Moms often joke about the frustrations of “mom brain.” You forget where you put your coffee mug or why you walked into a room. “Mom brain” is contagious and can be caught by dads, too. I succumbed to it a few months ago as we were wading the waters of newborn life. I couldn’t remember my debit card pin for three months. While this experience was frustrating, the impact on my life was relatively low (although I’m sure we saved some money).
However, there’s a kind of forgetfulness that’s much more destructive and devastating. In Deuteronomy 8, Moses warns the Israelites about the dangers of forgetting the Lord. “And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish” (Deut. 8:19).
Church planters practice many spiritual disciplines to enjoy God and walk in his ways. But what about remembrance? Do you view the act of remembering as a spiritual discipline? If not, consider these three observations that show how foundationally important the discipline of remembrance is.
Failings of Forgetfulness
The Lord warned his people about the dangers of forgetting. He knew when they took possession of a rich and beautiful land, they would be tempted to forget it was God who offered provision. “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth” (Deut. 8:17).
Have you looked around at the good things in your life and believed they are the result of your labors and efforts? Church planter, have you forgotten that the Lord has grown your church or ministry? Has your heart become puffed up within you? Because we’re prone to forget, we must train our hearts to remember. Click To Tweet
Needless to say, Israel didn’t remember (Judg. 3:7). If you’re like me, you may find it easy to throw shade at them for failing to remember God’s mighty hand of deliverance. They witnessed the plagues in Egypt, walked on dry land as God parted the Red Sea, ate bread from heaven, and drank water from a rock in the wilderness. How could they forget God’s faithfulness?
Paul exhorts us to learn from their example. “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction . . .. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:11–12). How do we take heed? We remember.
Forget Not His Benefits
Because we’re prone to forget, we must train our hearts to remember. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Ps. 103:2–5).
How often do the ruminations of your mind produce worry, stress, anxiety, or despair? We can focus on all we think we need to do and fail to remember all God has done. This is especially true in church planting, for there are often endless things to accomplish. How often do your heart and mind migrate away from the Lord and toward your ministry to-do list?
Your heart needs to remember that God has removed your transgressions “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). That you’ve been redeemed from the pit (Ps. 103:4), and God’s steadfast love is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him (Ps. 103:17). His love for you cannot be exhausted. His mercy for you is new each morning, and his grace for you is always enough. Forget not all his benefits.
Do This in Remembrance of Me
All of God’s benefits come to us through Jesus Christ, and all of God’s promises find their yes in him (2 Cor. 1:20). Remembering is so important that God has woven it into the very fabric of his church. The Lord’s Supper is a regular reminder of God’s grace. As we participate in this, we call to mind the life-giving work of Jesus. We can focus on all we think we need to do and fail to remember all that God has done. Click To Tweet
“Do this in remembrance of me” is a template for how we should live every day. To do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:17) is to remember God is worthy of the deepest affections and motivations of our hearts. To be a Christian is to practice the discipline of remembrance.
In obedience, we remember there’s greater joy in God than in sin. When we exercise trust, we remember God delivers on all that he promises. When we walk in love, we remember that giving is better than receiving. In your joy, remember every good gift comes from above. In your trials, remember that he who called you is faithful. Church planter, remind your heart to remember.