Abiding in the vine, brings fruit and life and answered prayer.
“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)
I was blown away, last week when I read this passage again. The promise of Jesus is breath taking! There are conditions. I must abide and His word must abide in me, but the result is too grand for me to wrap my mind around much of the time.
Whenever I hear the word abide, I think of the children’s song about the little rabbit being chased by a hunter. “Come little rabbit, come in side and safely you’ll abide.” The hand motions that accompany the words are to gently wave an invitation to come. Then once inside, to hold the “rabbit” gently in your arm, like you hold a baby adoringly and gently stroke the imaginary rabbit to reassure it that it is safe.
Among the synonyms for abide from Vines expository are: continue, dwell, endure, remain and stand. Those cover the cozy rabbit image of rest, and add the endurance factor. Standing and enduring are active choices. I need to actively seek God. At the same time I rest in His love for me. A little farther in John 15:16 Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (Emphasis mine.)
There is that amazing promise of answered prayer again. This one begins with a clear statement from Jesus, “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” And to think I have thought it was my idea! The Creator of the Universe chose ME. The Creator of the Universe chose YOU! And then, if we continue to respond to His invitation to be cared for by Him, and we are students of His word so that we know His ways… he promises to answer whatever we pray in His name!
John states this amazing promise clearly in 1John 5, “13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
The if‘s in these passages are not unreasonable conditions. Get to know God and His ways. He can not deny Himself. His character does not change and He will not act against His own character. He must fulfill His promises. By being students of the word of God, we cooperate with Him and pray His will into existence. (Matt. 6:10) There is a whole other book, or many more books here, but trust me; the requirements to cooperating are minimal on our side. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) The Creator of everything initiates and we respond. When we respond He rewards. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 emphasis mine.)
Back to the vine…We have been grafted in to the life of Christ. He offers us a fruitful life. A vine does not work to produce the fruit. It is the giver of life who flows through the vine and the branches to produce the fruit. We cooperate. Jesus began John 15 with.”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” We don’t even tend the vine! We cooperate and are rewarded!
Be encouraged! It is easy to look in places that distract from the truth. I know! But We are continually invited into the presence of the living God. God is in you. (Col. 1:27; Eph. 1:13….) We will never be left alone! (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20) Go after the promises to abide and have your prayers answered!