John 6:29, 40 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
It struck me as I read this that we have a very shallow definition of faith. This certainly isn’t talking about mere intellectual assent. Rather, it is talking about something that changes the way we live, our whole philosophy of life. Just yesterday in the sermon the Lord had me insert something that wasn’t in my notes, after I had talked about how faith is signing onto God’s contract with us: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) This passage certainly reinforces that. God doesn’t demand instant perfection, as every Bible character testifies. However He does look for forward motion, so to speak. If we aren’t drawing closer to Him, we are effectively drifting away. Sometimes we even run away! God is incredibly patient with us, and verse 39 is very comforting: “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” We aren’t to be paranoid about whether we will “lose our salvation,” but neither are we to take things for granted and just coast. The deeper faith becomes, the more it shapes every part of our lives. That’s why Jesus could say that believing in Him is doing the work of God.
Of course, this applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I can’t say, or even think, that “I’ve done all this so God doesn’t ask anything more of me.” Rather, I need to keep growing, keep pressing in for more of Him. I well remember an analogy Jack Hayford used of rocks in a field. Before we are saved, it’s like there’s a huge boulder in the middle of the field. Salvation removes that boulder, but before long we realize that there are lots of head-sized rocks scattered over the field, and we start working on getting those out. With that done, (and really before it’s finished) we realize that there are almost countless fist-sized rocks to be dealt with. Thankfully, each step down in size is easier to handle, but my arm can get tired of pitching those fist-sized rocks out of my life! It can be a shock to run into another head-sized rock when I thought I had those taken care of, but that’s why humility is essential. I’ve had plenty of “stubbed toes” from that sort of experience! The more rocks are out of the field, the easier it is for God to grow the crop He desires from my life, and that is my goal.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all You are doing in this church. Some of it is surprising, but all of it is good. I ask for wisdom and anointing for everything I am to be involved in today. I also ask Your strength and healing for Cathy, who is dealing with a lot of pain today from her Parkinson’s. May we both keep pressing in to You, so that You may do in and through us all that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!