As I’ve said in other writings, my favorite title for a book is the one by Eugene H. Peterson, titled, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.” It’s a really good book with a fantastic title. That title came to mind, again, and served as a springboard for this devotional.
John 6:27-29 (NIV)“…Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
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.”
Notice that Jesus said work, not works. The Jews live a life of discreet works. There are festivals at set times and dates. There is the reading of the Torah on the Sabbath. There were prescribed sacrifices for specific life events and sins. Under the Mosaic law, there are/were many discrete works that must be done in prescribed ways and times. But, what filled in the times between those works was daily living.
Jesus reminded the Jews, and us, of God’s intent. God intends for us to live, and move, and have our being in God (Acts 17:28). So, Jesus was teaching what seemed to be a new thing, but it was really an old thing; God’s desire has always been to commune with His creation that was made in His image. Jesus was saying that life is not a series of discrete works separated by life. Rather, life is a continual abiding in Jesus; that is the work God desires.
This abiding is what Paul wrote about in Romans 1:16-17, which says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek. For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
When we are regenerated by Jesus we live in God’s kingdom. That’s a continual state of being. There are no discreet works separated by daily life. Our new “natural” is to perpetually abide with God by faith. So, births, deaths, marriage, employment, recreation, joy and sorrow all are to be shared with our Father through Jesus Christ, our Savior. We should not have gaps in our life. We should invite God and include Him in all we do.
As Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Jesus is not asking for a visit but for an everlasting life with that person. The good news is that that person can be you and me!