Working to believe4
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
- John 6:28-29
What kind of work is it “to believe?”
For some of us, belief in God comes naturally or easily. Maybe we were raised around it or when we were first exposed to faith it just seemed obvious.
But some among us have had to work to believe. These folks have wrestled with their upbringings, untangled knots of questions and clung to their belief in Jesus even when life seemed to fall apart.
We are so honored to have people like this in our midst.
Belief is a serious thing. We should take it seriously as work. Like any work it may be exhausting, overwhelming, difficult-at-first, complicated, engaging, fun, life-shaping, world-changing.
Dallas Willard, the philosopher and spiritual director, spoke about what he called “The Law of Indirect Effort.” Athletes training for marathons will lift weights and eat right and go to Fleetfeet. Weights and food and shoes don’t replace running, but you’d struggle to finish a marathon without them. They allow you to do indirectly what you can’t do by direct effort.
The same is true when it comes to belief. There are some things that we struggle to believe: “Does Jesus listen to our prayers? Is the Bible God’s Word? Can God make my life better?” Approached directly, these – and issues like them – can present a tremendous struggle.
But when approached indirectly – approached with an attitude that says “I’m going to work on this” – amazing things can happen. Give God a year and see if your life is better. Read through the Bible for yourself and give room for God to show you how he speaks through it. Ask your small group if they’ve ever seen an answered prayer. It’s okay to work to believe.
Where do you need to work to get to a place of belief?