A Moment to Remember and Resolve
There is no week during any year in which we tend to reflect on the past and make plans for the future than this moment that welcomes a new year. To be fruitful in our ongoing Christian journey we must remember to forget and not forget to remember. It sounds a bit confusing, but the Bible is clear about the importance of forgetting and remembering as elements of a vital faith.
In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul writes, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” We all know it is hard to drive forward safely and effectively if we are constantly glued to the rear view mirror. Believers are unwise when they use this mirror to fixate on their own past accomplishments in a fashion that suppresses their determination to wholeheartedly pursue the upward call of Christ into the future. We never arrive in our journey of faith. Paul knew the accomplishments of his past, but refused to be encumbered by any sense of apathy or satisfaction when he knew Christ still had so much for him in his mission on earth.
Like Paul, we must guard ourselves from too much time in our life’s “trophy room” fixating on the past and avoid any temptation to slow down, relax, or retire in our pursuit of Christ and His calling on our lives. With our eyes on eternity’s reward we must fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7) until we cross the finish line of life.
On the other hand, God tells His people in many places in the Scriptures to “remember.” Deuteronomy 7:18 says, “You shall remember well what the LORD your God did,” and again, “you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years” (8:2). Over and over in the Bible, followers are challenged to remember the past works of God in order to propel their current and future faith and obedience. The Psalmist wrote, “I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11).
In Joshua 1:13 the Lord tells the new leader of His people, “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you.” This is just one of many instances when the Lord commands us to remember and trust in the reliability of His word.
First Chronicles 16:12 says, “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.” Here we see both aspects of vital remembrance – His wondrous works and His reliable truth. Psalm 105:5 also reflects this dual focus of remembering: “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.”
The impact of this kind of memory is found in Psalm 63:6-7: “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.” Proper remembrance of the works and words of the Lord, especially in the midst of difficult times, can reassure us of His present help in our times of trouble, fueling our resolve to move forward in joyful trust.
Similarly, in Psalm 143:5-6, David wrote, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.” Remembering the faithfulness of God fuels our present faith in Him and sparks a longing for a deeper intimacy, which is the source of meaning and satisfaction, regardless of our circumstances.
The power of a proper memory that ignites fresh love and resolute trust is captured in Jesus’ words – spoken at that last supper with His disciples: “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Jesus, the living word who accomplished our great redemption, calls us to never forget the power or His saving and keeping grace. Every time we grasp the bread and the cup, we must forget about any of our accomplishments that could tempt us to pride or apathy. Then, we must remember His great work and word that remains true and faithful to us, in us, and through us until we see Him face to face in the glorious day of our eternal reward and His everlasting exaltation.
Forward With a Good Memory
As 2014 dawns, let us pray for the grace to move forward, but with a spiritually vibrant memory. In this way, we will trust Christ for whatever we encounter on the road ahead but resolve to press on regardless of the challenges, knowing that He is the same – yesterday, today, and forever.
Copyright © 2013 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.