The Great Question and the Simple Answer

May 09, 2017

There are some questions that are more important than others. ""What are we having for supper?"" is less critical than, ""What am I going to do with my life?""

The disciples posed a foundational question to Jesus in John 6:28:

Therefore, they said to Him, ""What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?""

This is what any serious follower of Christ wants to know. ""I don't want to go through my life and not cooperate with God in His work. How do I get in on that? How can I so live that I am accomplishing God's work, not my own?""

They had walked with Jesus long enough to get a taste of a man working the works of God, and it was mind-boggling, unearthly, and remarkably more effective than a mere man.

""How do we do what you're doing, in the way you're doing it?"" was their cry.


As usual, Jesus boiled it down to a sentence. In fact, a word. ""This is the work of God: believe in Him whom He has sent.""

""Believe"" is the operative word and the one we most confuse and neglect. It is not mere head knowledge. John got this, for of the writers of the Gospels, Matthew uses the verb ten times, Mark ten, Luke nine, John ninety-nine times!

Believe means to trust, depend upon, rely on, place your faith in, commit to. Believing is not a mere occasional idea, but is changing your whole mode of operation.

God is on a relentless mission to move us from the place of independence, (which began in the Garden), to dependence. We need to get back where we belong. Back to moving in sync with God—united with Him and letting Him do His work in and through us.

To not believe in Him is to do life ourselves. Trusting in our ability, our power, our thoughts. Paul would call it ""putting confidence in the flesh"" in Philippians 3.

To trust in Him is an entirely new way of operation. And, it brings Jesus into the equation. We are no longer doing our works, but His. We are no longer limited by our insufficient power, but fueled by His inexhaustible energy (“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”). We no longer can draw only from our limited store, but are supplied by the inexhaustible resources of God, (“I have nothing but have all things,” Paul says).

Want to work the works of God? Believe. No other answer is needed. All other answers are wrong.


The question then comes for us in every endeavor, every day: “Am I in a position of faith right now? Am I depending? Am I trusting in Him? Is what I'm thinking of doing my idea or is? Is this God-initiated and God empowered?”

And such a life, of course, is marked by humility, a voracious study of God's Word, (to hear from Him in this connection), and unceasing prayer. If you can go a day, a week, a month without really praying, it is a clear indication that you think you can make it without God.  A life that continually looks to God in prayer is the tell-tale evidence of authentic dependency.

Jesus said that ""apart from Me, you can do nothing"" (John 15:4-5). If I am not operating in dependence, I have no chance of doing God-work. But connected to Him, I can have every joyful expectation of a Divinely effective life!




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