7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. - John 15:7-8
I love this verse - it comes in the "I am the true vine" passage. I have spent so much time in this passage over the past few years - God has met me in these words. This passage has changed my understanding of what it means to be in relationship with Christ - we are to abide in Him and He is to abide in us.
We all have deep prayer requests - desires in our heart that something would change about our current situation. Many of us don't pray consistently for those requests or we stop praying because we don't see Him responding. Our hearts don’t truly believe that He will answer our prayer, so we give up. Or maybe we've been praying them so long we feel like it's not worth it anymore. I've been praying the same prayer for my sons for 6 years - it does get tiring, and my fervency in that prayer has increased and decreased over the years. But in this verse, He reminds our weary hearts that we can ask whatever we wish and it will be done for us - IF we abide in Him and His words abide in us. So then the question becomes...are we abiding in Him and do His words abide in us?
If we want Him to answer our prayers, then we have to start by abiding in Him. Otherwise, the hard truth is we shouldn’t be looking for Him to answer our prayers. So, what does it look like to abide in Him? To help us understand, He gives us a visual of what not abiding looks like in the verses prior to this one. "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers, and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:6). Just like a plant that dies, it doesn't shrivel up overnight - it comes from neglect over time. If we neglect our relationship with God over time, if we don't spend time with Him, in His church, in His Word, or with a community of believers, then our faith will begin to shrivel up as well. When we put other things before Him, our roots, or our foundation, doesn’t receive the nourishment it needs and life becomes overwhelming and exhausting. If we continue reading John 15, we learn that abiding in Jesus means to keep his commandments, and to keep his commandments means to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
If we are to grab ahold of the incredible promise in this passage, that we can ask whatever we wish and it will be granted, then we need to take a hard look at where we are not abiding in Him. I know my abiding in Him has increased and decreased in my life over the years, but He always bring me back to this central truth. He will allow trials in our lives to bring us back to Him. When we are walking through difficult trials, the reality is we pray more and we search His Word more for these truths. We are reminded in those moments that we must be abiding in Him if we hope to see our prayers answered, and so it is in those trials that we begin to search our hearts for where we are not abiding. The time He has given me in this trial has been an absolute gift ~ our busy lives can draw us away from truly abiding in Him, but He has given me the gift of time and reflection, and drawn me back so close to Him. I am so incredibly blessed.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists. It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst. Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps! Here is the link:
https://www.gofundme.com/chair4caregivers. Thank you so much!!
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