Spiritual Smoke Detector
I was having coffee yesterday with one of our mission partners, Doug Burleigh. Doug used to be the president of Young Life and now leads a ministry in Washington D.C., quietly serving and encouraging political leaders from around the world. Doug asked me a question he has asked hundreds of times over the years: “What is the work of God?” In other words, what is the work that God requires us to do as followers of his Son, Jesus?
How would you answer that? Is the work of God to obey the Sermon on the Mount? To follow his Son Jesus? To make disciples or evangelize? All of those are important and we have been focused for months on how important it is to truly follow Jesus if we claim him as Lord.
Still, there is one place where Jesus specifically answers the question, “What is the work of God for you?” In John 6:29, Jesus says, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Our work is to believe in Jesus. But surely this is more than an intellectual exercise. What would it look like if we really believed Jesus… every day… in every situation? Really believed that he is Lord, really believed that he is Savior, really believed that he is God and that he takes care of his own.
Doug went on, “We ought to install spiritual smoke detectors in our brains. Every time we worry, get angry or get afraid, the alarm should scream inside our head saying, “You are not believing in Jesus.”
A few weeks back, I preached on Jesus’ words, “Do not worry.” I am trying to live out that command of Jesus every day, and it has made a difference for me. Every time I find myself wanting to worry, I speak to that anxiety: “Do not worry… trust God!” Isn’t that exactly what Jesus is saying here in John? “Believe in me. Trust me! That is your job. I can and will take care of you!”
Christmas can be a wonderful… and also hard season. Lots of opportunities for us to worry, get angry or be afraid. And a perfect laboratory for us to do the one work to which Jesus calls us: Truly believe in him!
P.S. This Sunday’s message will be sharing something that you won’t want to hear second hand. I urge you to be there in person. And just one more reminder: which of our five Christmas Eve services will you bring a friend to? And which will you serve at. This is your Christmas Eve ministry, a gift of our church to our community. Please do your part.