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Jesus likens answered prayer to bearing fruit.
In John 15:7-8 he says, If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
This is quite a tall order. He is indicating that we can have whatever we want, and that if we get it, it makes God happy. It seems that Christ is saying God is happy whenever we get what we want. (This sounds much like the relationship with me and my beloved Jennifer, where if she gets her heart’s desire, I’m am eternally happy).
But does that mean we can willy nilly go about asking for anything we wish? I don’t think so. I think he restricts us to asking for things that are in alignment with our intimacy in relationship with him. He says, “if you remain (or stay) in me” then you will know me well enough to ask the right kinds of things from me. Ultimately his desire for us is that we bear fruit. For him, bearing fruit is having our prayers answered, because through our intimacy with him, his prayers become our prayer.
Fruit for Christ is seeing people come to know him. It’s growing deeper in holiness and maturing in the work of God. It seems that fruit is something that was key to the mission of Christ.
In fact in Mark 11 and 12 Jesus again uses trees and bearing fruit as an analogy, to drive this home. The context is the last week of his life on earth. As he leaves Bethany and approaches Jerusalem he sees a barren fig true unable to bear fruit. Hungry and unsatisfied he curses the fig tree and the disciples see it wither. Later in Jerusalem he condemns the religious authorities for lack of fruit, and prophesies future judgement upon them and the city, all because of lack of fruitfulness.
In this context, he utters a statement “”
23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11)
The disciples were stunned. You mean we can speak to trees and they will wither, and to mountains and they will move? Essentially Christ was saying the same thing as he said in John 15. “Anything can happen when you pray my heart. I desire fruitfulness, so keep your prayers grand”
Let’s be inspired by the words of Christ, and his desire to see fruit, to pray for unimaginable things. Not for worldly things, to fulfil our selfish needs, But prayers to see unreached peoples won to Christ, missions launched and funded, cities transformed, and nations healed. May you be fruitful, bearing much fruit and thus prove yourself to be his disciple.
– Pastor Olu Jegede