Mastering Scripture is tangible work providing immediate gratification. As we search, sift, and sequence data, the fruit of our inquiry is information. Consequently, we learn to live in our minds, often unaware and unfamiliar with the inner motions of our hearts (thinking, feelings, conscience, and will). The formation of the heart is demanding work. We will likely struggle with the process of Scripture mastering us. Yet, the very process of seeking creates a path to knowing Jesus. We make the road by walking. Patience and persistence will serve us well.
As we make our home in Jesus, he invites us to “. . . ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
In our Western consumer culture, we often consider Jesus’ promise as an open purchase order: God will deliver whatever we desire if we are “spiritual” enough. Jesus becomes a kind of spiritual vending machine that responds to our prayers. If we don’t get what we want, we typically conclude that either 1) God doesn’t love me; 2) God is not trustworthy; 3) Prayer doesn’t work, 4) I didn’t do it right, 5) I’m not spiritual enough, or 6) Some combination of the above.
It’s important to note that “whatever you ask” is conditioned by “that you bear much fruit,” which identifies us as Jesus’ disciples. Jesus promises to thoroughly answer all prayers for fruitfulness, which in this context means loving others like he does and becoming conformed to his image for the sake of others. Jesus’ promise is not to give us whatever we want in life; it’s to help us become everything God created us to be.
In the context of this passage, what are you praying for during this season of your life?