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Accept or believe?

Wed, May 19

“For that deep down body thirst”

“Gatorade is thirst aid for that deep down body thirst.”  That jingle from the 90’s still rings in my head every time I see a Gatorade.  I grew up down in West Texas and married a girl from Oregon.  She made an interesting observation on her first trip to Texas.  She came to visit for a week, met my family and friends, and got the lay of the land.  At the end of the week she said, “This is a lot different than the Northwest.  You plan your days around food here.  Where and what you want to eat that day determines what we do for that day.  It appears that you live to eat here.  In the Northwest we eat to live.”

Whether we grew up here in the Northwest or in some other place, we all have some sort of attachment to food.  After all, it is what sustains us physically.  It’s no wonder Jesus often uses food and water to communicate his point.  Just after his shocking statement of belief in John 6, he makes another statement that gets the attention of the people in the crowd.  “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will never hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.”

We know what it feels like to be hungry and thirsty.  If we are completely honest with ourselves, we know what it feels like to be far from God.  And when we wander we often try everything but a return to the true source of life.  Jesus reminds his followers this day that belief in Him is the only way to go about our day that truly satisfies.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”  (Matt 5:6)

I keep trying to move past John 6 this week, but the focus on belief continues.  After studying this chapter all week, I am more and more convinced that so much of following Jesus is about belief.   John 6 is the big decision for his followers.  Jesus has been around for a little while and now it’s time to figure out who believes and who does not.

“Amen, Amen I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”  (Jn 6:47).  The question I have been asking myself this week is can we accept and not believe?  To accept Jesus’ teachings is to simply look at the facts and acknowledge that what He is saying it true.  To believe, however, is to closely observe the lifestyle and behavior of Jesus and his followers, and do the best we can to emulate that way of living.  For instance, Jesus model was solitude, then community, then ministry.  He spent time with the Father first and often, then he invested in a few, then together they went out to minister to others, and finally they participated in Sabbath rest.  That model does not compute today.  What does make sense is to work long and hard all day every day, get ahead, not waste time in relationship, and get a little time with the Father when time allows.  If we do that are we believing or just accepting the teaching of Jesus?

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