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 (King James Version)
Among some Christians there is a misconception about God. Some view Him as one who is supposed to give us whatever we want because He loves us. Some may even use part of this Bible verse from John’s Gospel to validate their views. They also believe that if they had strong faith then anything they want will be given to them.
This kind of theology is often called the prosperity gospel and such thinking is not only incorrect but it is also dangerous. It is incorrect because it views the King of Kings as some kind of Divine Vending Machine that gives us what we want if we put forth the right amount of prayer and good works into it. This is also dangerous because what happens if we make a request repeatedly and it doesn’t come to pass? A believer may feel that there faith is weak or it may cause a believer to turn away from God if their wants are not met.
When reading the Bible, it is important to read it as a whole and not just take out the bits and pieces that we like in order to justify our theology. Such actions reflect selfishness on our part and don’t bring honor to the Lord whom we serve. With that in mind, let us reexamine this verse from John.
In this passage, Jesus tells His disciples that whatever they ask of God will be granted to them; but there is a requirement that must be met for this to happen. That requirement is that we as His followers must abide in Him and His words must also abide with us. What does the word “abide” mean?
The best definition I could think of for “abide” is to live with or to have an intimacy with something. A good example of this that I can think of is a marriage between a husband and wife. Ideally, a married couple is supposed to be so close to each other that they know what the needs of the other is and strive to meet it.
When we abide in Christ, it is the same thing. As we draw closer to Him, we have a desire to do the things that He wants us to do. When we do these things, which I would call acts of worship, an amazing thing happens, the things that Christ wants eventually become the things that we want also. This is the meaning of this verse I think.
With all this in mind, we need to ask ourselves what are the things we are asking of God; are they things that we want or the things that He wants? The things we are asking for, will they bring honor to our Lord or will they only bring us satisfaction? If the answer is the latter, then we must ask a very crucial question: are we truly abiding with Christ and is His Word truly in us?
If we are not truly abiding with our Lord, what can we do to fix that? Like any relationship, in order for it to be strong, there must be constant communication and fellowship. Spending time with the Lord in prayer and reading His Word is the first part to building this. The next step is to take what He said in His Bible and apply it to every aspect of our lives.
This will not be an easy thing to do, but the Lord has promised that He will be with us and will help us as we learn to draw close to Him. Therefore, let us proceed to seek what God would have us do. In doing so, our wants will become His wants and whatever we ask of Him will be granted according to His will.