What it Means to Remain – A Truth Illustrated

This is the second of a four part devotional on John 15:1-17.  Last time we looked at the word prune.  I want to make a second major observation in this passage that I trust you will meditate upon for a few moments.   Consider what Jesus might be telling his disciples and ultimately us in this passage.

In John 15:4-10 in the NIV you will find the word “remain” repeated 11 times.  When a word is repeated that many times it should catch our attention.  Here are the words underlined:


Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.


“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.


If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.


If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.


This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.


If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

The word to remain is meno in the greek.  Here’s the definition –

ménō: to stay, to await, to persevere, to remain in place, endure, to stay on with, to hold out, wait on, abide.   The opposite is to turn and go away.

Here’s an illustration to help you capture one way to remember the rich meaning of the word remain.  Pretend that God is in your room as a physical person standing next to you.  You not only have your arm around His shoulders but you’re also hip to hip standing right next to Him.  You’re really close.  Then you say to yourself, “I would like to do things my way for once.”  You then move about 6 inches away from God but your arm is still on his shoulder but more around His neck area.  Then you say, “I know I should be seeking God’s advice, but I think I know what is best in this situation.”  Then you move another 8-10 inches away from God and all of a sudden you’re an arms length away from Him with your hand just resting on His shoulder.

Then you say, “I know that this is sin, but it’s O.K. to compromise just this once.”  You move further away from God that your arm is fully extended out to Him and He is extending His arm out to you, just your fingers are touching.  Finally, you say, “It’s O.K. to sin again, it won’t hurt to keep doing things my way, it won’t hurt anybody.”  Now you’ve moved away from God to the other side of the room and you’re no longer touching Him, communicating with Him or looking at Him.

Did God move or did you?  You moved not God!  The word remain means to stay in place, to wait, not to move, stay right next to God so that all you do, say, and think you would be pleasing to Him.  God is the One standing right next to you arm in arm, shoulder-to-shoulder, hip-to-hip.

Know and understand that God wants you to stand by His side every moment of every day.  He see’s everything.  Stay close to Him.  Live life under the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to Him.  He really is right next to you and inside of you.  Remain in Him.

Ben Rivera