So what do we need to do to increase our spirituality and walk with the Lord?
That’s what Christ told a group of Galileans who asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (John 6:28). Jesus had earlier chided them for being interested in Him solely because of the meal He had provided (v. 26,10-13). He challenged them to work for “food that endures to eternal life,” (v. 27). In response, they asked the question about what they needed to do.
Believe—it sounds easy enough (and at times it is), but the fact that Jesus speaks of believing as “the work of God,” (v. 29), should alert us to the reality that there are times when believing is difficult.
When Jesus says we are to believe in the One God has sent, it’s obvious He means more than a generalized belief that He is the Messiah. More to the point, it involves believing all that being the Messiah embraces. If you want to know the difference between these two, take a look at Peter’s confession of Christ in Matthew 16:16 and then see him struggle with his belief when it comes to accepting all that being the Messiah means (v. 21-23). Then take a look at v. 24-25, and see how Jesus relates this to being His disciple.
One thing we should learn from all of this is to patently reject the easy believism of a consumer approach to Christianity. Unfortunately, too many people import into texts like John 3:16 the idea that all that is involved in believing is accepting the relational truth that Jesus is God’s Son. That’s certainly a good place to start, in fact, Christ says it’s blessed (Matthew 16:17)—but that doesn’t reflect the deep, full sense in which the word ‘believe’ is usually used by John (see 4:42, 13:19, 20:30-31). And, it’s ultimately an insufficient base on which to build (James 2:19). It’s like building the forms for a foundation but not pouring the concrete
No, believing in the way that John uses the word is not only accepting God’s idea of the Messiah (rather than ours), but also embracing God’s idea of discipleship. It involves continual learning and responding. Believing in the One God has sent is not for the superficial, the faint-hearted, or those who wish to remain comfortable and unchallenged. It is real work that results in real life.