2019-07-03 Ask Me Anything!

“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.”
John 15:16

This verse means much more today than it did a month ago. You see, I had included this verse in my June 13, 2019 post. As I read it, I got goosebumps. You see, I was overwhelmed with the idea that this verse was personalized for me. Now, I know that God is everywhere and that the Holy Spirit resides in me; but while I read it, it was as if God wanted me to know for sure that this verse was meant for me. Don’t get me wrong; it’s meant for all believers. There are times, however, that God makes an impression.

Let me share with you what this verse now means to me. First, I’ll break it down in the manner I have always understood it.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you” This is one of the hallmark verses, in my opinion, that God is the one who is in complete control over my salvation. Let’s face it, we are to have faith in order to be saved, right? That’s all fine and good, except how much faith is enough? On one hand, Jesus speaks of faith as small as a mustard seed being able to uproot trees and plant them in the sea. On the other, Jesus chastises his disciples for their lack of faith. This verse, and many others like it, take all the guesswork out of the picture. Why? Because we aren’t the ones who have the faith. God is the one who gives it to us. We don’t choose him; he chooses us. I don’t see how the gospel could be any better than that! Otherwise, how would you ever know if you are saved?

“that you should go and bear fruit” This one seems vague, but it really isn’t. Bearing fruit simply means bringing glory to God. We do this through the witness of our changed lives and by pointing others to Jesus. This is our purpose. Jesus chooses us and changes us from the inside out. Why? So that we are a witness for him. Of course, this is when we enjoy the fruit of the Spirit. Bearing fruit is not the same thing as fruit of the Spirit. We aren’t fruitful when we have joy. Joy is a gift for bearing fruit.

“that your fruit should abide,” There seems to be two meanings to this. In one sense, it means our actions agree (abide) with our beliefs. We no longer act in sinful ways, as we once did, but instead act completely different. We are not who we once were, and our actions prove it. To abide also means that it lasts. Our witness to Jesus (fruit) persists in the long run. It becomes and remains who we are. Jesus illustrated this with the parable of the seeds. True believers are the few who are fertile soil in which the seed yields great fruit. With others, the seed either does nothing or the results are short-lived. Believers endure.

“so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” This is one of those crazy promises that we have a hard time getting our minds around. Well, let’s be honest, this whole verse is packed with promises that are hard to comprehend! First, we must decipher what might and might not be something that Jesus would ask for. If Jesus wouldn’t ask for it, why would we? On the other hand, if Jesus asked for it, why wouldn’t we? How do we know? By studying our bibles. Would you or I like sin to be removed from this earth? Of course! Should we ask for it? What does the bible say about it? Sin won’t be removed entirely until the Final Judgment. Until then, sin remains. To ask for it to be removed now is not something God will honor. How about salvation? We know that most won’t enter the narrow gate, right? Not everyone will be saved. We don’t know how God decides, nor will he tell us. Furthermore, that decision has already been made – before the foundation of the world. So….what can we pray for in this situation? Seems to me that we could pray for God to open someone’s eyes sooner than later so that they might start bearing fruit sooner. Honestly, I don’t know. This is a tough one. One thing we know, God will grant our prayer. That’s a promise.

All of that is what I already knew and still know. What I experienced last month was the realization that Jesus hand-picked me. He considered me carefully and chose me. I didn’t have any special merit, to be sure. Still, he selected me. To do what? To bear fruit. He impressed on me that I wasn’t the one that would be working to bear fruit. No. It would be Jesus working through me. Fruit isn’t a performance-based commission. The fruit I bear is that which Jesus produces.

What does that matter? Quite simply, it takes off all the pressure. If you have had to hit quota, you know what I mean. Under performance-based pay, the more effort we extend, the more you get paid. Not with Jesus. In fact, the opposite is true. The LESS we try and the MORE we rely on God, the greater our fruit. The MORE we try results in less trust in God; therefore, the less fruit he will cause us to bear. Why is it this way? Simple. Our pride easily gets to be a problem. The more “success” we have, the more attention we get. The more attention we get, the more we think we are the big deal. Soon, we’ll start teaching others about how smart and important we are. God doesn’t let us work like that for long. He’s the one who is making things happen and the one who deserves all the credit. How can we glorify God when we glorify ourselves?

So, you see, God will do great things through us. He hand-picked me. He hand-picked you. And, he will bear fruit that will last. And, we will be able to ask for and receive very good things from God, just as Jesus did.

John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Do you want to believe this? I might suggest digging out your bibles and studying these things. Just imagine what he might do if we cooperate with the Holy Spirit!

Father, teach me! Use me! Amen!

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

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