Don’t Forget

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.

-PROVERBS 4:5-6 (NIV)
 

I TEND TO BE A LITTLE FORGETFUL AT TIMES. Whether that is because I truly forget a thing, or that I have not paid careful attention is open for debate.  There are those who are certain it is the latter.  No doubt that is true far more often than I would care to admit. 

Most of us forget things:

we may forget to pick up a loaf of bread from the store on the way home, or forget to return a phone call; we may forget to turn off the lights, or to lock the door; we might even forget an important birthday or anniversary.  If you are anything like me, you will at times walk into a room and forget why you went there.

 

Forgetfulness may be intentional or inadvertent.  We may be too busy (this is why we have time-management planners, and why we make “to do” lists).  We may be careless.  We may also be selectively forgetful.    We tend to forget things on the periphery of our consciousness; those things that are not as urgent, interesting, or important in our minds as others.  Sometimes we find ourselves interrupted; that interruption chases the awareness of what we were doing or thinking out of our minds, at least for the moment.

 

People, as a whole, are a forgetful:  sin has made us so. We are easily distracted and led astray from those things that keep us anchored to our Creator.  Life happens and before you know it, we find ourselves adrift from our safe haven.  We chase our lusts and our fancies and discover God seems distant.  Maybe that drifting was inadvertent.  Maybe it was outright rebellion.  Regardless of what separates us, we are separated nonetheless.  Whatever it is that prompts our wandering, that wandering places us in a dangerous place.  The hymn writer expresses our plight well with these haunting words:

                        Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
                        Prone to leave the God I love.

 

God knows our sinful tendencies and has made provision for both our sin and our forgetfulness.  God addressed our sin in the sacrifice of Christ.  Jesus, through his sinless life, which He freely laid down for us on the cross of Calvary, has provided the remedy for our sin; He has restored our access to the Father.  God has also given us the antidote for our forgetfulness—His Word and His Spirit. 

17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him,
    and His righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep His covenant
    and remember to obey His precepts.
-Psalm 103:17-18 (NIV)

And again,

 9How can a young man keep his path pure?
    By living according to Your word.
10 I seek You with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from Your commands.
I have hidden Your word in my heart
that I might not sin against You.
-Psalm 119:9-10 (NIV)

 

The only way to effectively defeat Satan is through the power of the Word made active by the Holy Spirit of God living in our lives.  This is the example of Christ in His wilderness temptations; He defeated the enemy by recalling and quoting the Word He had embedded within His heart.  We cannot recall what we have not learned.  We cannot wield effectively a weapon we have not studied and sought to master.  The power is not in the familiarity of the “words” to our minds, but the passionate embracing of the Word in our hearts and our reverent love of the One who is the Word that pours out in joyful obedience.
 
 
22 Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
 23 Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. 
–James 1:22-25 (NIV)