Jesus answered, “The work of God is this; to believe the one he has sent.”
Do you have a memory verse this week? One of those verse that you read and say, I need to learn this so that I can recite it without reading it at times? Right now, my verse is John 6:29, and it reads,
“Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this; to believe the one He has sent.’”
I don’t know if you do this as well, but when I am memorizing a verse, I say it out loud over and over for a minute in order to cement it into my mind. The word that I put most emphasis when speaking the verse is believe for several reasons.
To me, the word believe is an action word. In order to believe, you have to continue in the belief. Believing Jesus lived, died, and rose again. The life that Jesus lived was an example of what we were supposed to live and should now live. He died in our place so that we could continue to live. He rose from the dead as a living being in victory over death, and He ascended to sit at the right hand of the throne of the Father. This is the simple truth, which is the core belief of a Believer.
This word is a very simple action even though it is not easy. In order to believe, you have to first hear about it, and then know about it before you can believe. That process has to go in that order, but it does not have a time allotment. It can take as little as a few seconds to hours to days, weeks, months, or years. Jesus simply states this simple truth in a simple way.
Someone wondered what the work of God was. I imagine that this guy had the train of thought that I had, which is that I wanted a list. I wanted to be able to check off each item as I went. He wanted to know what formula of actions to perform in order to be guaranteed entrance into Heaven. In addition to knowing what exactly to do, we would know how much time we had and maybe have the ability to work faster or slower through the tasks in order to manipulate that time stamp. One could accomplish the task sooner. And then our life would be like some video game my son plays whose goal is to “100%” it as fast as he can.
The inquiring man didn’t realize that the relationship with the Father is what is important, not the acts of obedience. The Father can do whatever He wants with whatever He wants. He is the Almighty Creator of everything. He wants a relationship with us individually as well as corporately.
The word “believe” has a spiritual and relational aspect to it. In the Greek, the word is pisteuete, which is rendered you should believe. The word “believe” in the Bible means more than simply agreeing in our minds that something might be true. It means trust—that we believe so strongly in God that we are willing to commit our lives to Him and live the way He teaches us to live.
The word that stuck out to my husband was “work”. This is more than a verbal truth but it is a word that is speaks of action. It bleeds into the other areas of your life guiding our decisions in one way or another. This idea of working is not about working to gain favor or access in the promises God has given us. The work that needs to be done, like Jesus says in Matthew, “the harvest is full, but the laborers are scarce.”
Work or productivity should be shown by products/produce. You can tell a tree by its fruit. And you can tell a person by what they do, whether it is self-serving or others-serving. God causes us to produce; we just need to be willing to work for Him instead of ourselves or others. It is important to note that works do not gain access to heaven. That is a gift from God that is acquired once we believe in the one He has sent.
The word “believe” just isn’t deep enough. Its misleading to simply believe without moving and acting upon that belief. This is not a passive word. One is not just sitting there somewhere with eyes closed and hands held together with palms pressed against each other saying to themselves, “Believe. Believe. Believe.” This isn’t a “sit-and-wait” event. We are still to continue living and looking for opportunities to serve God and show others His grace, mercy, and love. The work is to believe the One God sent and by believe, I mean act on the belief that Jesus came from God and that what He says is true. That’s it. Simple. Right? Maybe.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..