1 John 5: 13 – 15 NLT
“I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
This 5th chapter of 1 John is a summary of what John has written throughout the book. These are the things he wants to make sure we know. That word “know” is used several times throughout this chapter. Here it is again: “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” (v. 13) This is actually a repetition of the verse that concluded the verses we read on Friday. “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” (v. 11 – 12)
Along with John, I can’t stress that enough. It’s so easy to get side-tracked into thinking we have to do something to earn God’s favour. There is nothing we can do ourselves to merit eternal life. It is totally provided by God and his Son, Jesus. In talking with people over the years, I know that someone will say that they believe that faith in Jesus gives them eternal life, but then, down deep, they are afraid that they have “lost” their salvation – or are not sure they have done enough to earn God’s love and eternal life – by not living as well as they should/could. Our salvation is a complete gift from God when we believe that Jesus is who He said he was.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Ephesians 2: 8 – 9)
Now John turns to another thing we need to know. “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” (14 – 15)
Verses 14 and 15 have sometimes been interpreted to mean we can get anything we pray for. We can pray for a promotion at work, we can pray for better health, we can pray for more wealth, etc. No! Let’s reread that phrase in verse 14 – “he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” Even Jesus knew that our prayers needed to be in alignment with God’s will, as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Not my will but yours be done”. (Luke 22: 42)
Prayer is a crucial part of our faith, yet we often struggle with it – finding time, concentrating while we pray, wondering what to pray for – even forgetting to pray when something unexpected crops up. Yet talking with God is the way we keep our connection with him strong. Can you imagine what a relationship between a married couple would be like if they didn’t talk to each other on a regular basis? Can you imagine a mother and a young child not talking to each other? Best friends rarely talking – or texting?
Maybe we have a concept of God being almighty and powerful (which He is), and so we don’t approach him because we think of ourselves as unimportant to him. It doesn’t seem like a relationship between two friends, or a married couple. It seems more remote. What are we supposed to be talking to God about?
Well, there is something we can be sure of. God loves us. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16) “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4: 9 – 10) Knowing that this incredible, amazing God loves us changes everything. I am not some insignificant person who God ignores. He cares about all the miniscule things in my life, just as a best friend does.
And there is something else I can know. God understands my weakness as a human being. He knows I struggle with prayer. God is committed to helping me in my prayer life. Isn’t that wonderful!
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers[l] in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8: 26 – 28)
So, take a deep breath. Talk to God regularly. Know that he will answer your prayers according to His divine will and for your good. Be confident that God wants to hear from you. Isn’t it amazing that God initiates everything? He sent Jesus to take the punishment for all our messes, and he also gives us the Holy Spirit to keep our relationship with our Heavenly Father vibrant and close. Amen!
Our song for today is Your Love Never Fails by Newsboys