Did you stop after that last statement like I did, and go, “Wait a minute John, so you’re saying I can ask God for anything and it will be done?” The answer is of course yes, but there is something that has to come before we receive what we ask for. That is, to abide in Jesus and to let His words abide in us.
1 John 4 tells us “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
There’s that word abide again. To know God means to know his love, and to live and love like Jesus. It is when we love one another that God’s love truly abides in us. We can say we love people all day long, but if we never actually do anything about it, is it really love? So you see, abiding in God and His words means that we have to actually bear fruit. It’s not enough to just hear the word. In fact, when we know and understand God’s love for us we are compelled to action. For John tells us, “anyone who does not love does not know God.” 1 John 4:8
Once we receive God’s love and believe that he sent his son as a sacrifice for our sin so that we might live, we become saved. But once we are saved we must move from knowing about God, to knowing God. This journey of knowing God grows increasingly deeper as we walk through our faith journey on earth.
I grew up in a Christian home and Christian school, and I asked Jesus into my heart one Sunday school morning, when I was only 5 years old. I did all the right things. I did what the Bible said because that’s what I learned Christians were supposed to do. But then as I grew older I began to know God more intimately, and my actions changed from the mindset of obeying God because He said so, to obeying God because He loves me and desires the best for me.
I believe every Christian goes through something like that. Where we start out as a slave mindset, and we only do what we’re told because the master said so, but then we move into friendship with God and do what He says because we know him and his love. We begin to spend more time with Him and let His words sink deep into our hearts. As we spend more and more time with God, His love begins to rub off on us, sink deep down inside causing us to live a life defined by the love of our Creator. God and His words begin to abide more and more in us each day, as we know him more intimately. It is then that we come to a place where we are free to ask whatever we wish because His love has invaded our lives. As we abide in him we begin to grow up out of the dirt and producing fruit proving that we are His disciples, and so, when God answers our prayers He is the one who receives the glory. You see when we abide in Jesus and He in us, our requests become ones that are not out of selfish ambition or fear or anger or jealousy, they become requests based in love for the Father and for each other.