In your heart, have you ever asked the same thing as the people in this story? They inquired of Jesus, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (v. 28). Have you ever wondered what virtuous work God might wish you were doing?
Jesus’ answer was so straightforward, so simple, that it goes against the grain of our merits-based cultural thinking. “The work of God is this: to believe.” That’s all. This is the occupation He calls us to. Just to believe in Him.
How could it possibly be so uncomplicated? Aren’t there a bunch of other things we’re supposed to be doing? Works we’re supposed to be working? Deeds we’re supposed to be performing? Bibles we’re supposed to be reading? Hours of church attendance and spiritual disciplines we’re supposed to be logging? Checks we’re supposed to be writing? Souls we’re supposed to be winning?
Hear it again. Our occupation is this: to believe on Him. Do you realize that this is how Jesus lived too? He clearly explained the way He functioned: “The Father who dwells in Me does the works” (John 14:10, NKJV). Daddy does everything. I just yield to Him.
Our spiritual growth is all about looking more and more unto the Lord. As we do, the roots of our faith are going down deeper and deeper into His love. As we do, we are beholding Him more and more. As we do, He is doing the works. He is. That’s why He gets all the glory.
For example, did someone get encouraged by an article you wrote? Daddy did that. He gave you the words. He gave you the wisdom. He gave you the inspiration. He gave you the oxygen to breathe while you were typing. He gave your muscle strength so you could sit up and hit the keys. He made sure your neurons were firing. He flowed through you with His Spirit, putting it all together in your mind.
Did you pray today? Daddy put the desire in you for that. He is drawing you near to Himself. Did you notice something good growing in your life? Daddy did that. He gives the growth. Did you get ahead in some area where you’d been behind? Daddy did that too.
You get the idea. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we are going to retire decades early and spend our earthly existence in a hammock… because, after all, Daddy is going to do everything. On the contrary! The more He does the works in us, the more fruitful our lives become. Consider Paul’s words: “I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10, NIV).
That wasn’t false modesty. Paul knew, all the way to his very core, that it wasn’t him. It was God doing the works in Him. And God was doing them so efficiently that it manifested in joyful, arduous labor. Countless churches planted. Countless Gentiles brought into the Kingdom. Timeless epistles penned that would continue to bear mind-blowing fruit all the way up until the coming of the Lord.
It wasn’t him. Daddy did it all. Paul’s job was simply to believe… to rest in trust… and to allow his loving Master to do everything He wanted to do through His willing vessel.
We are not called to strain and strive. Hard, painful toil was Adam’s curse that Jesus died to free us from. We are not called to get red in the face trying to muster up good works for God. Rather, we are called to abide in Him, in the Vine. The Vine will produce abundant, rich fruit through our lives as we do so.
The disciples who enters fully into this revelation will operate exclusively through the power of Holy Spirit. They will believe and fully understand that Daddy is endlessly, mightily at work on the inside of them. They will cease from their own labors, and His will begin to flow through them like an ebullient, unstoppable tide.
Precious one, listen one more time, from your deepest heart:
Does believing in Jesus mean giving mental assent to what He has claimed about Himself?