Remembering and Forgetting

Why do we need reminders? Because we have a tendency to forget some things. That is why we have calendars which remind us of appointments and planned events, and why our doctors’ offices send us reminders, too. I know that if I don’t write something down, like an event or an appointment, that I can easily forget. And the older I get, the worse it gets.

Well, we need spiritual reminders for the same reasons, although, since we have the Holy Spirit living within us, and our desire now is to walk in obedience to our Lord, we shouldn’t need to be reminded all the time to do what is right and to not do what is wrong. We should know right from wrong, and we should choose to do right and to not do wrong.

But since we still live in flesh bodies, and we live in a fallen world, and we have lots of things in this world pulling for our attention, if we are not careful, and if we are not on our guard, we can get pulled away from those things which are most critical to involve ourselves in other things of lesser importance or which are just mere distractions.

But, and I know this is possible, too, some people who don’t want to obey the Lord, although they profess him as Savior of their lives, will find all kinds of excuses for why they are not living as they ought and for why they keep going back to the same sins over again. And so sometimes they will excuse away their behaviors by saying, “I forgot.”

And so we have the Scriptures, and we have the Holy Spirit, and we have servants of the Lord who are teaching the Scriptures to remind us of the things we need to remember so that we don’t forget. But those who don’t want to be reminded will continue to forget the things they don’t really want to do, and they will remember what they do want to do.

But if our desire is to remember and to not forget the things God has for us to remember, then we can put those things into practice in our daily lives. We can put on the good we ought to do, and we can put off the bad that we should not do, all in the power and working of God’s Spirit who is living within us reminding us of the things of God.

Some Examples of Remembering and Forgetting

So, what are some examples of the kinds of things which we need to be reminded of or which we need to remember, or of the kinds of things we need to forget? And what are some things that we should not forget?

We need to be reminded of the ways of Christ that are to be lived out in the life of the believer in Jesus. We need to be reminded of the gospel as Jesus and the apostles taught it, for many people today are distorting it and diluting it to say something else. And we need to be reminded that if we die with Christ to sin that we will live with him for eternity, but if we deny him, he will also deny us.

We need to remember the blessings of God in our lives and the miracles he worked in our lives and in our circumstances previously. We need to remember the words which Jesus spoke to us, but which we ignored, and of the consequences of ignoring his words and of thinking we know better. And we need to remember the words of Jesus so we can apply them to our lives.

We need to remember the things Jesus told us would happen to us so that when they do happen that we don’t get unsettled by them. And we need to remember those who are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake and to keep them in our prayers. And we must remember the prophecies of Scripture, so we are prepared for what is coming and has already come.

And if we have drifted away from our pure devotion to the Lord, and if we have wandered from the faith, we need to remember from where we have fallen, we need to repent, and we need to return to doing the works of God we did before. And we need to remember what we have received and what we have heard from the Lord and keep it and repent of any rebellious ways.

Also, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to forget our former way of living, not that we can’t recall it or give testimony to it and how God delivered us out of it, but we need to put it behind us so that it is no longer a part of our present lives. We are to live in the present, not in the past. But if the past is still our present, then we need to repent and make it our past.

When it comes to us listening to the Lord and to his word, we are not to just walk away and forget what we have heard. If the word we heard spoke to us about something in our lives which needed to be changed, we are not to walk away and forget what we have been shown. But we are to remember, and we are to do what the word teaches us that we must do.

When the Lord exhorts us, we are not to forget what he said. We are not to regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, for he disciplines us for our good that we may share in his holiness. And although the discipline seems painful, we are to be reminded that later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

And we are to be reminded that as we grow in our faith that we should be producing such qualities as self-control, virtue, steadfastness, godliness, and brotherly (and sisterly) love. For if these qualities are ours and are increasing, they keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But if we are lacking in these qualities, then we are so nearsighted that we are blind, for we have forgotten that Jesus cleansed us from our former sins. So, we must not be those who forget what Jesus taught us and what he did for us and what we are required to do as his followers, too. But we must be those who remember and who put the word of God into practice in our lives.

[1 Co 4:17; 1 Co 15:1; 2 Tim 2:11-14; Matt 16:9; Matt 26:75; Jn 2:16-17; Jn 15:20; Col 4:18; Jude 1:17-18; Rev. 2:5; Rev 3:3; Php 3:12-14; Jas 1:23-25; Heb 12:3-11; 2 Pet 1:5-9]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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