John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” NASB
There are verses in the Bible that are problematic. Not that they are problems concerning the truth but a problem of them being a normal manifestation in our lives. This is one of those passages. There are four things specifically listed in this passage that must be considered when seeking to understand and implement this directive, challenge, and promise into our lives individually and collectively.
There is that dastardly word “if” at the beginning and virtually any time we find “if” there is a potential problem because there is a condition attached to the promise. Usually, it is an “if” followed by a “then”. In those we find God telling us that “if” you will, “then” I will do this or that. I ask you to join me in seeking to become the people who enjoy the fulfillment of the promise in this passage.
Imagine living in such a manner that whatever you wish for, hope for, long for, or ask God for is yours. Of course, there must be a significant discussion because a blanket promise to give whatever we wish is easily problematic. It goes without saying or should that if our requests or wishes are contrary to the heart and nature of God and violate the moral principles of the Bible, we dare not expect to receive those things from Him. He will never violate His character or disregard His Word.
Nevertheless, the promise is there and if it is there, it has potential. God does not speak flippantly or make idle promises. We could spend hours on just that thought and walk through a myriad of scripture verses detailing God’s attitude toward His Word. That would be beneficial but due to time and space, we must resist the urge to do so.
The Four Specific Statements or Parts of this Promise are Abiding in Him, His Words Abiding in us, The Desires of our hearts, and the Promise to Grant those Desires. How many can say, “I get whatever I ask from God all the time?”
I hope that no one said that, but some may, and I hope you are factually correct. I will leave that assertion to you and God to sort out, but I confess that I am not there. I have served God in ministry for 50 years now and I’m still striving to enter that state of relationship. Maybe that makes me weak and speaks ill of me, but it is an honest confession and statement of reality. Therefore, I continue to press toward the mark and seek the prize of this promise.
IF YOU ABIDE IN ME…
What does it mean to Abide in Christ? When we turn to the Greek, we discover that the word “abide” is the Greek word ‘meno’ which simply means to stay in a given place, state, relation, or expectancy. It conveys the idea of enduring, tarrying, standing, or living in that place or state.
If Christ is ‘abiding’ in me then He is living in me constantly. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior that is a factual reality. He is ‘abiding’ in us but what about us ‘abiding’ in Him. Before you split hairs doctrinally and take some sectarian argument as your foundation, I ask you to examine with me some considerations.
Are we always ‘abiding’ in Him? Do we stay with Him and keep Him as the center of our universe and lives? Are we living, daily, continually, in the state of Matthew 6:33 where we ‘seek Him first’? He is in us but are we mentally, emotionally, and relationally abiding in Him all the time?
We know that we can produce no fruit aside from the vine and He is the vine. He cannot be a part-time LORD. We cannot be divided in our devotion. We cannot be double-minded holding to the flesh, the world, and God at the same time. We are to ‘abide’ in Him. He is our dwelling place.
Consider Psalm 91:9 – “Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place…” In Psalms 90:1 – “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” In Acts 17:28 we discover, that “in Him, we live and move and exist.” In Psalms 27:4 we read, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
I personally believe that abiding in Him is impossible aside from the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He promises to fill us and once He has, how do we stay full? Ephesians 5:17-20 gives understanding. It is by verbalizing the Word of God especially the Psalms, singing hymns, spiritual songs, singing to Him, and expressing our gratitude. We are exhorted in Philippians 4:8 to focus on His Truth and meditate on His truth, right things, and things that uplift. It is not simply the power of positive thinking but thinking rightly and truly we become what we behold or what holds our hearts.
So, I ask, “Are we abiding in Him?” That abiding is to be 24/7/365. It is not living a compartmentalized life where we have a business life, a social life, a family life, a church life, and a devotional life. It is being and functioning in Him, through Him, for Him, and doing all that we do as an act of worship unto Him. It is being totally surrendered to Him at all times and in all things. There is no vacation from Abiding!
If we don’t get the 1st part of the equation right, there is no 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. I heard it said, and I agree “If God is 1st there is no 2nd because if He is 1st all else falls into place.” I have barely scratched the surface and must deal beyond this long but brief devotional. I hope you will stay with me as we examine this Promise, Challenge, Directive, and Command in the following devotionals.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!