Monday, September 10, 2012
Today’s Topic: Don’t Forget to Remember
Today’s Text: Psalm 103:1-22 (ESV)
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Saturday night was an incredible night at our church. We heard a challenging report from missionaries to Mexico while we ate pizza. Then we moved to the auditorium where we spent an hour and forty-five minutes in worship. We sang and prayed and cried out to God for personal holiness and humility before His throne. At one point Pastor Josh read from the 103rd Psalm. As he read I found myself quoting most of it with him. I wondered how the Holy Spirit had brought that to my mind so clearly.
Then this morning I remembered. Back in November of 2007 I was in the midst of a personal study of the Psalms, and had challenged everyone to spend one week letting that Psalm sink deep into our hearts. I did my thinking while I was on a tree stand most of that week during the last week of bow season. Here’s the devotional I wrote five years ago about what the Lord taught me.
As I sat in a tree early one morning, I began to remember all of the benefits of being a child of God. The words “forget not” captivated my mind. I thought about another passage of Scripture that talks about forgetting. It’s in Philippians 3:13 – 14 where Paul writes, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I began to think about the difference between forgetting some things and not forgetting others. I came to a simple solution – I am to forget everything that is of the flesh and not forget anything that is of the Spirit of God. But why? That was an easy answer for me – only the things of God are to our benefit.
Think back with me to a time that for some of us was very long ago. Go back to fourth grade for a moment, and try to remember what happened in your life at that time. Can you think of any special or meaningful events? You may come up with one or two, but overall you probably can’t remember much. What’s the reason we can remember some things and not others? Well, it’s because we assign a personal value to every event of our lives. We make a determination of its significance and importance, and within the context of that value assignment we either choose to remember it or forget it.
For example, I remember only one thing about fourth grade. We moved to a new town in April of that year, and I had to start a new school with one month left in the school year. I only remember the playground, because it was there that I gave value to an event that would cause me to remember it until now. Two of my new classmates, both girls, would chase me around that playground until they caught me, and then they would give me a kiss on the cheek. I felt accepted. I determined to always remember the benefit of that event.
Now, the big point of application. Every event of our lives has been recorded in the incredible memory bank of our brains. We may not be able to recall it, but it’s there none the less. Apart from a mental disorder, the reason we cannot recall it is because of the value we placed upon it when it happened. So when Paul says that he will forget everything that was behind him from his past, he is saying that he will assign it a new value – a value of “0”. Look at his words: “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” (Philippians 3:7 – 8)
So what I must decide for myself, and you for yourself, is this: what value have I assigned to the things of this world, and what value do I assign to the things of God? Those things of minimal value will be forgotten. The things we treasure will be remembered. I can’t remember the names of the girls on the playground. I can vaguely remember the playground. I know the story more than I remember the event. But since fourth grade I have discovered the incredible value of being accepted by Jesus Christ. I will never forget His benefits. All that the world offers is nothing compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.
So when Satan comes and tempts with something he says has value, I still get to determine its real value for me. I choose to assign those things a value of “0”. I choose to assign the things of God a value of “10” on a scale of “10”. Now I can forget what is behind, and forget not His benefits, and press on toward the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. You can do that, too.