Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. (John 15:7-8)
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as (being) dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires. And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness. (Romans 6:11-13)
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ (Matthew 25:21)
What goes through your mind when you hear Jesus say that if you remain in his word you will know the truth, which will set you free? What does it mean to “remain” or “abide” in his “word”? Could it mean memorizing Scripture or frequent reading of the Bible or perhaps being part of a Bible study group? At one level, this is certainly true. How can we abide in something unfamiliar to us? But Jesus is calling us to something that goes much deeper than just a general familiarity with the Bible or some level of understanding of what he taught and said during his earthly ministry.
To remain, or abide, in Jesus’ word means moving from the external to the internal. This requires:
- Spending quality time every day reading and pondering his word.
- Letting his word penetrate our hearts.
- Keeping his promises in the forefront of our minds
- Keeping his presence on our hearts so that we can surrender to him and be formed into his image and likeness.
- Accepting and building up the good in us so that evil has no room to dwell—no room to “abide.”
We know that there are obstacles to abiding in Jesus’ word, things that have to go if we want to remain in his presence. That’s why you need to be alert for any sin or evil in our hearts and say no to anything that would lure you away from his presence. You must keep reminding yourself that through the cross of Christ, you are “dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus” and that “sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires” (Romans 6:11-12).
But even more than just turning away from sin, you should be proactive in celebrating and enhancing the good that God has placed within you through his risen Son. You must “ present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness” (Romans 6:13). This isn’t about performing Herculean feats for God, but in being “faithful in small matters” (Matthew 25:21). If you feel moved to take on an act of kindness, do it. If you have an opportunity to give someone an encouraging word, go ahead—because in your heart you’re doing it for the sake of Christ, and that moves you more deeply into his word and commands.
It’s the little things that we do during the day that keep us rooted in Jesus, not just the huge, dramatic decisions we make from time to time. That’s how intimately involved in our lives Jesus is. So remain in him today, and watch to see the blessings that will flow. Then one day you will hear these words from Jesus, “‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. . . . Come, share your master’s joy.”
“Lord Jesus, through your death and resurrection, you have set me free from the obstacles that keep me from abiding in your word and in your presence. Help me to sense your presence and be open to depending on you in everything I do. Transform me more and more into your image and likeness so that I will be faithful in little things, as I reach out to others as your disciple.”
Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.catholicmensresources.org/), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism, (http://www2.wau.org/partners/), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/).
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- The article speaks of the importance of remaining or abiding in Jesus’ word. What does remaining or abiding in Jesus’ word mean to you? Why is it so important?
- What are some of the obstacles you have that get in the way of your abiding in Jesus’ word?
- Matthew 25:21 speaks of being “faithful in small matters.” What small steps can you take to help you overcome these obstacles?
- In the article, we hear these words, “But even more than just turning away from sin, you should be proactive in celebrating and enhancing the good that God has placed within you through his risen Son. You must ‘present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness’ (Romans 6:13).” The article goes on to say that “It’s the little things that we do during the day that keep us rooted in Jesus, not just the huge, dramatic decisions we make from time to time.” What small steps can you take individually, or as a group, to reach out to others with the Good News of Jesus Christ and to serve those in need?
- If you are in a men’s group, take some time at the end of your meeting to pray for one another that each of you would abide more and more in Jesus’ word, be transformed more and more into his image and likeness, and serve him as a faithful servant and disciple. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.