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What Must We Do To Please God?

John 6:28-29
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.’ (NIVUK)

Human beings are naturally very religious (Acts 17:22-23).  Although many in the Western world claim to be atheists or agnostics, they easily invent idols to worship – possessions, relationships, experiences, ideas and feelings, and themselves.  However most people believe that there must be someone or something bigger than them and that they are accountable (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  

The big question is ‘What must we do to please God?’  In one way, that shows we are appealing to a higher authority, because we are asking to know the rules.  But in another way, it is an appeal to human pride: assuming that we are good enough and strong enough to do the right thing all the time, and never do what is wrong.

Jesus answered the question: God's priority for every human being is to put their trust in Jesus Christ, God the Son and the Saviour of the world.  He alone has been sent by Father God to be the King and ruler of every heart.  Paradoxically, all the 'work' is done by God.  And there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation.  But to receive God's approval and invite Christ's intervention in our lives, there is something we must do.  We must repent of our pride and arrogant self-righteousness - choosing to refuse to trust all other gods including our own strength, wealth or even family connections – and believe the gospel about who Jesus is and what He has done (Mark 1:15).

'Trusting' does not mean being passive.  Faith is an active decision which refuses to trust everything else and commit ourselves to the mercy and grace which Christ longs to give us.  So, in some ways, a religious mentality can be the enemy of faith.  Religion can make us think that we can earn our way into God's presence, proving our righteousness and demonstrating our own power to be good.  All that is an illusion: for Jesus said that we cannot come to the Father unless we come through Him (John 14:6).  It is worth spending time to consider the people, things and circumstances which we are relying on, and then choosing to make Christ Lord of all.

Dear Heavenly Father. Thank You that You have already provided, through Jesus, the way to come to You and be saved. I am sorry when I have followed the ways of the world and surrounded myself with people and things, and yet have not been regularly listening to You or telling You what is in my heart. Please forgive me. I pray that You will help me to trust the Lord Jesus with everything, so that each challenge in life will be my opportunity to learn to trust Jesus with everything. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams