Now we come to one of my favorite verses in the Bible.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. ” John 15:7 KJV
I suppose many people love this verse because of the promise contained in it to answer the heart’s desire uttered in prayer. I like that…but I have to admit it comes with some pretty strong qualifiers. If we are to have our prayers unequivocally answered then we must abide in Him and His words must abide in us.
Now in Jesus day people knew how to abide. The Greek word Jesus used is the word:
menō-to remain, abide a) in reference to place 1) to sojourn, tarry 2) not to depart a) to continue to be present b) to be held, kept, continually (definition courtesy of Blueletterbible.org)
If you abide in a place. you dwell there. You make your home there. You make your life about that place.
As Americans we are not terribly good at abiding. We live in homes but seldom abide in the places those homes inhabit. Most of us could pick up the home, plunk it in another community and never bat an eye as long as the cost of the move wasn’t too great.
In order to abide in a place you must dedicate to it. A person who abides in a community lives, works, shops, volunteers and entertains themselves without ever leaving the place where he is planted.
Our transitory culture by definition keeps most of us from abiding or even from truly understanding the concept of abiding. To abide you have to STAY and never leave.
Let’s face it even the most devout among us like to take “Jesus breaks” every now and again. Oh, we are loath to admit it but there’s only so much serving the king we can take. The old man just wrankles for a change of scenery every once in a while.
Leaving the presence of Jesus (even momentarily) is one of the reasons the prayer brooks in our lives dry up. But there is another reason too.
the passage in John 15:7 is an if …then promise with two qualifiers. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you
It’s not just abiding in Jesus; It’s having his words or his commands abiding in us that does the trick. So many of our prayers are never answered because they are just the self-serving flatulence of our carnal selves.
James says it this way, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ” James 4:3 NIV
But when Jesus words abide in us our minds will not concern themselves with things that are not His will. When I put his word continually into my heart, something inside of me changes. I can only describe it as an adjustment in the way I think. Studying the Word of God makes me think more like God but only if I continue in it everyday. If I leave the Scripture out for a day, my mind relapses and suddenly I am back in the place of thinking God lives to serve me. My prayers become carnal and I become angry when God doesn’t do things my way.
I love John 15:7 because it reminds me that I must be more than a “part-time lover” of Jesus. I have to abide with Him every moment and He with me if I am to have the power the scripture promises. I am also captured by the thought that Jesus wants me to abide. If He didn’t, He never would have suggested it.
What do you think are the biggest road blocks to abiding in Christ?