Reflections – 2016.03

Remember This …

“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.  If they kept my Word, they will also keep yours.” [Jesus to the apostles, John 15:20]

“Remember that at one time you Gentiles … were separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” [Paul to the church in Ephesus, Ephesians 2:11-12]

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, offspring of David, as preached in my gospel.” [Paul to the young pastor Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:8]

“Remember, then, what you received and heard.  Keep it, and repent.” [Jesus to the church in Sardis, Revelation 3:3]

The Scriptures contain so many calls such as these.  “Remember this ….”  To remember something requires us to exercise the mind, to bring to the front that which is tucked away.  Remembering implies that what is to be remembered is not naturally before us.  It must be, well, remembered.  As we consider the passages above, we see how so much that is important is not right on the front of our minds.  Jesus’ teaching about servants and masters, the Gospel itself (what we have received and heard), our own state before coming to Christ (i.e., separated from Him and without hope) and even thoughts of Jesus Himself must be brought forward by the process of remembering.

I suppose the implication here is that we are far more naturally inclined to forget.  To forget what we were before Christ, to forget that persecution and suffering are to be expected, to forget the Gospel, to forget Jesus Himself.  Our own natural inclination to forget is combined with an enemy who wants us to forget – “Did God really say …?” – and a world that would want to distract us in such a way that we would forget that which is important and pursue instead the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

With such internal weakness and external opposition it seems wise that we would ask the Lord to help us to remember, to remember that which is so important.  This is a good work He calls us to each day.

This biblical call to remember was picked up by the 17th century pastor, Thomas Brooks, who in encouraging the Christians in his day to keep pressing forward in the Christian life, said: “Remember this, that your life is short, your duties many, your assistance great, and your reward sure; therefore faint not, hold on and hold up, in ways of well-doing, and heaven shall make amends for it all.” Let us keep going on in our remembering … and may the Lord bless the fruits of that exercise.