Belief

 

Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
John 6:29 (NLT)

Take a moment and think about how you experience God’s accounting of your normal everyday life. What sort of emotions come up? What are you expecting Jesus’ response to be? Do you think you will get “Well done, good and faithful servant”? Or do you have a nagging fear that you haven’t done enough to make the grade?

For us in a Western mind-set it is very easy to fall under guilt like this, never feeling fully adequate. However, in John 6 Jesus starkly contrasted this mind-set by telling us that “this is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” Why? What is so important about belief and believing in the one God has sent that it would be described as the only work God wants from you?

Let’s look at the context for this verse. Jesus has been teaching his disciples and ministering to crowds through many healings and is worried that they’ll faint on their way home, so he provides them with a miraculously multiplied packed lunch. They all go satisfied, and he sends his disciples over the lake of Galilee to give them a breather. He goes up the mountain to spend time with his Father; then in the middle of the night he walks down the mountain and keeps on going over the water to meet with his disciples.

Those who had been healed and received the supernatural packed lunch wake up and realise that Jesus and the disciples are gone, so they jump in some boats and come to find Jesus. Jesus has demonstrated without question his superiority over physical bodies (healing), food supply, and the sea. They are in no doubt of his power, but Jesus sees that their hearts are not focused on him, but rather on what he can do for them. Jesus declares: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

From Genesis we have been given the mandate to bless the world, to bring the Kingdom into every sphere, from animal names to horticulture, from discipleship to family life. However, we blew it, instead trying to get more for ourselves. Not being satisfied with who God said we are and what he gave us, we looked for the blessing for ourselves. The rest of the story of Scripture is a sad emphasis of that same story; over and over we see God’s people hoarding the blessing God gave them instead of releasing the blessing to others. This is what Jesus saw in the hearts of the crowd that came to him on that shore. That was what he was confronting with his declaration of the true work of the Kingdom.

God sent Jesus not because the world needed saving, but because he loved the world. True love is for the benefit of the other party. In John 20:21 Jesus explicitly tells the disciples, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And in John 14:26 Jesus promises that even though he is going back to the Father, the Holy Spirit will be sent in Jesus’ name. The work of God is to believe in the one he has sent. That is Jesus. That is Holy Spirit. That is also you. As we choose to activate our faith and believe not simply in Jesus, but also in what he is saying to us, we start to build the Kingdom.

How are you believing today?

Ian on Belief

 

Ian is part of the leadership team at YWAM Seamill. He shared his thoughts on belief at this year’s first Open Evening, a monthly gathering for worship, teaching, interaction, and community held at Seamill. Open Evenings are open to anyone– check the YWAM Seamill Facebook page for upcoming dates!

Making Him Known

I love YWAM’s slogan: To know God and make Him known. To me, these are the two essentials of being a follower of Jesus. I have also seen that it is very hard to MAKE HIM KNOWN without KNOWING HIM. So for myself, these two have definitely always gone hand in hand. In some seasons I might focus more on one of them, but they will always be very connected.

For myself, the desire was always there to tell people about Jesus. It was probably a gift from God, because I didn’t particularly know God well. In fact, despite the fact that for the longest time I couldn’t even say I loved Him, I had this desire and inner drive to tell others about Him!

Inga MayI recall one of the first times that I sensed ‘hearing’ God’s voice. I had an impression that God asked me to go to one of our neighbours and share the good news with them. I postponed it for days, and finally, one day I psyched myself up, went to their house and rang their door bell. I believe it was the man in the house who opened the door. I felt sooo little, if I had had any words to share before that moment, they had definitely left me by now. The only thing I could think of saying was: ‘Can I pray for you?’

Honestly, I cannot remember what he answered. The only thing I remember was a relief because I had dared to step out in obedience to God, and a hope that this would lead them closer to God somehow.

There has been a lot of opportunities for me to share about Jesus to people since then. And I believe I have grown in both boldness and wisdom in how to go about this. I don’t know where you find yourself? Perhaps you identify with me before going up to the neighbour, timid and insecure? Or perhaps you have a lot of experience with sharing the good news and very confident?

Regardless of where you are at, I don’t think we will ever become ‘professional’ in this. I pray that we will become very fruitful and win a lot of people for Jesus, but at the end of the day, it boils down to staying close to Jesus’ heart, and responding when He prompts us to talk with someone. Sometimes people will listen, sometimes they won’t. The important thing is to not let the negative encounters stop us. Even the best evangelists have those moments, but the difference is that they have learnt from their mistakes and keep telling others about our King. Who knows, the next person you talk with could end up giving their lives to Jesus..

So my challenge for us is to not let the past direct our future. Instead let us ask God to send us out with boldness and wisdom. And let us also find those people who are really good at this, and learn from them! I’m a firm believer in a God who loves to partner with everyone- no matter how timid and insecure we feel. He loves to transfer lambs into lions who MAKE HIM KNOWN! Because He is a loving Father, desperate to call His children home.

Knowing God

“To Know God and make Him Known.”

YWAM is committed to know God, His nature, His character and His ways. Its from the overflow of knowing and enjoying fellowship with Him that we seek to reflect who He is in every aspect of our lives and ministry.

I heard Joy Dawson speak on this in 1978 with a passion that was strange to me.

As she shared with so much conviction about ways to get to know God my heart filled with faith that this is something I could also do. Vividly I remember walking into a bookstore and asked for the biggest notebook they have because I knew He was BIG and therefore I needed a BIG book. So for the next 3 years I made God my study and filled those pages with Bible verses and insights and revelations about who God is. Oh the joy of knowing Him. It was like a doorway of fellowshipping with this Trinity God and treasures were unlocked.

As Joy always reminds us “He is the event! The Bible is not primarily about man – it is about who God is.” I also discovered why it needed more grace for Moses to leave God’s presence than to go up the mountain. I went for a 30 day retreat alone with God on a mountain and it was more difficult to leave that place  than to have begun. My Mom said to me a week afterwards: You need to come down from the mountain because you never leave your room!”

Here are a few of the ways of how to get to know God (learned from Joy Dawson):

Let us acknowledge to God how little we really know Him. Tell God that you want Him to be the supreme desire of your life and ask Him to increase your desire and begin to seek Him. I love the way that Jeremiah reminds us “You will find Me when you search for Me with your whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13)

Begin to pray the prayers prayed by those who went before us. These are some of my favorites that have helped me to hunger and thirst for Him continually.

“As a deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God! My soul thirsts for you” ~ Psalm 42:1-2

“O God You are my God, early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You. My flesh longs for You, in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory” ~ Psalm 63:1-2

MarietteAnother focus is to study the ways of God which are the principles by which He operates. His ways reflects His character. Meditate on and obey His word. I quickly learned the difference between knowing His acts from His ways. As I studied His ways it became obvious that it needed deeper digging and more time spent with Him.

If we want the imprint of the nature of God on us then the study of His Son is imperative because He carried the imprint of His Father. From 2 Peter it is clear that it is the knowledge of God and not the knowledge about God.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

~ Mariette Louw has been a leader and speaker in YWAM for many years both in Scotland and internationally. She currently lives in Glasgow.