I got goofed up on my bible reading. I read John 15 earlier this week. Today I got realigned and read it again.
The key to be a fruitful follower of Jesus is found here. That key is to stay connected to our vine, Jesus. He is the vine, we are the branches.
There is a promise tucked into this section of verses that seems too good to be true, but Jesus reiterates the promise so he must’ve meant it.
He says he will answer our prayers. To catch it all we have to read several verses.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.”
John 15:5-17 – NLT
He says it twice, that he will give us what we ask for. There are some conditions that Jesus lays down. We have to be connected to him. His words must be in us. We must be obeying his commands, his command stated here is that we are loving each other up to and including laying our life down for each other. And we must ask in his name.
I am not a bible scholar, I am a bible student. My understanding of these verses is limited to my study of them and my knowledge of the character of God and my experience of life as a follower of Jesus. It seems like this could be a blank check, Jesus signed it and said, “whatever you want…” but that isn’t what I think this is. This promise is set into a section of verses about us us being fruitful. I think what Jesus may be saying here is, “whatever you need to be more fruitful, ask for it and you will get it…”
Sometimes I find myself feeling angry and hurt by God because he hasn’t provided a perceived need. I will pout, fuss, sometimes throw a tantrum about how God doesn’t really care about me or that he isn’t keeping his word to me, but then I will hear the gentle voice of God the Holy Spirit ask me, “did you pray about this? I don’t remember you asking me about this…” To which I will have to sheepishly reply, “no, Father, I guess I forgot to ask…”
This doesn’t solve all of the requests that I do make and don’t seem to get an answer to. But Just like with dealing with my own kids, I am Gods kid so when I ask God for something and don’t receive it right away sometimes it is because he says no and sometimes he says wait. My role in this part of my relationship is to stay connected to him, have his words in my heart, be following his commands and to be asking for what I need. The purpose of my life as a follower of Jesus should be different than it was before I followed him. Before I followed him my life was about me, making me happy, making me feel good, giving me pleasure and honor and success. Now as a follower of Jesus my focus should be switched to pleasing God, bringing him honor and pleasure, to expanding his name, making disciples for him who follow him. I can easily get off this track and train of thought when I let a want or desire become a need or necessity.
As I write this I have a struggle going on because I let my focus drop to my desires, which then became a need from my perspective and a a cargo van sized block of prayers from me flooded heaven. A toddler Christian tantrum right there in our Father God’s throne room. Forgive me Father and help me get back to the real reason for me being here, being fruitful for you.