Belief – The Missing Ingredient

Have you ever noticed that the fancier the eating establishment, the more odd the dishes? And, usually the smaller the portions? This has been increasingly frusterating to me as an adult. It seems when I have special occassion to eat at such a place, I’m 1. really hungry and 2. really hungry. Both of these scenarios do not afford me the privilege of time to read through each meal description to safegaurd myself from the most disappointing debacle, an unsatisfying meal due to size and selection. I need to swiftly and securely be able to choose my plate in order to not fall into a ravenous sinful state. Yes, I am one of the millions who have fallen victim to being….HANGRY.

Switching Gears Here.

I have recently been listening to a series of talks regarding A.W. Tozer’s rules of self discovery. It’s been EXTREMELY enlightening. A.W. Tozer’s principles are not groundbreaking, they are super practical. However, they are things that are so basic, that if we don’t FORCE ourselves to stop and think about them, really ponder them, then we will miss them all-together.

It has been interesting to me to see how those talks, and the portion of the Bible that I am studying now, can merge together. SO, I’m going to attempt to take you on a journey through my brain for the next few moments! Hang on! It could be a bumpy ride!

I can imagine that when you go to school to become a chef, there is a book, SOMEWHERE, that reveals the most unlikely of food combinations that actually taste good together. Like a grilled blueberry and fancy cheese sandwich. (Which, by the way, is really good!) And then, I think once these chefs make it big, they think they can get away with throwing out the secret combos, and coming up with their own, which is not usually all that good. But people will eat it, because it’s fancy, because it’s sought after. I have known to be at dinner with people who have completely lied as they choke down their meal saying that it was amazing, so that the company around would somehow think “Oh, he is one of us! He likes the nasty food!”

It’s really all to FIT IN. They think by being in the elite that they will be SET APART.

This is essentially what is happening in John 6:25-35.

They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”  They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?  After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[b]

 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven.  The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 6:25-35 NLT

The disciples, for much of the time that they were following Jesus, really had no idea what they were looking at. They new it was elite. They new it to be the best of the best. But they could not wrap their mind around the ingredients of God. They could not understand how someone could be so complex, yet so simple at the same time. They wanted ingredients, they wanted standards, they wanted physical rulers of their success as Christ-followers. They wanted attainable goals. And yet, Jesus gives them the simplest and likely the most difficult answers.

They wanted to know when Jesus arrived and He wanted to know why they were so worried about food.

They wanted to see more miraculous works from Jesus and He wanted to set the record straight about Moses.

They desperately wanted the bread of life and He wanted them to understand that they would go down in history as having the greatest witness to the bread.

This had to be frusterating. They wanted to FIT IN.

Jesus wanted them to just BELONG.

This may seem unsettling to you, but FITTING IN and BELONGING are not the same thing. FITTING IN is sitting at the fancy dinner table, ordering what would be the most impressive dish, gulping it down and trying not to hurl in your neighbors lap.

BELONGING is sitting at the fancy dinner table feeling the freedom to be in the company of everyone AND order the cheeseburger off the kids meal because that’s the only thing that sounds appetizing.

They needed to know how to fit in, what they needed to do, see, or accomplish, and Jesus replies,

This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.

John 6:29 NLT

All Jesus was looking for was the most difficult thing anyone can do with a natural mind. Just BELIEVE in ME. BELIEVE that I am who I say that I am. Believe that I AM GOD.

It’s an easy concept in theory, but living it out, apparently even for those that saw Jesus in the flesh, is something that we have to conciously commit to EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

When we truly BELIEVE IN HIM, it begins to create things in our lives, that when paired with the circimstances around us, it doesn’t make sense that they would go together (like blueberries and fancy cheese).

When we just BELIEVE in HIM:

The world serves us bitter hatred, and we smother it with sweet LOVE.

The world serves us bland discontentment and we spice it up with JOY.

The world serves us boiling dish of get it done now and we cool it down with PATIENCE.

The world serves us a sour helping of rude, and we sprinkle it with KINDNESS.

The world serves us a rotten plate of evil, and we chase it with GOODNESS.

The world seves us a side dish of infidelity, and we drizzle it with FAITHFULLNESS.

The world serves us rock-hard harshness, and we soften it with GENTLENESS.

The world serves us a glass of instability and we squeeze out and stir in SELF-CONTROL.

When we truly just BELIEVE, we are able to create new dishes with ingredients that seemingly don’t go together.

The disciples wanted manna.

Jesus wanted them to create mango salsa.

The disciples wanted bread.

Jesus wanted to them to create strawberry soup.

The disciples wanted a bagel.

Jesus wanted them to create kiwi-strawberry spring rolls. (It’s a thing. Look it up!)

The disciples wanted toast.

Jesus wanted to them to create the jam.

Stay Tuned for Profound Thoughts.