Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Remember - Learning to Live what we already know, Part II

I hereby resume my weekly Wednesday reflections on “remember.”  Hope you enjoy! If you want to read the first one, you can find it here.

Remember.  This word has caused me more problems in my life.  Whether it is forgetting to tell my wife about that conference that I am doing tomorrow; the promise that I made my daughter yesterday; or where I put my keys, my wallet, or my mind, for that matter.   This word has caused me many problems here, in Zambia, as well.  There is grace for the Mzungu’s, (the word for white person in Zambia), who don’t know cultural principles, and there is grace for those who know them but forget them, as well. But, whether it is saying “good morning” when I meant to say “thank you,” or showing up on time for a program when I should have remembered that it was going to be African time, I am learning that I could avoid a lot of problems if I could just remember.  Well, it is one thing to be early when I could have been on time, or forgetting to tell my wife that  someone we know had a baby, but it is much more drastic when we forget God in a similar way. 
I know from the Bible that God is sovereign,  in control, and no one has more power than Him. 

Yet, I find myself, at times, full of fear.  I know that God is good and works all things for good. Yet, I worry, fret, and spend my time in anxious reeling.  I know that God is faithful. Yet, when one thing doesn’t go my way, I wonder why God has forgotten me.  Truly, God has not forgotten me, rather I have forgotten God.  God has never failed his promise and never forgotten his covenant. There has never been a time when God was not good, faithful, loving, merciful, kind, patient, or wise.  God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. What He is, He will always be; and what He always will be, He will be to all who love Him.  Therefore, if God is all that He is, all the time, then the most important thing for me to do, is to just act as if all of those things were true, all the time.  If all his promises enable me to interact in the divine nature, then truly, the most important thing I need to do, as a Christian, is to act on what I remember. 

The problem is simple. I just forget. Often... Far. Too. Often.

But, I do not think I am alone. How many of you have heard of a verse like this before?
Is 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
It is pretty clear.  We are not to fear because God is with us; He will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us by his untainted, pure right hand.  This is a tremendous promise.  Yet, have you feared something this week? Are you fearing something now?  God commands us not to fear, and, with that commandment, He makes a wonderful set of promises.  We know He will follow through and keep those promises; He has to.   In fact, most of us have seen evidence of Him keeping these promises, over and over again. And so, why do we just forget?

Or, how about this verse: Php 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Again, God’s Word is pretty clear.  The command is clear; do not be anxious. The promise is clear; we will have peace that will transcend not only all understanding, but any problem that could be possibly arise.  And, this peace will guard your heart and mind, so that the thing you need most can happen; namely, that you can stay in Christ Jesus. Yet, we worry, a lot.  Why? Because God is not faithful? No. Because God is not good? Well, no.  Why do we worry? Because we forget. We forget that peace is a prayer away. We forget that God commands us to trust Him for our own good. We forget that we are not sovereign, all-powerful, or all-knowing.  We forget that we cannot control tomorrow, today, yesterday, or even gravity, for that matter.
I could go on, but, I won’t.  I think the point is made.  We are really forgetful.  We forget His promises. We forget His character. We forget how He has worked in our past. We forget how He wants to work all things for good in our future. We forget that joy is found only in Christ. We forget. We are forgetters.

The Bible is full of promises about God’s character, and His blessings. We know these promises, at least enough of them to change our life for good.  Yet, when the temptation lurks, the struggle comes, or the trials sideswipe our lives, it is too easy to forget God and all that He means to the life we are living.  It is too easy to live as if God, His promises, His commands, and His love for his children do not even exist. 

And so, it is my belief that most sin is rooted in forgetfulness.  
Check out these verses:
Dt 6:12 – ”Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Dt 8:11 – “Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.”
Dt 8:19 – “If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.”
2 Ki 17:38 – “Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods.”
Ps 103:2 – “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—“
Is 51:13 - “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?”

I’m not sure how you are doing right now. Are you discouraged? Bitter? Tired? Angry? Jealous?  Confused? It just may be that your biggest problem right now is that you are forgetting to live what you need to remember the most.  Maybe we just need to learn to live what we already know…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,
I agree, the love of God is not to be forgotten... I also wonder where we draw the line. I am SUPER forgetful with chemo and all the drugs I am on, yet a lot of the time I do no fear, despite my situation, but I think that is because I am not dwelling on my situation. I am simply doing what I need to be doing.

Also, all those verses you posted were directed pretty heavily towards the nation of Israel. What in the new testament does God say about remembering Him?

Walk strong.