I think most of us have a forgetful streak (some of us it’s more than a streak). And for the most part the things we forget have little consequence in what matters most. Sure we may find ourselves delayed leaving our house because our keys are misplaced or feeling badly that we forgot a good friend’s birthday. However in the large scheme of things there is little life consequence. As a person who is seeking to follow God, there are actually two things we often forget that can have some very difficult consequences in our lives. When we forget these two things about God we will find ourselves worrying more, stressing more and sinning more. In fact without these two things being believed and top of mind for us we will be more susceptible to all kinds of temptations. Temptations are “fallen for” when we succumb to the lies that whatever they’re asking us to do will give us what we really want and long for in life. (And by contrast, the lie that God isn’t for us or able to provide what we really need and long for.)
The two things we often “forget” about God is that He is good/ for us and that He is powerful/ can do anything. You see when we forget that God is good and for us we begin to believe we have to look out for ourselves. We gotta make life happen, we gotta find the things that will give us what we really long for because God can’t be trusted for those kinds of things. When we doubt/forget God’s goodness we begin to question where God is, why He doesn’t seem to be doing what we think He should be doing and are very skeptical that He’ll ever come through with anything we really need. When we forget His power we are apt to believe that while God may want to help us, He is unable to. We begin to live by the adage, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” We tell ourselves that God is either too busy, has too many more important things to do or that the situation we are facing is unique and beyond what God could really fix and since we’re already questioning His love and goodness, why would He <em>want</em> to help anyway? Do you see how damaging these thoughts and beliefs can become in our lives?
Now obviously, I DO believe that God is truly good and for us. I do believe that God is all powerful and can do absolutely anything. Those two concepts are so key to the way you and I live our lives. And if you’ve never believed those two things I would encourage you to research that out. Obviously before you can “remember” something you have to first “know” it. And to be fair for many of us we will need to look at the Bible and God’s character and track record to see it and choose to trust it. My hope is you have lots of personal experiences to point to, but even so, adding a strong support from God’s Word of Truth will only strengthen your understanding and belief. We also may need to fight some of the “feeling-based theology” that is all too common today (that faulty theology says, “if we don’t “feel” like something is true it’s not true!”) We must choose to base our lives on what is true regardless of our circumstances or feelings. There is so much more we could say on this subject, but I need to leave it here for now to explore the main theme of this post: remembering what’s most important.
In order to remember that God is good and all powerful, we are provided with some great tools to do so. Psalm 107 repeats the phrase, “let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love”. One of things the Bible tells us often is to be thankful and one of the things that people often miss is gratitude. So the first tool we’re given to remember is the tool of “thanksgiving” or gratitude. What does that do for us? Well, by taking intentional time to remember and give thanks for the love of God we take the emotions and gratitude we felt at the moment and bring it into the present. When we can see right in front of us the goodness of God and the power of God in our lives we are less likely to doubt or stray from Him. One idea that may help us with this is building a practice in our lives of writing one thing we are thankful for and tie it to God’s love and goodness.
The other practice that will help us remember is to talk with each other about what God has done in our past and is doing in our present. Again in Psalm 107 it says, “let the redeemed of the Lord say so” and “let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.” By us bringing God into our everyday/ real time conversations we remind each other and show each other what God can do in someone else’s life and we remember what He can do in ours as well.
Take time to be thankful and to be talkative about the goodness and love of the Lord and the power He is constantly demonstrating in our lives. We are more likely to stay the course when we utilize the things that God has given us.