My church is in the series, The Power of Same, which we are learning the power of staying the same and following the One who is the same. Pastor Steven challenged us to read John 15 every day for the entire month. If you’ve never read the same passage over and over (day after day) I would absolutely recommend giving it a try. Every day I’m challenged with something new from the text.
So anyway I’ve been reading over and over “remain in me” – remain, remain, remain and I noticed this morning I passed by all those remains without asking myself, “what does remain in me mean?” Like how do I remain – I’m sure my Pastor has covered it but honestly he has so many good points it’s tough to catch them all (or maybe I’m just not listening, that’s possible). Rest assured I will be listening to the podcast over and over.
I feel late to the party because I totally missed remain day after day but this morning in the midst of journaling I asked the question – Jesus, how do I remain in you? Clearly this is important and deserves my attention if not simply because He said so but I think there is more. And since I found myself in a terrible mood this week (it’s only Tuesday) and looking for a way out of this mood, remain came to my heart. It seems funny – I’m looking for a way out and the Lord says remain (not exactly what I was hoping for but exactly what I’ve been learning about in church). The way out of your terrible mood is to remain. Okay, fine, I’ll remain but back to my question – how?
Thank goodness for my life application Bible which does all the heavy lifting for me. I simply have to open it. During my search this morning I headed to 1 John 3:24:
“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”
At first glance this verse seemed just as vague to me as “remain in me.” I want to know how to remain, let’s try the Message version:
“Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.”
And there it was – very practical, how we remain: Believe, Love and Live. (Perhaps, I could replace my “Live, Laugh, Love” signage with these three words so that I have a constant reminder how to remain.) This could be the place where I end this post and tell you I found peace about remaining and how my day turned around (mostly true – more so because of a perspective shift) but it’s not where I’m going to end the story.
I had to go back and read John 15 again! Was this practical application on how to remain in the text all along – had I been missing it? I made it to John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Okay, one down – love; moving on to John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you,” two down – live (read: bear fruit) and well, without the believe part I wouldn’t be writing this post.
Friends, this post is as much about learning to remain as it is to encourage you to do some digging. When the answers don’t seem clear keep searching, keep asking and when they still don’t come – just Remain in Him.
Additional Text: Matthew 22:36-40, John 12:44