How well do you remember? This is a great question I have been asking myself this summer. How well do I remember what the Lord has done in my life and in the lives of others around me? How much time do I give to meditate on the victories and miracles Jesus is doing regularly in my midst?
Memory is a powerful force the Lord has equipped us with. In order to remember, we first need to stop and notice. We need to have the ability to observe what God is doing around us. I recently went backcountry camping with my three sons. It has become a highlight of the summer for the Hippe men. As we were preparing for the hike, I sensed the Lord wanted to teach me about observing all that He has done and how it is shown through creation (Romans 1). That had to be one of the longest hikes we ever did because we stopped to observe how many incredible things there were that showed the magnificence of God (Romans 1:19-20). The first rule of having a healthy memory is that we must first notice what the Lord is doing in the present.
Memory is identity. Memory grounds us in who we are and where we’ve come from. Memory lays the pillars of our lives. It shapes us and guides us. What we reflect on and choose to meditate on will guide us in a direction that is unhealthy or encouraging, depending on the content.
Let me give you a few more thoughts to consider:
- Our faith is rooted in memory. So much so that one of the key works of the Holy Spirit is the ministry of reminding. John 14:26 says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
- Our faith starts to deform as soon as we start forgetting the works of God. Our faith starts to become some self-made mythology, superstition, or ideology. The most common way this happens is through busyness. Busyness erodes our memory. It destroys the time we need to remember well and produces confusion that causes us to forget who we are. We forget that we are loved, that we are redeemed, and that we are a son or daughter of the Highest King.
- Remembering rightly bears the fruit of anticipation. When we remember well, we will reflect on the amazing things the Lord has done. As we reflect and meditate on these things, the fruit of anticipation will become evident in our lives (Hebrews 11:1).
- To remember rightly, we must also be able to forget. Only by forgetting can we “press on to take hold of hat for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12-14). Taking hold of God’s call on our lives depends on this quality of forgetfulness because God’s future entails a relinquishing of some of our own pasts.
- The enemy of your soul seeks to fill our minds with bullying memories. These painful memories seek preeminence and must be denied. They must be relinquished at the foot of the cross and anyone involved must be forgiven from your heart (Matthew 18). These are memories that seek to use up all the energy that might otherwise be invested in remembering well, reflecting truthfully, or anticipating joyfully.
DO YOU REMEMBER WELL? Do you remember when God broke into your life? When you knew you were loved? When you knew you had purpose? Hold that memory until it’s alive, until it assumes its true size and weight. Endure with it. Remember well and then embrace your present. Pay attention, then project. Look ahead with expectation for there is a great reward ahead (Hebrews 10:32-36).