“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.” John 15:8 CEB
The Christian Standard Bible’s (CEB) translation of John 15:7 states: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you”. According to Webster’s Dictionary, to “remain” means to “stay in the same place”, to “continue unchanged”, and to “be part of, not destroyed, taken or used up”. These three definitions offer vital insight into understanding what and how God wants us to develop relationship with Him.
The first key to developing a meaningful relationship with the Father is to remain with Him at all times, which many of us find difficult especially when the world tries to kick our door in, we lose loved ones, witness life’s atrocities, and experience the underbelly of this world. It is during those times, when the winds blow fiercely, that we want to pull away from God because we believe He doesn’t care about us and what we are experiencing.
My season of doubt came right after the birth of my second son. Days after he was born, my father-in-law died, my husband lost his job and we totaled our Altima in a car accident. At the time, I was working part time, and my income was not enough to sustain our household. There were many moments during that season of longsuffering when I nearly lost my faith. It was also during this season where I met God on a totally new level. I had to press past my pain and confusion to remain aligned and connected with the Lord. It was my faith-building season where I experienced God’s miracles in action, where he placed my family on the hearts of others, where prayer warriors interceded for us, where God opened doors we did not even ask to be opened. This happened only because we made the decision to “remain in [Him]” rather than run from Him.
Next, we must remain “unchanged” in our belief in the Lord. No matter the circumstance, or what the world says about God, we must believe that “all things work together for the good of them that love God”, including the hard stuff, the disappointments, the heartache, the mourning and the pain (Romans 8:28). God cannot be our Savior if we waver by refusing to trust Him with our everything, if we refuse to go through the process of the valley, if we refuse the necessary pain of the Potter’s wheel. Those seasons, as difficult as they may be, shape and mold us into the people God created us to be so we can operate in the purpose God has for our lives.
The most important key is that remaining with God is not a one-way street. When we abide with God, then He abides with us, allowing nothing to “destroy or use us up”. We are God’s children, and as His offspring, we are afforded His favor, His mercy, His provision, His protection, His guidance and His peace. When we have this type of reciprocal relationship with God that is authentic and sincere, then we may go to Him with our requests, which He grants because they are aligned with His purpose for us.
Remaining in relationship with God, not running from Him during life’s storms, and standing immobile with the Father will only strengthen our bond with God, and creates an abundance of faith, hope, trust, love and peace within us, the fruit that lasts a lifetime.
Have you been following the "Abide in Me" Fall blog series? It's not too late to get caught up. Find out about how God wants to have relationship with us in John 15:1, how He prunes us for purpose in John 15:2, how we are made clean by His word in John 15:3, how connection with the Father yields a harvest in our lives in John 15:4, how living life God's way is better than taking on the task ourselves in John 15:5, and how God can resurrect our withered spaces in John 15:6. Read and share your comments with me!