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Remain: The Word We Don’t Want to Forget


As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown in my fondness for words. Not all words mind you, but there’s some that I hope will stick with me, that I won’t easily forget. In my life, one of these words has been the word remain.  

Remain. Once upon a time I penned the word REMAIN in big, bold letters. As I pressed the paper to the wall of our home, I desperately hoped the word would stick to the walls of my heart.

Three years ago, when we made the decision to move from our home, I peeled that same paper down. If I’m honest, I let go of the word internally as well. The sticking power was lost, or so it seemed.

The word initially stood out to me as I studied the gospel of John. In Jesus’s final teaching to the disciples he used this word seven times (John 15: 1-8 CSB), emphasizing that his followers were to remain in Him and the words he had given them. I had to ask, why the repetition?

Don’t Forget This Word

As I set out to do a little study of the word remain, I soon learned that the word is a verb, meaning that it indicates action or a state of being. In the Greek, the original language of the New Testament, this word means “to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy)”. Other words listed in the definition include live, reside, rest and wait for.

In his last teaching to the disciples Jesus intentionally reiterated the importance of staying, living, residing, resting and waiting for him. Why? Perhaps because Jesus knew that it was easy to forget the very words that he gives to us.

I experienced this forgetting in my own life. Yes, I initially pressed the word unto the wall of our home and into my heart for a time, but then I began to overlook the importance of this word in my life. I failed to remain with Jesus.

The Choice to Remain

Jesus must be central. This is our single greatest hope. Jesus says it himself, “…because you can do nothing without me”. (John 15: 5b CSB)

The good news of Jesus is that he does not leave us in our forgetfulness. He will remind us, again and again if he has to, that we are to stay with Him. He did just that with his disciples, retelling them seven times of what they were to do.

So now what? What happens when it seems like the words of Jesus have lost their sticking power in our lives? Perhaps the very word that stood out to me in the first place gives some direction for moving forward.

Remember Where You Stay

Again, the word remain in the Greek is translated as stay. This particular passage points to the importance of staying in relationship with Jesus. Our hearts, minds, and wills need to be united with him and his purposes.

Simply ask yourself this question: Where am I at in my relationship with Jesus? If you are close, rejoice and thank him for his fellowship with you. If you are in a season of forgetfulness, remember and return to what you did when you were in a close relationship with him.

Prayer, time in the word and scripture meditation are some great ways to remind ourselves of the truths of God’s word and goodness. Return to the gospels and ask God to show you who Jesus is with fresh eyes. Set aside time each day to remind yourself of who Jesus is to you personally. 

As I wait, I will once again press this word unto the walls of my home. Why? Because I am desperate to be reminded of where I need to stay. I pray you’ll be reminded too. 

Wife Step: In which ways will you choose to remain in God’s Word this week? How can this strengthen your marriage?

Amy Walkup is a professional counselor in Minnesota. She is passionate about sitting with others in the midst of their pain and difficulties in order to find the place where God is working to bring restoration and transformation. Amy desires to see women, men, and families transformed by the grace of God. Living in rural Minnesota with her farming husband and two sets of twins, she continues to learn more about the grace of God and how this grace allows God’s children to be made new.

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