John 15:7-8, “7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples”
I constantly run into believers seeking to know or discern the will of God. As I mentioned in part 1, John 15 is one of the most important passages in the bible because it helps us discern the will of God for believers. In this posting we will look at discerning perceptive or revealed will of God and in the next posting we will look at closely at God’s permissive or perfect will.
Before I address the two vs. above, we need to ask ourselves what does Mark 11:24 mean? It reads, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Its one of the most quoted and also highly abused vs. From looking at the vs. it sounds like a blank check does it not? “God told me “…whatever things you ask…”? This needs to be looked at in the light of who we are in Christ. We should be driven to have the mind of Christ, be imitators of Christ, and be conformed to the image of Christ.
Before salvation, most of our desires were wrong, selfish desires. Now in Christ, some of those still lingers and must be dealt with continuously in the light of our relations to the Vine. James puts us in check when he writes, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures”, James 4:3. James says often times believers ask but they don’t ask for the right things with the right attitude or in faith or the timing might be off, therefore they miss.
We can now look at John 15:7-8 to help us understand Mark 11:24, “whatever things you ask/desire when you pray.” Indeed it is a blank check however we must know what it is for and how it works. Look at the starting point, “if you abide in me and my words abide in you…”, the end result, “bearing fruit for the Father’s glory“. If we abide in Him, our will, our desires, our drives are conformed to His. His desires becomes our desires. His desire is that we bear fruit. If we ask for things that will make us grow and bear fruit, more fruit and much fruit, He will grant those to us.
Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”, Matthew 6:33. Mark the word “added” not “given” because His kingdom is priority. What does the kingdom of God entail, Romans 13:17-18, “17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men“. We ought to seek to be more righteous, more peaceable and more joyous, (summary of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22), because they hinge upon these three. Those who desire and serves Christ on these are acceptable to God and approved by men.
“Whatever you ask when you pray…” is more about changing us than changing things. Jesus said, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”, John 6:27. Paul echoes with these words, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”, Colossians 3:1-3.
Solomon’s prayer when God spoke to him in a dream is a great example of discerning His will. 1Kings 3:5. Solomon was given a blank check to ask for anything, he asked for wisdom to discern (the mind of Christ). He said, “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”, 1Kings 3:9. Solomon who penned these words “The lips of the righteous knows what is acceptable”, Proverbs 10:32 knew what to ask for and God added other things he did not ask for because his priority was God’s priority for him.
This is how we should think and pray Mark 11:24 by keeping to heart John 15:7-8 with a great example of Solomon’s prayer in 1Kings 3. It always boils down to what we desire. Will the desire make us more imitators, mind like and conformed to the image of Christ or to our own? Let’s keep this in mind, what we pray for the most will reveal what we desire the most. David had a simple prayer in Psalm 25 (show me, teach me, guide me in Your truth and keep me). To continue, Blessings Ev