A pastor busily rummaged through everything in the room he had been assigned for this pastoral retreat in Belgium. “Where did I put my glasses?” He fumed, his mood less then patient. “I can’t read that thing without my bifocals!”
What further fuelled his foul mood was that fact that his colleagues, fellow pastors from Belgium who were sharing his dorm room, were all laughing at him!
“Stop making fun of me,” he challenged. “Help me find them!”
But the group continued in their uproarious mirth, and as time progressed, the pastor’s face reddened with anger and his words became a bit more colourful. Finally he threw his arms up in exasperation. As he did so however, his hand touched something familiar on top of his head: His glasses! They had been there all the time! No wonder all the others were laughing at him!
The older we get, the faster we forget. This is a fact of life, one that we can’t do anything about. It is, however, also true that the more we fall into sin, the more we forget!
Take Eve, for example. During the first temptation known to humankind, when asked about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she responded: “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” (Gen 3:3 NIV) She forgot what God had really said! If you compare this with Gen. 2:16-17, you will see that she added something to God’s words! She added “you must not touch it!” This forgetfulness paved the path to sin!
A man who lives with his mistress may not even remember the names of his children when they visit. Why? Because sin makes you conveniently forget, and forgetfulness opens the doors to a life of addiction and needless despair. Forgetfulness is another weapon of choice by the evil one, one that somehow is cherished by those who have fallen into sin, a mistress in disguise.
When facing challenges, temptation and tribulation, how easy it is to forget the central focus of all history: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:2-3) No wonder we fall into sin! We too easily forget to resist temptation!
Is this why the Word of God encourages us so many times to remember?
“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” (Deut 5:15 NIV)
“Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. ” (Isa 46:8-9 NIV)
“Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:32-33 NIV)
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.” (2 Tim 2:8-9 NIV)
Remembering is crucial if we want to be victorious, but the only way to remember is when we depend on Jesus to remind us of what really matters at the crucial times of our life!
“O Lord! Help me remember when I am confronted with temptation. Help me remember how much you love me and what you suffered to save me. I depend solely on you for my victory. My memory is bad and my inclinations don’t always lean in the right direction. Help me remember that you are my anchor amidst all the turmoil of my life. Thank you so much, Lord! In Jesus’ name, amen!”
Where are my keys? Where did I see them last…
(To access the entire “Addictive Lovers of our Life” devotional series, please click here.)