Among all the New Years Resolutions I’ve kept over the years, one of the most helpful has been to memorize and carry with me, in mind and soul, a specific passage of Scripture for a full year, reflecting more deeply and thoroughly on this passage through twelve months of reflection. In 2015, I carried with me the following verses.
“Remain in me, as I also 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 you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:4-5.
In 2015, I worked in a friend’s vineyard every month. I also was on a 4 month sabbatical titled Cultivate the Vineyard: A Journey Together into Fruitful Church Growth. During those 4 months, I studied viticulture, traveled to various vineyards in USA and in Europe, and harvested grapes in Germany in our friend’s vineyard, seeing the gift of bearing much fruit.
These words of Jesus from John 15:4-5 have been my guiding Scripture since 2015. I hope to learn to remain more and more in the presence of Jesus each year.
The “hidden treasure” this week is the Greek verb for REMAIN, also translated ABIDE. In Greek, this word is μείνατε, meinate, a command to stay, to abide in relationship with, to dwell together, to be attached to as a branch to the vine, to be in committed relationship with.
This hidden treasure MENEIN is found 10 times in John 15:10, more than any other section of scripture. Jesus repeatedly tells us he wants us to stay close, to remain or abide IN him, and assures us the he will remain or abide IN us. Jesus tells us to remain or abide in his love and in his word.
A few years ago, I began praying the specific words from John 15:4 (from the New King James Version): Abide in me and I in you. This has become my most consistent prayer, a prayer I offer to our Lord Jesus many times a day, helping me to return my attention, my heart, my mind, my being to the Lord as I pray.