I've been prepping to preach at my dad's church tomorrow morning, and thought I'd post some of my introductory thoughts. Maybe it will help the message become more crystallized and focused. Or maybe it will make me feel better for not having written many Posts of Substance recently. Regardless...
Every once in awhile, someone poses a question something like this:
"What is the one area in your life you need to shore up in order to grow in your walk with Jesus?"
"What's the one thing you need to do in order to grow as a believer?"
"What's holding you back from really flourishing in your faith?"
And being a person who is good with lists, I am ready to play along.
My short list
Have more focused times in the word
Great times with Jesus
Have empathy for my wife rather than trying to fix her
Don’t cuss when I get angry
What is more, once I make some progress on these, I’ll develop a new list that will move on to more advanced things like increased holiness and a more consistent witness… How am I doing, Jesus? Not bad, eh? And I’m just getting started.
About this time, Jesus says “Read John 6:28-29.”
OK, sure. That was on my list of things to do anyway…
Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." - John 6:28-29
You mean that faith is all I need? Awesome! That dramatically simplifies my life. Get faith. I will start doing that on Monday.
“You’re missing something. Faith is the gift of God and doesn’t come by exertion, lest anyone should get a big head. You struggle with spiritual realities, not flesh and blood. Therefore, you will beat sin, death, and the devil by learning to trust your Father and resting fully on everything he has done for you and given you. You will not beat sin, death and the devil by drinking a lot of coffee and working really hard not to get distracted while you read the Bible.”
Reluctantly, I admit that Jesus is right. Again. I tear up my list and start wondering, OK, so how do I go about this so-called "work" of believing?