Bible Reading: John 15:4-11
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8)
Abiding in Christ means living our new life that is reconciled with God. What does living this new life actually look like? Some would think that going to church, being active in ministry and becoming a Bible nerd is the answer. Christ points out two truths about abiding in Him in John 15:7-8.
1. Abiding in Christ means abiding in God’s Word until it transforms and renews our sinful desires into the desires of God’s will.
We must often hear that to know God means we must become acquainted with God’s Word. That is true! God’s Word is the Truth. God’s word produces life. Going without God’s Word is like living without food. We desperately need God’s Word — it’s our only hope. But so often, we come to God’s Word only in the scraps of our time. We come with begrudged hearts and tired minds. Abiding in God’s Word is more than just reading it. Abiding in God’s Word involves opening our hearts in desperation for life, in desperation to be changed from our old sinful ways and to have our sinful desires renewed.
Observe what Christ says in v. 7. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” To “ask whatever you wish” does not mean that if we are in Christ, God will grant us whatever we want. It means that those who truly abide in Christ, abide in His Word, and His Word, which abides in us, works by the Holy Spirit to change our hearts and inner desires until all that we desire and ask for is what God desires and wills. With such, God will inevitably grant what we ask for, not because of our desires, but because of Christ’s desires that have been worked into our hearts by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. Have our hearts been changed? Has God, through His Word and Spirit, worked His desires into our hearts?
2. God is glorified when we abide in Him and bear fruit.
For most of us growing up in Christian homes, the term “glorifying God” is nothing new. To glorify God has always been the answer to the timeless, “what is the meaning of your life?” question. But, what truly glorifies God? v. 8 says that if we bear fruit, then we glorify God. Does that mean that the more active we are in ministry and involved in spreading His Kingdom, the more we glorify God? This is not always the case. If we purge deeper, who is the one who spreads God’s Kingdom? Is it really us?
It is too often that we think, by our actions, we can glorify God. If I just do this and that, I will glorify God. But, giving God the glory is a whole lot more than that. After all, what can we sinners add to God’s glory that is perfect within Himself?
If we recall in v 4, “neither can you [bear fruit], unless you abide in me.” Bearing fruit glorifies God because it is not us who produces fruit, but God works to produce fruit in us. God gets the glory because He is the one who has worked from the beginning and continues to work in changing us from sinners into saints.
And so, if we seek to glorify God, what should we actually seek? It is not to do this or to do that. It is to seek a glimpse of what He is doing. It is to seek a glimpse of His glorious work. It is to seek to know God. Only from there can we glorify God because only there can we see God’s inherent glory, full and perfect in itself, with no need for any addition by man. Only when we are satisfied in God being and doing all can we bring glory to God. Only those who abide in Christ can glorify Him. Do we truly seek to glorify God? If so, forget about doing this or that. Seek to catch a glimpse of His glory. Only if He reveals Himself can we come to glorify Him.
Oh Lord, thank You for Your Word that is deep and abounding. Please teach me what it means to abide in You. Please forgive me because my deepest heart does not desire You and Your glory. My heart is still in love with sin and with this world. Give me Your Word, oh Lord, for it is my life. May Your Spirit work through Your Word to change me. Grow fruit in my life that I may see You working and see Your glory. Let me know You and be satisfied in You, that my life may bring glory to You. All praise and honour be to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.