Fresh Fruit, You Pick!
Meditation on John 15:7-8 by Cris Cramer
John 15:7-8 (NIV)
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Fatherís glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I have a poor tendency to hang onto negatives in scripture, to respond to God more out of a sense of threat than a sense of promise and appeal. Jesus uses the metaphor of the vine and branches in both ways. Just before these verses, he warns that some branches are indeed cut off and thrown away. But some branches live and thrive, creating more life. Worrying too much about the warning keeps me from grabbing hold of the promise -- and this is a big promise.
Jesus speaks in such emphatic, positive terms: ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. He urges me to stay connected to him, not merely to avoid being cut off, but so that I can ask him for big things, and he can give them to me. It's an invitation to accomplish great things. He tells me when I bring my ideas and the passions of my heart to life, it can actually bring glory to our Father. Jesus wants me to succeed, to bear fruit. Anything I wish, all for the asking. What an enormous, amazing promise, and I miss it by looking at dead, dry branches.
There is an important caveat. The promise is directed to the people who remain in Jesus and who let his words remain in them. If I want to claim this promise, I need to become a person attuned to God's heart and will, someone who wants things that are in line with God's own desires for the world. If I ask for something evil, he won't grant it. If I ask for something selfish, I'm probably out of luck. He doesn't promise I'll be successful at whatever I want, just because I ask. But I find the closer I stick to Jesus, the more I want the kinds of things he wants. The more we let his words dwell and work in us, the more our desires are polished and purified, and over time the things we ask for become the kinds of things God delights to give.
I need to stop living out of fear that I will be cut off. The warning that dry, dead branches will be removed is necessary, but it's not something to build a life upon. I need to heed the warning, but concentrate on the promise and put it to use. New, incredible things are to be had for the asking; it's time to focus on Jesus, and ask!
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