Friday, March 16, 2007

Day Eighteen: The Implications of the Promise, Part II

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:7-8).

The second implication I see flowing from John 15:7-8 is this: in light of the command for Jesus’ words to abide in us, we ought to redouble our efforts to know and obey and love his word. We ought to read and study and memorize and meditate on and obey and teach it everyday of our lives. His word ought to be our food and light and life, both day and night. Consider the following quotes from the Psalmist, noting especially his commitment to and passion for the word:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3). “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day…I hate the double-minded, but I love your law…I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law…Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:97, 113, 163, 165).

I see two things in the life of the Psalmist: regular habits of being in the word to which he was utterly committed and great passion for the word because he loved God with all of his heart and soul and mind and strength. And these two things, habits and passion, are precisely what we need, as well. We need habits of being in the word because without them we will be carried away by our flesh and distracted by many things that are opposed to the life of the spirit. We need habits of being in the word because we need to constantly remind ourselves of the words and will and ways of God. Oh, how prone we are to forget the things of God! We need habits of being in the word because we need an anchor for our souls (Ephesians 4:11-16).

But if all we have is habits, then we are no better than legalists or unbelievers. We need to add to our habits a genuine passion for God and for his word because we are in a relationship with him and he wants us to love him with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength. “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5). We cannot walk and keep and cling and serve God with all that’s in us if we don’t know the word and therefore we must develop habits around the word. But the whole point of walking and keeping and clinging and serving is to love the Lord our God with everything in us!

So, we need the word to give content and stability to our passion for God, and we need passion to give life to our time in the word of God. And in the context of John 15:7-8, we need the word to give shape and ardor to our prayers so that we will pray in a way that is pleasing to the Father. And when we pray in a way that is pleasing to the Father, he is pleased to hear and answer all of our prayers. This is a stunning truth that should drive us to the word of God.

Prayer Focus: Pray that the Lord will help you grow in your commitment to word of God, that he’ll help you develop regular habits of being in the word of God, and that he’ll enflame your passion for him.

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