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The Simplicity of Christ: Only Believe




“What am I supposed TO DO?”


We often ask ourselves this question when we are dealing with a long-term situation that makes us uncomfortable. Often Christians have an expansive, heavenly mindset—as we should, but find ourselves in life situations that just do not seem to fit our call. It is like wearing shoes that are too tight, day after day. And we think if we were “doing something” better, smarter, or with the right connections, we could solve our own problem.


I would like to invite you today to consider the entire world and all it had to offer, in comparison to Heaven, would have been for Jesus like shoes that were extremely tight. He had it all—seated beside the Father from the beginning (John 1), then stooped low for our sake, to write upon the dust of the ground. That happens to us sometimes, but Christ endured “menial tasks” and bent beneath His station (i.e., to wash His disciples’ feet) because He understood that God directs our service on earth. We do not, and will not, this side of Heaven, understand how our “wearing shoes that are too tight” cleanses the feet of those around us. The Lord works in mysterious ways—but work, He does.


Jesus was able to maintain His peace during His years of service on earth because He kept His faith clean and thought along simple, strong, uncomplicated lines: this is God’s will for Me right now. And for me, and for you. He removed the unnecessary complexity.


God is providential.

He is the Potter. We are the clay.


John 6:29 gives us the gift of peace and contentment with our lot. It answers the question: What am I supposed TO DO? Jesus’ first disciples had the EXACT SAME QUESTION here, nearly 2,000 years ago.


What must we DO to carry out the works God requires (John 6:28, MOUNCE)?


What do you want me to DO, God? I will do it.

It is a common condition among the saints with our minds in a beautiful Heaven and our feet strapped in the fallen world, which sometimes does not make sense, to want to work our way out of it, to devise schemes ahead of God’s timing.


Several translations might lead us to infer belief is the work we are to do.[1]


Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29, NLT).
Jesus answered, "What God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent" (GNT).
Jesus replied, "This is the deed God requires--to believe in the one whom he sent" (NET Bible*).
"This," replied Jesus, "is above all the things that God requires--that you should be believers in Him whom He has sent" (Weymouth NT).

Consequently, we think if we could only master this requirement, we would solve our issue and have a breakthrough. So, we set off feverishly “doing,” trying very hard to accomplish this thing called “belief.” And we struggle, like grasping air in our fists. The longer our circumstances tarry, the harder we work at believing. In all these works, we can run the danger of thinking we missed it, or that we failed, or that God isn’t answering our prayers like He used to—all these things can lead to spiritual burnout and make us doubt our vision.


But in the original language of John 6:29, Jesus cures it. He actually says this: Iēsous (Jesus) apokrinomai (answered), ho kai legō autos (saying to them), “Houtos eimi ho (This is the) ergon (inner work/life energy) ho Theos (of God), hina pisteuo (that you would believe) eis hos ekeinos (in Him whom He) apostellō (has Sent).”[2]


In other words, Jesus corrected their question: “[What must you do? No… It is what God does in you.] This is the inner work of God indwelling you [with the result of His Presence being] that you would believe in Me, the One Whom God sent.”


This is the Simplicity of Christ:

Rely on God for faith in Him.


This is the primary matter that concerns you.


Here are a few translations perhaps a bit closer to the original language:


Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (NIV).
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (KJV).
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (NASB).
Jesus answered them, "This is God's work: to believe in the one whom he has sent" (ISV).

The word “require(s)” is not present in the original language. Jesus is shifting the focus from one of complication, “What does God want me to do?” to the only, simple solution to our faith, “God does it.” God causes us to believe in Christ. God saves our souls. God works His believing energy (energeo) through us. We are not the focus; the world is not the focus: God is.


If you want peace, if you want to have and enjoy your life, then rely on God.

Done and done.


We get the cart ahead of the horse, the reflection of Heaven inverted in our minds, when we start thinking we are doing for God. The truth is God is doing for us and through us—this is the substance of rest, the element of trust and the simplicity of our faith—this creates the childlike atmosphere that caused us to fall in love with Jesus in the first place. Like a child would be free to be happy, we can be today.


Jesus understood the distinction between human works (which amount to nothing) and God’s works (which amount to everything) clearly. With this understanding, Jesus considered menial tasks on earth as pure service to God. He continually trusted in the truth that God is “ever at work” in His chosen people. God sprinkles us, like seeds, in interesting ground. We are not to look around and compare our lives with the larger house or title of our neighbor, but rather we are to look up, and grow up, in the light of God Who made us to be. To exist. To breathe. To feel the sun on our face. To live. To abide on His vine.


Heaven will outshine and outdo it all.


Belief can be described like this: cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him, leaning your entire personality/personhood/soul on God (adapted from AMPC translation).


This is the Simplicity of Christ. As His people, we get to LEAN and lean very heavily on Him to do it. He not only can take your weight, He prefers it that way. Depending 100% upon Him is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of togetherness in His eyes. You see, God wants you. He has since the foundation of the world. He is responsible for you.


Simply BELIEVE.


Belief is the work of God and unequivocal evidence that He is alive inside of you, active and well and all-powerful, doing exactly what He deems necessary through you. He has not tossed you aside; He has strategically placed you. Therefore, don’t be concerned about shoes that are too tight here, a position at work that doesn’t fit your capabilities, circumstances that are dragging their heels. Keep the vision of Heaven in front of you—shining like a diamond that reflects the light. Trust the Lord’s process of refining you on earth, polishing you with every step in the dust you take. A walk like this becomes “shoes of peace” and will lead to gold streets for you (Eph. 6:15).


May God bless you.


 

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TRANSLATIONS:


Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible (AMPC), Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org


Scripture taken from the Good News Translation in Today’s English Version (GNT). Second Edition Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1 (ISV). Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY.


King James: Public Domain.


Mounce Reverse Interlinear™ New Testament (MOUNCE). Copyright © 2011 by William D. Mounce. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. “Reverse Interlinear” is a trademark of William D. Mounce. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6%3A28-30&version=MOUNCE


Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996, 2019 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org


Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT). Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible. New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Weymouth New Testament: Public Domain.

[1] The author is not preferring one translation over any other, but is merely suggesting readers consider the original languages very carefully in Scripture reading and utilize a variety of translations and Bible tools to do so, such as Blue Letter Bible (https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb20/jhn/6/28-30/s_1003028), Bible Hub (https://biblehub.com/lexicon/john/6-29.htm), MOUNCE (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6%3A28-30&version=MOUNCE), NET Bible with original translation panel open (https://netbible.org/bible/John+6) and other reputable Lexicons. *For instance, the footnote in NETbible.org notes states plainly, “This is the work of God,” not man—man cooperates and relies upon God to do the inner work of faith (https://netbible.org/bible/John+6). [2] The Mounce Reverse Interlinear™ New Testament (MOUNCE). Copyright © 2011 by William D. Mounce. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. “Reverse Interlinear” is a trademark of William D. Mounce. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6%3A28-30&version=MOUNCE

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