If you quit,
all you do is prove those who said you couldn’t do it were right.
If we try something, we may or may not succeed.
But if we quit, failure us guaranteed.
Some may not like what I just said – for lot’s of different reasons.
Maybe you don’t believe in God. Sorry – I’m not going to address that issue here. There’s plenty of other articles you can check out though.
Maybe you don’t believe in the devil. Same answer.
Maybe you’re a Christian and remember verses like this one –
Jn 14:1414 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Yet again – sorry.
Thinking that verse literally means anything comes from – among various possibilities –
- memorizing verses – out of context
- reading the English (or other language) verses in the context of today’s world, without understanding what was meant at the time it was said / written
- listening to a message that has nothing to do with what Jesus actually taught.
Does “anything” really mean “any thing”?
If we look at the original Greek word from one source, it appears to be true that “anything” means “any thing” –
92.12 τιςa, τι: a reference to someone or something indefinite, spoken or written about—‘someone, something, anyone, a, anything.’ ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ τι ‘if anyone says anything to you’ Mt 21:3; καὶ ἤλπιζέν τι σημεῖον ἰδεῖν ‘and he hoped to see a sign’ Lk 23:8.
1)Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 813). New York: United Bible Societies.
However – when we check a second source, we see something that looks different –
5100 τὶς [tis /tis/] pron. An enclitic indefinite pronoun; GK 5516; 450 occurrences; AV translates as “certain” 104 times, “some” 73 times, “any man” 55 times, “any” 38 times, “one” 34 times, “man” 34 times, “anything” 24 times, “a” nine times, “certain man” seven times, “something” six times, “somewhat” six times, “ought” five times, “some man” four times, “certain thing” twice, “nothing + 3756” twice, “divers” twice, “he” twice, “thing” twice, “another” twice, not translated 17 times, and translated miscellaneously 22 times. 1 a certain, a certain one. 2 some, some time, a while.
2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
Huh. Not so much any thing – as possibly some things.
Truth is, that shouldn’t be so surprising.
When we include some context with this verse, we see something pointing in that direction – pointing to not only “some” things, but “certain” things.
Let’s start by adding just one verse –
Jn 14:13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Now, there’s a condition attached to receiving “any” thing we ask for. The result of the request that will be granted is that it brings glory to the Father – through Jesus.
Oops. So much for that “any” thing you ask for.
So much for a whole bunch of things that people and even entire sects of religions teach us about what this verse means.
So much for the stuff about ask God and you will receive it – no matter what “it” is.
So much for the stuff about not having enough faith – and that’s why we don’t receive.
Don’t you know Me…?
Now – if we go back and look at the entire paragraph to get even more context – we complete this picture of “certain” things.
Jn 14:9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Again – “Don’t you know me”?
That question is really at the heart of the matter.
Do we really know Jesus?
To get an idea what “know” actually means, check this out –
1097 γινώσκω [ginosko /ghin·oce·ko/] v. A prolonged form of a primary verb; TDNT 1:689; TDNTA 119; GK 1182; 223 occurrences; AV translates as “know” 196 times, “perceive” nine times, “understand” eight times, and translated miscellaneously 10 times. 1 to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel. 1A to become known. 2 to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of. 2A to understand. 2B to know. 3 Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. 4 to become acquainted with, to know.
3)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
That’s not just being acquainted with Jesus – not just hearing some stuff about Jesus.
That’s having knowledge of Jesus and being able to understand Jesus.
The Bible sometimes uses the imagery of sex between a man and a woman to illustrate the relationship between us and God. It’s not because of literal sex with God – but to show the depth of the relationship. Of course, for those who consider sex “cheap” / “free” / something that’s OK to do with anyone – then this analogy is lost. However – if we go back to the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve becoming “one” (before the fall) – that’s the kind of relationship we’re talking about. Just look at what Jesus says about He and the Father in these verses.
Isn’t that kind of self-serving for God?
Yeah – I’ve heard that.
Sometimes it’s easy for me to think that way too.
But – there’s a problem with that line of thinking.
Jesus came to earth to die for our sins. If His only interest was in bringing glory to the Father – why would He do that?
If Jesus didn’t have some interest in us – why would He ever go through what He did?
There’s got to be something in there “for us”.
And there is.
Let’s look at what Jesus said about The Shepherd and His Flock
The Shepherd and His Flock
Jn 10:1 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Jn 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jn 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
Jn 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Remember the pictures at the top – the devil and the angel?
Remember the choices from the very beginning – quit or try?
The thief / the devil / those who are listening to the devil – will tell us we should quit, because we can’t do “it”.
Jesus / those who are listening to and understand Jesus – will tell us that if “it” will bring glory to the Father – then we can do “it”, if we act together with Jesus and ask for His help.
There is another group of people – those who will tell us that we can do whatever we want – because we just ask Jesus and He’ll give “it” to us. But that cannot be true! For example – since this is NFL playoff time – what about those players who pray to God for a Super Bowl win? They say God is with them. I have to ask though – how can all those guys get the Super Bowl win they prayed for? Answer – they can’t!
The truth is – glory can be brought to God even with a loss!
Don’t believe it?
Look at this, from CNS News –
“Jesus is better than the Super Bowl,” says Seahawks Defensive Passing Game Coordinator Rocky Seto, and some Seahawks players are clearly in agreement.
Before their playoff run a group of Seattle Seahawks players sat down with the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle for a videotaped discussion called, “Who is Jesus?”
“It’s no question he gave us everything,” Seto says during the group interview.
“Literally, one plus one equals two, it’s just that simple. Jesus is better than anything we could ever hope for, even better than the Super Bowl, better than an NFL career.”
Seen nodding their heads in agreement with Seto’s comments are Seahawks’ Quarterback Russell Wilson, Offensive Tackle Russell Okung, Safety Chris Maragos and Long Snapper Clint Gresham.
Seto continued, “I think some us here – all of us here would like to say – you know, who knows what’s going to happen. But if we were ever to win the Super Bowl, to be able to tell everyone that, ‘No, Jesus is still better’”.
“Because as much as we worship this thing called a ring and championship, although we would like to have one for sure, I just can’t wait to tell people if that happens God willing, we will be able to tell people Jesus is way better still.”
“Jesus is love,” says Wilson in the interview, “At the end of the day we are all looking for somebody to comfort us, somebody to be there for us at all times.”
This interview took place before Seattle did, in fact, win the Super Bowl. And, to be sure, these guys actually said Jesus was better than winning the Super Bowl – after the win.
So – even the Super Bowl is something that can bring Glory to God.
Not when one prays to win it – but when one prays to play to the best of their ability. When one thanks God for that ability. When one acknowledges that – win or lose – Jesus is still better and more important than the Super Bowl.
And why is that?
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
And life to the full is eternal life with Jesus.
It doesn’t matter what your religion – our your denomination of some religion – tells you about –
what you can ask for /
what God wants for you /
what God will give you /
whether you win or lose.
What matter’s is what God Himself says.
And there it is.
Know Jesus. Realize that things we do to bring glory to God through Jesus will also result in the fullest possible (eternal) life for us. Live our lives according to those simple principles. Act accordingly. Do things in line with that.
- Quit and you lose.
Quit and Satan wins.
- work with Jesus to accomplish the things He has for us to do – and you win.
Continue with Jesus – and glory goes to the Father.
One final note – for those who look at this and think I’m saying “works” get us to Heaven –
that God will love us because of what we do for Him – as opposed to God loves us first no matter what we have done –
Sorry – No. That’s not what I’m saying at all.
I’m saying that belief in Jesus will allow us to reach the point where we want to do the things He has for us –
not the other way around.
I’m saying that once we believe and are already saved –
only then can we even be at a point where we honestly consider and do His will.
Do you really know Jesus?
Or are you just familiar with what has been said about Him – by people who may or may not know Him?
It’s easy enough to know Jesus.
Just tell Jesus you want to know Him.
Read His Word.
Listen for Him.
Learn from Him.
Know His voice.
And get ready for life to the fullest. Forever.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 813). New York: United Bible Societies.|
|2, 3.||↑||Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.|