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. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“Ask Whatever You Wish . . .”
Verse 7: If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
The word abide here means to be at home in. And being at home in a place, or in a person, is about your heart.
And intimacy with Jesus is what changes our hearts. Meditation on Jesus’ words is what changes our hearts. I used to have goals like reading through the Bible in one year. I’m not knocking that. I think that’s a good thing to do. It’s just that lately I’ve started reading smaller chunks of scripture and asking God to explain them to me. I’ve started reading one parable, or one encounter of Jesus with another person, or one story, and then meditating on that one passage. I used to go more for quantity. Now I go more for quality.
I think this approach has affected the way I pray. I used to pray for God to bless me with success at work, and to help me make money, and to win basketball games, and to help me out of jams. Now I pray He will overwhelm me with Jesus so much that I can’t help but love him the way Jesus loves him. Now I pray He will overwhelm me with Jesus so much that I can’t help but love people the way Jesus loves people.
In James 4 God tells us that you have not because you ask not. And you receive not because you ask amiss. If we abide in Jesus, and if his words abide in us, we begin to ask for what Jesus wants, and God grants our requests. (James 4:2-3)
The Most Powerful Sermon I Ever Heard
Verse 8: By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
This is how God is glorified, when we bear much fruit. And God’s fruit is love. (Galatians 5:22-23)
The fruit of our life of abiding in Jesus is love. How many have come to Christ because they saw a dramatic change in someone else. Someone they knew who was unloving and unlovable but then Jesus came, and that unloving person chose to abide in him, and he or she was filled with the love of Jesus. And then seeing Jesus’ love in the formerly unloving person, others are attracted to Christ. When we’re filled with Jesus we glorify our Father by loving people. I have found that, for me, loving people is a far superior way to evangelize than conversation. Not that I should never use words to evangelize, it’s just that people only care about what you say after they feel unmistakable love. The love that the Christian men on my fire crews had for me, and for each other might have been the most powerful sermon I ever heard. Their love resulted in fruit. Their love is what made me a disciple of Jesus. And one of the proofs of being a disciple of Jesus is making other disciples of Jesus.
The Synergy Between You And Jesus
Verses 9-10: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
There’s a synergistic effect in play here. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21 our heart is where our treasure is. So whatever we put our heart into, whatever we do with all our heart, whatever we invest our heart into, we love. So as we invest our hearts in intimacy with Jesus we love him more, and as we love him more we give him more of our heart. That’s how it is with his words too. As we become intimate with Jesus we become more interested in his words and following his words. Then as we keep his commandments we find ourselves abiding in his love better, just as Jesus kept his Father’s commandments and abides in His love.
The Big Abundant Life Jesus Wants For You
Verse 11: These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Living the way Jesus described in our passage results in the big abundant joy filled life Jesus wants for us.
Jesus is where the blessings are. So staying as close to him as possible is the wisest choice possible. Because Jesus is continually pouring out his blessings, when I’m not blessed, the problem isn’t Jesus, the problem is me! When I’m not blessed the problem is that I’m drifting, drifting away from Jesus. And when I drift away from Jesus, I drift away from where the blessings are poured out. I’m distracted, in my case, usually by the pursuit of some form of my own power: my power in my career, or my power in my favorite video game, or my power on the basketball or tennis court, or my power in my investment portfolio.
The further I drift from Jesus, the more my happiness is dependent on the circumstances surrounding whatever power I’m pursuing, and, even when I achieve my objectives I find that it’s empty.
But the more intimate I am with Jesus, the more I experience Jesus’ joy, independent of circumstances.
And that Jesus’ joy may be in you, “and that your joy may be full” is the reason Jesus spoke these words.