Intimacy with God means You can ask
People like to keep a certain amount of space between themselves and other people, be it physically, emotionally or even mentally. When we invade someone’s space it means that we place ourselves too close to another person and that invasion of personal space, makes them feel uncomfortable. They may then express a meed for space, or distance between themselves and you, or most commonly simply just move away physically or emotionally. When we invade someone’s space we get close up and personal with them. You may be aware of your own personal space being invaded and the discomfort that comes with that. Did you know that you can buy a portable personal space device on Amazon? It is a three paneled screen that you can place around yourself whenever you feel the need for space.
Jesus as a human being, knew what it was like to lose His personal space in the commotion of crowds desperate to see and touch Him. A woman who had suffered from constant bleeding for 12 years and could find no cure touched the fringe of His robe. Immediately, her bleeding stopped (Luke 8:43-44). Jesus’ question, “Who touched me?” in verse 45, isn’t as strange as it sounds. He just felt power come out of Him (v. 46). That touch was different from those who merely happened to accidentally touch Him. It is important to remember though, that this was Jesus (fully God) limited to the body of a human (Phil 2:5-8). He knew all about personal space! But now, fully ressurected and ascended into heaven…
Jesus Does Not Need Personal Space
Instead, He longs for us to be intimate with Him and will never tell us that He “needs space.” It is this intimacy we are invited into when Jesus tells us to “abide in Him.” John 15:5
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
To abide means to remain, to stay, to continue, to permanently abide in one place.
There is no “being dismissed” from this intimacy; no withdrawal on His part, it is an invitation into His space without the need to leave.
Jesus is always available for intimacy, it is we who create space between us and God.
What I want to point out today, is that in the very next verse, Jesus makes a direct link between abiding and asking: John 15:7
“ If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.“
Did you notice that “IF?” Jesus wants us to abide in Him as we ask because then our hearts will be in tune with His, our thoughts will be in line with His and our actions will be in line with His purposes.
- When we abide, His Word has had a chance to sink into our hearts and transform our minds, so that we are praying in accordance with what He has already said in His word.
- This meditating on His Word in His presence, will also ensure that our requests are in line with His will, promises and purposes and since we have been transformed in our thinking, we are correctly motivated in heart and mind, it gives us confidence that we are asking correctly in His presence. (James 4:2-3″ You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” )
- When we abide, we know our motivations and our hearts are pure. A heart that is dependent on Him, as a branch is to the vine, is a pure heart. (2 Tim 2:22)
All of the above are the product of abiding in Him i.e. invading His person in a desire to be intimate.
What is asking then?
In the same passage, that word ask, which is “aiteo” in Greek, means to demand or insist, not as a person being rude or arrogant, but as a person addressing a superior with respect and honor, much like a soldier would approach a superior. He is fully expecting to receive that which was firmly requested.
It describes one that prays with authority, based on a confident understanding of the relationship between them. It is one who knows what they need and comes boldly to the throne to ask, fully expecting to receive. It brings to mind a child coming to a parent, fully expecting their needs to be met in a parent.
Understanding this concept of asking, goes hand in hand with abiding. We do not have to grovel, or sheepishly ask; instead we boldly assert our faith, based on the Word of God and His promises and confidently expect God to move on our behalf. God wants us to ask Him boldly.
In Phil 4:6 we are told “Do not be anxious, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests by made known to God.”
That word ‘requests’ is also the Greek word “aiteo” and Paul is encouraging us to be bold, authoritative and commanding in our prayers. But he underscores the point that our approach must not be rude or arrogant but rather be filled with gratefulness and thanksgiving. This thankfulness Paul points out, is to remind us that we are to be characterized by a thankful heart in our asking.
Finally, coming back to John 15:7, notice that when we abide in Jesus, and in coming out of this place of intimacy and love we then ask: then all that we desire will be given to us.
Oh Lord, let me learn to abide in You before I come asking for anything. Help me not to create space between us, but help me to draw closer in our relationship so that my heart is joined to Yours. Let everything I ask come out of a deep and intimate relationship with You, where my heart and thinking is in line with Yours. Let this relationship be the foundation to my boldness in coming to You, helping me be confidant that my needs will be met. I declare that in our love relationship, my heart is soaked in a grateful appreciation of Who You Are.
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