“Out of Context” is a series dedicated to verses of scripture, often used in today’s conversations, that have little to do with the context by which it was written.
Context | (1) the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed; (2) the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.
John 15:7 But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
When people often make this statement “Jesus said to ask Him for anything and it will be ours,” there are actually several places that these words show up. They’re not alway’s referencing John 15:7 – however it’s just one of the many that will help me break down why this verse is used out of context so often.
On the surface, every time Jesus makes this statement we assume it’s like a BLANK CHECK! Sure, there might be some conditions to it (like “remain in Me”) but other than that…He said it! Ask Me for whatever you want…it’s yours!
We might not ask for a NEW CAR (right away) but we do have desires. We have needs, and we have circumstances in our lives that need solutions. Often, when we try to engage this verse out of context, we think that adding “in Jesus name” to our request gives it some special magical touch that turns it into a HOLY REQUEST. Even when those requests are not for us, ex.”Heal my mom!” or “Help my son who is wandering away from You!,” we still think that by asking in His name it has some sort of special merit.
Let’s look at the context of this verse before we go any further.
John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.
He then goes on to say that the fruit of remaining in Him is to LOVE ONE ANOTHER the way that JESUS LOVES US.
If you read the first 4 verses, you see the picture Jesus is using of a gardener that is caring for his branches. That’s because He cares deeply about WHO is connected to the VINE, and He wants to see every branch produce the fruit of being connected to the Vine.
When we make our requests known to God (as Scripture says we should), we are entering into the VINE. That’s always a step in the right direction. Even if our requests are selfish in motive, at least we’re approaching Him with it. However, this verse (as with others like it) always have a CONTEXT to them.
Jesus is being very specific about what the “ask Me for anything” is in reference to. It’s tied to the FRUIT of being attached to the VINE. He WANTS to give us FRUIT…He says nothing makes His Dad happier and brings greater glory than when the branches (US) are producing the kind of fruit that is attached to the Vine (JESUS).
Personally, I don’t think most Christians ask God for too much. I think we don’t ask Him for enough! I think we are often more guilty of “assuming” we’ve requested something of God than actually making our requests known to the Father who loves us and wants to work in and through us. This is why prayer is so important to the faith of an individual follower of Jesus.
However, when it comes to this verse – know the context. If you’re looking for more ways to LOVE your neighbor as yourself…ASK HIM! That is a request He wants to answer. If you’re wanting to bear the fruit of LOVE that is attached to the LOVER OF OUR SOULS, ask away! He’s already told you He wants us to bear that kind of fruit!