Then they said to Him:  What shall we do that we may work the works of God?”  John 6:28

“Jesus answered……This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”  John 6:29

I don’t know about you but I don’t particularly enjoy those analogy sections that have been added to quite a few standardized tests these days; something is like something as this is to that.  It is supposed to test the ability to reason which might be why I struggle so much with them.  Yet as I read through so much of the struggles that human beings have understanding the teachings of Jesus, there seems to be a fundamental theme that continues throughout.  We are all about doing.  What do I need to do to have eternal life?  How many times do I forgive my neighbor?  What sign are you going to do that I will believe in you?  If I do, then I can believe.

God sighs.  Jesus sighs.  The Spirit groans.  Christ tries and tries again to tell us:  We can never really do what is needed until first we believe.  By believing in the Father, you can then believe in the Son.  In believing in the Father and Son you can then ask for them to come into your life.  Through Grace, once they have entered your life then you will see and do things much differently.

But God, you don’t understand; we answer.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  And you get what you pay for so free is worth nothing.  Payment earned by the sweat of my brow is of immeasurably greater value than charity received by mere asking.  In the end it is the psychology of value of I, or me.  I want to do so that I can be owed.  God you owe me salvation because I am good and decent and give here and do there.  I read my bible every day and I even take some of my precious time and I give it to you in prayer.  Yes God, You so owe me.  I’ve earned my place in heaven!  Satan laughs and demons cheer.

God does understand.  He says I’ve watched you.  I’ve witnessed how your “good” is and the outcome of your “decent” acts.  I have seen the poor ignored and the hungry starve.  I have seen your eye covet what you don’t have and the violence and war you inflict to get it.  I have seen your “love” turn to hate when you get tired or bored with that family member or close friend.  I have seen you destroy yourselves with countless acts and substances as you try to escape the world you build through your own actions. You are correct; God says, You have earned something from me.  I do owe you.  I owe you condemnation and eternal separation from Me.  Yet My Love for you and My desire to give you grace will not allow Me to abandon you.  You are too precious to Me to give you what you have earned.  So instead I will do for you what you can not do for yourselves.  I will give you a salvation that you have not earned.  I will devise a pardon for your guilt.  I will sacrifice My Son, that He will pay the debt that you do owe and His Grace will cover your sins.

What do I want you to do in return?  Believe.  Believe; have faith that I exist and that I Love you.  Believe that I am the Creator of all things; but especially Your Creator and that I want to bless you and keep you, and make My Light to shine upon you.  That is all.

Now wait just a minute, some would say.  You’re saying all I have to do is believe.  That I can sit back and do nothing and God is just going to come right on in and save me.  That I can go on living just the way I am and God is going to make things just peachy.  No I am not saying that at all.  What I am saying is look at Jesus.  See what Jesus Christ did because He believed in the Father.  He was in the Father and the Father was in Him.  Jesus traveled to where the need was.  Jesus fed. Jesus healed.  Jesus comforted.  Jesus taught.  Jesus preached.  Jesus sacrificed.  And most importantly, Jesus Loves.  We will never be as perfect as Jesus was and is; however, our belief in Him and Our Heavenly Father who sent Him, must and will change our behavior; our doing.  And that doing is not an attempt to earn a position we can never achieve or fulfill a debt we can never repay; no, it is simply the natural response, as natural as breathing itself, to the Grace which we have freely received from Our Heavenly Father.  As natural as living a life of praise to His most Holy Name.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we humbly admit that we so often have it completely backwards.  We admit that we think about ourselves first and try to devise ways to earn our own salvation.  We try, Most Merciful Father, to judge what we do as worthy enough to come into Your Presence.  Forgive us Dear Father.  Help us to be like Your Son, Jesus Christ, believing not in ourselves first, but in You.  Pour out Your Spirit, Everlasting Father, that we might truly come to completely believe as well as completely surrender ourselves to the One You sent for Our Salvation.  That our lives and our acts would be forever changed to bring Glory to Your Most Holy Name we pray.  In the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.