that in our Christian walk, that we ought to have someone who walks ahead of us, leads, pulls, instructs. We have a person that walks beside us, a Christian brother, (or sister if you are a lady), and finally that person that WE help or encourage in the Lord.
    When you write about biblical matters and the Lords word, you are walking ahead…leading and helping light the path. When you share your political views, you are beside us…anguishing, laughing and crying. And, I believe, when you can receive some encouragement from your readers in the comments section, you fall into that ‘letting us help you’ category with our encouragement.
    Not sure this makes any sense…but keep up all your great work.
    Ron Adams

  • Thank you for the poem, it is inspiration for a day of wondering what needs to be done, one step at a time.

  • Bill, I always appreciate you timely incisive commentaries with some info you’d never get from the mainstream. (Eg Kamala’s ancestors! ) If I am at a loss for words on your devotional articles it’s because the subject is so vast I realise how much I dont know, and I form a response several days later! I hope you will keep up the good work. I gather you get lots of trolls which is true to ratio of believers and haters.

  • I have just had this brought to my attention it fits with what you are saying.

  • Thanks Bill. I always appreciate your articles.

  • ‘Walking on Water’
    A prophecy to leaders in the church – David Noakes 1994

    “In the days which are to come, that part of the church which will survive and prevail as overcomers will be that part which has learned to walk upon the waters, trusting only in me. There will be such storms that it will no longer be possible, as it were, to cross the waters by the ordinary means of using a boat, for the storms will be such that any boat will founder.

    The ways of traditional church organisation will not be adequate for the needs, because they will be too rigid and inflexible to withstand the wind and the waves, and those who have put their trust in them for their security will be like those who find themselves in a boat which is overwhelmed and doomed to sink.

    In those days only those who have learned to walk upon the waters will walk in safety. Do not put my people into rigid formal structures, for to do this is to put them into a boat which will seem adequate and comfortable while the waters are calm, but will later become a place of death for those whose only experience has been to get in and enjoy the ride.

    The structure of my church is not to be like a ship, a monolithic whole, a structure created by men. It is to be my body, a thing which is completely mobile and flexible, able to respond and adapt to the needs of the moment.

    A body will survive; but any structure created through the wisdom and efforts of man will prove to be like the ship that will sink in the time of trouble and pressure. Do not over-organise my people but teach them the ways of God; teach them the way of listening for the voice of my Spirit, and of spontaneous action in obedience to those promptings.

    Teach them not to rely upon men, or upon any form of organised structure, but teach them that each one must have his trust solely in me, the Head of the body, who alone has the wisdom to guide his people through the stormy waters.

    The days are coming when every item of your security that depends upon the ways of man and the structures of the world, will be taken from you. No matter how hard you have laboured to build it up and no matter how much my people have asked me to bless it, it will all be like having placed your treasure in a bank which has suddenly closed its doors to you and will permit you no access.

    Teach my people, therefore, the way of walking on the water. Teach them in these days while the waters are yet calm to put their eyes upon me with a whole-hearted intensity, and to trust me implicitly in all matters, whether they seem great or small.

    As each member learns to recognise and obey the instructions of the Head, so all together will begin to be able to function as one body.

    This will never come about through human organisation, but only as they learn to walk continually under the direct leading of my Spirit. Your task is not to organise them but rather to teach them how to walk hand in hand with me.

    Consider what is written in my word and hold it close to your hearts.

    Thus it is written, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord, for he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when prosperity comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.

    Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord, for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river and will not fear when heat comes, but its leaf will be green; and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” [Jeremiah 17:5-8]

    Let me teach you how to live and how to lead my people according to this Word, in order that I may have a people who are able to walk upon the waters in the day of the storm.”

  • Many thanks Bill. I appreciate all your work. I know of no other who pumps out what you do and I am informed and blessed by it. As regards to the fact that only a few might read your spiritual messages, I preached to only seven people once as it coincided with the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. I take courage from that unknown preacher who brought Charles Spurgeon to faith. You would know the story well, young Spurgeon could not attend his normal church because of heavy snow, so he went to another. There were only 12-15 people in attendance, the normal preach did not make it, so one of the elders stood up, the text for the day was “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22). The poor man bumbled on for about 10 minutes and sat down and probably went home and told his wife what a miserably failure he was. But it was enough to make Spurgeon to look to Jesus and he was saved. I have written about it here, if you care to read it: https://www.adefenceofthebible.com/2018/04/15/a-faithful-servant.

  • And thanks to everyone else here for your kind words. Much appreciated.

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