“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. ” John 15:9,10 (NIV)
I have had much opportunity to stand upon the promises of God lately. I am learning the wonder of walking by faith and not by sight and discovering how the promise of John 15:7 works.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. “
Now that’s a heady thing…anything I want huh? New car? New plane? Money in the bank? Instant healing of every sickness? Greater success in my career? Well… yes if I can remain in Him and have those things.
So it all hinges on this “remaining” or “abiding” thing. What’s that exactly? Well Jesus elaborates on the subject in the second half of John 15.
Remaining in Him means remaining in His love. What’s that mean? It means obeying his commands. What commands? Well Jesus doesn’t leave us guessing:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. ” ( John 15: 12,13 NIV)
If we follow John 15 to its logical conclusion we can ask anything we want of God and He will absolutely answer if we are loving as Jesus Christ loved. If however we are not loving as Jesus Christ loved then we have absolutely no right to expect anything from God ever.
This being the case I can no longer wonder why God doesn’t answer more of my prayers. Instead I should be wondering why He answers any of my prayers at all!
Have you looked at how Jesus loved recently? The man was abandoned by his best friends, pushed through a kangaroo court tried and sentenced unjustly in a day, was spit upon, beaten to within an inch of his life, was sentenced to death because the official in charge couldn’t be bothered to stand up for justice, and was crucified. Yet he still said “Father forgive them.”!
Meanwhile I get all defensive when I get criticized about my preaching!
But I am learning about this “remaining”. I am learning it’s not in me to remain. But it is in Him to help me remain. If I set myself before Him in prayer and in His word somehow His love flows into me. I can love as He loves. When I am in this place of “His love” my prayers are directed. I know what he wants…and I can tell you it has little to do with new cars, planes, money, jobs or many times even my health. What He wants is the world restored to Him… to His love. When I am in “His love” I am finding my heart is broken for the world. I don’t crave its treasures. I pity the world because its treasures are strangling it to death.
Loving as Jesus love always involves sacrifice. He said, “This is my command: Love each other. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. ” John 15: 17-21 (NIV)
Remaining then is never going to be a painless activity. The world order won’t stand for our remaining. The world does not value our prayers. The world does not value our Scriptures. The world will not tolerate our obedience to them. The world will consider our love as weakness. Yet only by these things do we remain. Only by these things can we obtain the promises Jesus made to us.
This all requires our meditation. The Scripture here is very deep. It has many sides. Remaining in Him requires a lifetime of careful attention. But I am willing to give my life to remaining.
How about you?