This has been one of the longest studies that I’ve done for this blog. I didn’t plan it that way, I just kept finding “one more” scripture to review, another after another, until it had gone on for nearly three weeks!
I often find with these studies that I begin by exploring the periphery, doing a search on key phrases, laying out verses side-by-side, and just seeing what sort of themes are consistent across them. Then, as I muddle about I start to see the actual principles and systems at play. I move inward from the periphery and start to see the heart of the matter.
This study on remembrance followed that pattern exactly. At first it was just random verses about how it is good to remember the Lord and the work that He does. Then it moved inwards, to considering our fundamental state as mortal beings, and why an active practice of remembering is essential to perfect our natures. Let us consider the core lessons we’ve discovered along the way.
Fundamental to understanding why God so often encourages us to remember Him, is to recognize that we are a forgetful people. This is not a cultural issue, it is a direct consequence of being temporal beings. Our nature is that we cannot conceive of anything directly, except for what is in the immediate present. I can see you and know that you exist, but as soon as you walk around the corner I am dependent upon belief and memory to remain convinced of your existence. After time I might forget you entirely, and any mention of your name brings up only a void in me.
Many times I have a spiritual experience, and in that moment I know the reality of God. I cannot question His existence, for it is manifesting to me directly. But then, the next day, I look out the window and I see cars, and lamp-posts, and door-mats…but not God anywhere. And though I knew He was totally real just the day prior, I find myself wondering how I can still believe in Him right now, when I cannot feel His reality any longer.
Which brings us to another key point. Remembering things intellectually is not what really matters. Knowing in my mind that I felt God speak to me just doesn’t cut it. I need to be able to remember things in my heart, I need to not just know that He loved me yesterday, I need to feel that He loved me yesterday, and that He still does today. If I cannot remember mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, then I am left to doubt.
Isaiah 53:6- All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.
Psalm 106:21- They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
We Can Remember
But though it can be difficult for us to remember things down in our souls, it is not impossible. We can only experience the present, but in the present, we can once again feel what we felt before.
How to accomplish that used to befuddle me. I would say to myself “yes, I remember that I felt really good that time I prayed when I was seven…so what now?” No matter of replaying the experience in my mind was enough to make it come alive in my heart. I wanted to remember it in my soul, but I didn’t know the right way to make it happen.
And what I did not understand was that we don’t make the remembering happen. Our ability to feel afresh the miracles of before is, itself, a miracle. We do not have the spiritual witness in the first place except by the grace of God, and we do not have the heartfelt remembrance of it except by His grace again. My spiritual remembering took a far better turn once I stopped trying to make myself feel things, and instead asked Him to put the feelings in my heart for me.
John 14:26- But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 14:14- If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
What We Must Remember
This is not to say that our actions are useless, though. Indeed, asking God to grant us His Spirit is an action. And what is more, I find that I very much invite the remembrance of God’s love into my life, when I do whatever my conscience is pricking me to do today. It is still God’s miracle that my obedient actions will be met with a spiritual witness, but I did do my part to make space for that miracle.
And when I do what is right, though it is hard to do, I feel that I not only gain a remembrance of God’s reality, of God’s love, and of God’s spirit…I also gain a remembrance of myself. My authentic, son-of-God-self feels the glory of his Father constantly. But sometimes I am not in that authentic self, and so I do not feel it. But when I return to that identity, when I put it on me anew, I remember both Father and self at once.
These are the things that we must remember, these are the things that we must ever keep fresh within us. The longer we go between remembering our Holy Father and our own self, the more likely we are to stumble and be lost. I want to return to that place continually, until at last I never stray from it again.
Hebrews 10:16- This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
John 17:26- And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.