A truth that has come to carry heavy weight in my heart recently is that as followers of Jesus, our lives are best lived in perpetual and constant remembrance.
Our scattered brains can barely concentrate on anything that’s not directly happening to us in the present tense. Searching our memories and trying to recollect emotions, ideas and events from the past is not an easy task, in fact, it takes willpower. But, a lot of things that God asks us to do are not natural for us, which is why He sent us His Holy Spirit to intercede for us when we are at the end of our rope. We are never asked to fight against our forgetfulness on our own.
It is essential to remember lots of small things in day to day life like grocery lists and material for an exam or even bigger things like what you love about a person. In the same way, God calls us into a life of remembrance the moment we say yes to following Him, in the small promises and the big covenants.
Remembrance is spoken about in scripture on many different occasions and in many different contexts, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Deuteronomy 5:15 : “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” Even since the time of the Israelite’s enslavement in Egypt, God has told humans and demonstrated for the the importance of remembrance. Exodus 2:24 says “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” God Himself even practices remembrance (surely in a much different way than we have the need to), but there’s something about the intentionality of God in actively remembering His promises that is filled with love.
“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.” John 14:26
One of the main roles that the Holy Spirit himself plays in our lives is to help us remember Jesus’ teachings and the things God has spoken. Every time a word from scripture or a promise that God has made to us pops into our head, that is the Holy Spirit’s way of guiding us in truth. We can read as much scripture as we want, but walking in step with the Spirit yields fruit when we don’t just leave the truth we learned with our closed Bibles. It happens when we give the Spirit the freedom to remind us of those truths in everything that we see and do as we go about our days.
Throughout all of David’s life, remembrance is intricately woven into his life and his story.
David’s prayers and praises to God in Psalms have been recognized all over the world as beautiful and pure models for how we should pray today, which is why it’s important to note that remembrance is a huge part of his focus in many of the Psalms he wrote. Each time he catches himself forgetting a promise from the Lord, he immediately turns to remembering truth. Psalm 143:5 says “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.” (More examples from David and other Psalmists: Psalms 20, 42, 63, 77, 78, 105, and many more)
Here are some things that after searching scripture, I am convinced are important for followers of Jesus to constatly remember in pursuit of spiritual growth:
- Who God is. Almighty, loving, wonderful counselor, Redeemer, deliverer of justice, all-knowing, ever-present, beautiful beyond comprehension, the Great I Am. The beauty in this is that we can never stop learning more about who God is… the list of stunning character traits goes on and on into the depths of the sea and to the reaches of the farthest stars. Each time we gain even the smallest amount of new understanding of who God is, we delight our Father. Proverbs 3:13-14 : “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.”
- What Jesus did for us. “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me'” Luke 22:19. Jesus Himself told us how important it is to remember Him and His sacrifice on the cross, so much so that He gave us this beautiful sacrament to remember Him by. The greatest act of love that ever occurred in all of History, the willing sacrifice of the only perfect man who ever lived to save the world deserves to be remembered constantly throughout all generations. His death and resurrection changed absolutely everything, and is something that deserves to be at the forefront of our hearts and minds forever.
- Who God says we are. Since Jesus has interceded for us, God now sees us as redeemed, restored, loved, free, covered in grace, new creations, chosen, and commissioned when we put our trust in Him. This list doesn’t end there either. The more the Holy Spirit allows us to discover about who God is, the more this list grows as well. We must also remember that while we are still here on Earth we are perpetually imperfect and can’t measure up to God’s perfect standard on our own. It is just as important to remember our imperfection and our need for grace as it is to remember our freedom.
- What God delivered us from. Our personal stories and testimonies are some of the most encouraging ways we can remember how God has been faithful in our lives to spur us on to pour into others. By remembering my story and pondering the way in which God reached from His deep into my deep to deliver me from the death that I was living in, I am so encouraged by the fact that He is unstoppable and can bring even the most hardened souls like mind back to Him. We become increasingly confident in God’s redemptive abilities the more we remember the big and little ways that He has worked in and around us.
- Who God made us to be. We were meant to be in perfect fellowship and Communion with Him, beloved servants, heavenly things, blameless in His sight, completely satisfied. We were made for heaven. Whenever we forget God’s promises and try to find our satisfaction in ANYTHING on earth, we are settling for less than heaven and a lesser identity than who God made us to be. This is why we remember… in pursuit of heaven as we become more like Jesus.
- What He has called us to do. The beautiful truth about this one is that as we grow in our remembrance of the other ones, this becomes easier and easier. Out of knowing who we are in Christ and all that He has done for us, answering our calling to the Great Commission becomes natural. It’s when we forget God’s promises that evangelism becomes hard. I will be the first to admit that I am completely guilty of this, just as we all are at times, which is what makes sharing our faith with others so hard. The moment we lean into our own identity and what others think about us rather than our identity in Christ and Christ alone, sharing Jesus with others seems forced and difficult. But when we remember truth with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are showered with the most lovely peace and by the grace of God, we learn how to walk in confidence. Hallelujah, what a gift!
My prayer now and for all of my life, for myself and for all followers of Jesus across the world, is that by grace we would learn to walk in remembrance.
As far as east is from the west
So far Your grace has carried me
If ever I deny Your grace
Remind me of the price You paid
I’ll live in remembrance”
(Remembrance, Hillsong Worship)