May 6 (John 6:28-29)
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.” (ESV)
Yes, but…. The non-believer says no to the call of God, and the believer who says yes often falls into the pride of the Pharisee who thanked God for not being like others (Luke 18:11). If truth were told, however, the yes of the believer is often conditional. We say yes and then hurry on to an objection. “Yes, yes, I get it, Lord. You want me to believe in Jesus. But what do you really want me to do? Shouldn’t I be out there saving the world with the wonderful talents you have given me?”
Belief in Jesus leads to following Him, and following Him leads to acts of service through which He does indeed change the world. Yet when we rush to the acts of service and forget Jesus Himself, we fall prey to pride that we are the ones actually making the difference. We begin to believe that it is all up to us, and this turns into a deadly perfectionism that leaves us exhausted from carrying burdens we were never meant to carry. Remember, it was Jesus who said that His burden was light (Matthew 11:30).
Are you experiencing the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that are the fruits of the Spirit? If yes, then thank God and savor the true life in Christ. If not, don’t double down on your own efforts to force those fruits into existence. That is likely what you are doing anyhow and is the cause of the problem. Instead, turn back to Jesus. Let Him become once again your all in all. When you let Him become your life, you are truly doing the work of God.
Jesus, pry my fingers from the tight grip I maintain on life. Open my hands so that I may receive You. May You direct my paths and not my agenda, however many good things it may contain. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins