So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

Definition of Abide or “Meno” in the Greek – to stay, remain, watch, continue, hang out.

Don’t you want to be free?  From worry, circumstances holding you down, anxiety hovering overhead, heaviness?  Here is Jesus’ solution.  All we have to do is remain in the Logos, the Word, a synonym for Jesus himself.  What does that mean, to remain or stay in Him?  Do we,  as a matter of course, hang out somewhere?  Where would that be?   What are our choices?

Try worry, circumstances, and problems.  In essence, since God made man a RATIONAL being, unlike the animals, that means we are THINKING animals.  We live in our thoughts.  Do we ever turn off our minds?  No…we are always thinking about something.  Do we have control over our thoughts?  As a teacher, I would say we do.  I tap a pencil on the table of a day-dreaming student.  He startles and returns to the classroom discussion.  I catch myself wandering in my thoughts when I’m listening to a pod-cast sermon.  Quickly, I bring my thoughts back to what I’m listening to. I would argue that we have absolute power to choose and think thoughts.  That’s not a difficult premise to accept.  What is perhaps more serious is the fact that our thoughts matter.  They color EVERYTHING about us.  Our thoughts determine our moods, our feelings, our spoken words and our actions.  To a large degree, we create our future reactions to circumstances by our thoughts.

When Jesus counsels His listeners to abide in Him, so that they will be free, He is talking to men who are physically  free.  He’s not lecturing in a prison.  So He must be speaking symbolically about freedom.  And we certainly can grasp that.  Don’t we often  feel trapped by our habits of negativity or of particular earthly indulgences?

Jesus is promising a true liberation – the kind where you feel like a kid again, on a beautiful summer day, with no worries at all.  What we have to do is discipline our mind, gently, to think about Him:  His character, His promises, His past actions, His story, our inheritance in Him, our treasures stored up in Heaven, our blessings.  To summarize, we are to think about those things that Paul describes as true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  What we think about, then,  is where we MENO or dwell.  We can either MENO or abide in circumstances or in Christ.   Not only will we be free, but we will be noticeable as His disciples.

What would make us stand out as His followers?  I think it’s that we would exhibit an unusual peace.  People around us are frustrated and preoccupied, rushing around, unaware that they have control over their thoughts.  If we exhibited a calm, restful demeanor, that would give someone pause and perhaps cause them to ask us about our source of peace.