What do you work hard at? School? Sports? Music?
Christianity is very different from every other religion. In every other religion you have to do good works in order to make God happy. And if you do enough good things you can earn your way to heaven. Religion is sort of like getting good grades in order to move on to the next grade level, or scoring enough points in order to win the game.
But That’s not how Christianity works at all. In fact, Jesus tells us that the only “good work” we have to do is to simply believe in him. Listen to how he said it here in John’s gospel:
John 6:27-29. 27 [Jesus said]Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
Jesus said these words right after he had fed 5000 people with just a little bit of bread and fish. Then he started talking about how they should not work for the bread that perishes (rots). Jesus is reminding them about how the Israelites in the wilderness had to gather the bread called manna that God sent them from heaven. Each day the people had to work to gather it up. And by the next morning the manna would all be rotten. They worked hard for bread that didn’t last.
Instead, Jesus says, “work for the bread that gives you eternal life.” But read verse 29 again. Jesus says that the “work” is to simply believe in him.
Jesus is telling us that without trusting in him we will starve on the inside. If we don’t ever trust in Jesus to forgive us and to take away our sins, and if we don’t believe that he loves us, we will be separated from God forever. And if we don’t keep trusting in Jesus each day we will just become more and more worried, and angry, and selfish or we will think that we can be good enough to go to heaven and we will start to think that we are a better person than someone else. We will look down on others and avoid others. We will become less loving instead of more loving. And so we must do the only work that God requires of us – believe in Jesus. Trust in his love. Count on him alone and not yourself. And then you will truly be alive.
Because of Jesus the only “good work” we have to do is to believe in him.
With Jesus we can count on him to love us in each moment of each day.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
At your next meal together as a family talk about how Jesus is like food. Just like we have to eat every day to stay alive, we have to believe Jesus every day to stay alive in him.
Help me to simple believe in you and what you did for me on the cross. And from that simple faith may I love you and love others too.
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