Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Love and Answered Prayer

7 If you remain (live, abide, stay) in Me and follow (obey) My teachings (words, commands), you can ask anything you want (desire), and it will be given to you. 8 You should produce much fruit and show that you are My followers (disciples), which brings glory to My Father. … 12 This is My command: Love each other as I have loved you. … 16 You did not choose Me; I chose (and appointed) you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce (lovely) fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in My Name. 17 This is My command: Love each other. John 15:7-8, 12, 16-17 (NCV).

A close union to Jesus Christ brings about answered prayer as well as joy and love (John 15:7, 11-12). A union with Jesus means to faithfully remain, stay, abide or live in Jesus. When we live and abide in Jesus, our prayers are effective and answered by God (John 15:7). To remain or abide in Jesus means to (1) live in close connection or communion with Him (2) live totally dependent upon Him as God; (3) live a life pleasing and acceptable to Him as Lord and Savior; (4) loving others sacrificially.

Jesus is the True Vine and believers are the branches or agent of God (John 15:1; see also John 14:13-14; John 16:23-26). As we stay closely connected to Jesus, believers as branches on the vine have life, receive nourishment, and produce good fruit (John 15:5). Sometimes as believers stay closely connected to Jesus God the Father will “prune” or trim away branches. God the Father is the Gardener and He cares for the branches. As the Gardeners, He will prune Jesus’ branches so the branches grow and produce even more good fruit. Believers bring God glory when they produce good and lasting fruit (John 15:2-4). Even more, this close union with Jesus leads to wholeheartedly loving God and loving others as Jesus commanded (John 13:34-35; John 15:17). Believers cannot gain this close union by their own efforts; this union is only made permanent through God’s Holy Spirit. But, the union does require believers to turn to God, away from sin and faithfully obey God (1 John 2:7-17).

John 15:12 summarizes the entire calling and course of believers of Jesus. Believers are called to love one another as Jesus loved by sacrificially giving His life for others. Love means giving sacrificially and unselfishly to others (John 3:16). Jesus sends His followers the Holy Spirit to live within their hearts to give His disciples the grace and guidance to live and love like Him (John 15:26) and conquer sin (Galatians 2:20).  Amazingly, King David – a descendent of Jesus – also lived and loved others just as Jesus described. David loved loyally, forgave others and even loved his enemies that tried to hurt him (see 1 Samuel 18; 2 Samuel 1). Other ways to give sacrificial love include: listening, helping, and encouraging others.  The key to answered prayer is love!

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God bless you! You are loved by God (Romans 5:5).