There are some things you learn and never forget. Like riding a bike, of course, but other things too. We do not forget simple arithmetic like two plus two, and there are certain facts for which we do not need be reminded, like who served as the first or sixteenth American president. These things we know, and somehow, barring dementia, we will always know them. But spiritual truths are very different. We have an amazing propensity to forget what we once knew. We need constant reminders.
Hebrews 2:1 says “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” There is an old hymn, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, which has a heartbreaking line about being a drifter, it laments being “prone to wander…prone to leave the God I love.” I think we wander because we forget. We forget what is really important (trusting and obeying God), and get caught up in all sorts of meaninglessness.
We forget how God loves us; we forget how He has provided for us; we forget how even in the ugliest moment of our whole lives, that moment we’d give anything to have back, that God loved us in that moment just the same. We are ingrates. We forget. And we forget what God expects of us (Christ plus nothing) and we forget what kind of lives we are supposed to lead (Christ-like). Let’s face it, we all have chronic and severe spiritual amnesia.
But identifying the problem is the first step towards a solution, right? So what would someone who truly suffers from amnesia do? What kinds of systems would they have in place to help them remember? I’m not an expert in this area (or any other), but the following would undoubtedly help an amnesiac.
1. Following a routine.
2. Constantly being reminded of the things most vital to their well-being.
3. Using sticky notes and other written reminders for daily life.
And these apply perfectly to spiritual amnesia as well. So, is reading your Bible and spending time in prayer part of a daily routine? Are you constantly reminded by others of the spiritual truths most vital to your well-being? This means we need godly friends and solid biblical teaching. Finally, are you using sticky notes and other written reminders? This might be journaling or might be verses of scripture on post-its and 3x5s.
If we acknowledge our propensity to forget, we should be willing to take these measures to “pay more careful attention.” And I, for one, need to do better.