21 July, 2010

What Should We Do?

Today I was reading the Bible and I found myself in John's gospel, chapter John 6:22-42. To set the scene for you, let me remind you that on the day before where we pick up in verse 22, the crowd had witnessed and partook in the experience of a tremendous miracle, that of Jesus feeding 5000 (plus) with 5 loaves and fishes and this new day, they are longing for more from Him, searching for Him first in Tiberias but He was gone. So they pile into their boats and the go over to Capernaum. When they find him, Jesus says "I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don't be concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of His approval."  Now pay particular attention to their response: "They replied, We want to perform God's works too. What should we do? Jesus told them, 'this is the only work God wants from you. Believe in the one He has sent."

I've been thinking about that ever since I read it today... and as I thought on it I realized that we are just like these people. We are always asking God what should we do because we want to perform the type of miracles that He does. There are books my the dozens telling us what to do. Pick up Charisma magazine and you'll find 30 or more conferences every single month advertised trying to teach us how to get closer to God, how to flow in the Spirit, how to do the works of God, yada, yada, yada...
We preachers are always looking for away to ignite our people and to get them to do God's work. And the funny, but sad truth of the matter is  that Jesus gave us a very concise and simple answer... "believe in the one He (God) has sent."  Really believe.... trust... obey.  It is so simple, yet we miss it... Believing comes before doing. First we must believe!  From believing flows all our actions, all our doing. It is really this simple: What we believe determines how we respond. We cannot win any battles if we do not believe they can be won. 
God's simple message to us is first 'believe' and when you believe, the Lord indeed begins to work out the doing part in us in ways so much more than we can ask or imagine. "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not to your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path."

According to scripture, it really is this simple: If we believe in the One God has sent (Christ), then no challenge, no trial, no conflict, no darkness, no evil, no pain, no suffering, no struggle cannot be overcome. If we believe in Christ, then our life ought to reflect the attributes of God; His love, His kindness, His compassion, His tenderness, His righteousness, His justice should flow naturally. If I believe in Jesus Christ, then my evil heart can be transformed to reflect the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control should abound. If I believe in the One whom the Father has sent, then my choices ought to reflect His choices. If I believe in the One God has sent, then the things that are on the heart of God, ought to be the things that are on my heart. Those things that break His heart, should break my heart, that which grieves His spirit, should grieve my spirit, that which He says is true, I ought to be believe is true. If I believe in Christ, then my existence and purpose on this earth is to reflect His glory.

John 6 goes on to teach that Jesus is the Bread of Life and that whoever comes to Him will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in Him, will never be thirsty. The real impact of this statement is lost to Western civilization. In the culture of the Middle East, especially in the time of Jesus, bread was the mainstay of their diet. Bread was nourishment and their life-source. Without bread, there would be no existence. When Jesus said "the bread of life" it took on meaning to these people. They understood that what Jesus was saying is that there was no existence apart from Him! 

How do we do it? We don't need another book or program. We don't need another conference. We need to believe... really believe in Jesus. To take him at His Word and know that he is our life-source! Apart from absolute belief... faith and trust... in Jesus, we cannot make it, and we have no power. But in and through Him, we can do everything Jesus said we could do.

Lord, help me to believe... fully trust in You!

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