I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5
I just love this verse. 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. When we’ve been praying the same prayer for a long time, we can grow weary of praying - we stop praying consistently for those requests because we don't see Him responding. Sometimes our hearts don’t truly believe that He will answer our prayer, so we just give up. Sometimes we've been praying them for so long that we feel like it's just not worth it anymore. I've been praying the same prayer for my sons for 10 years - it gets tiring. My fervency in that prayer has increased and decreased over the years. But in this passage, just 2 short verses further, 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. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. - John 15:7. So if we’re not seeing Him answer our prayers, we need to ask the question...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 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 💗
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