God’s Purpose for Our Memories

God’s Purpose for Our Memories

Preacher Huijun - 14 May 2022

Weekend Devotion: God’s Purpose for Our Memories

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We all have memories we cherish, which warm our hearts or bring a smile whenever we think of them. But some people have memories that haunt them. Memories are a part of human lives and the ability to remember is also God’s gift to us. Being able to remember is so important. In the Bible, God often instructed His people to have memories of His words and deeds, and not forget Him. Just as Moses instructed the Israelites, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” <Deut 4:9> Our Lord Jesus also told His disciples to always remember Him, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” <1 Co 11:24-25> Indeed, it is so important to remember God. When we forget the Lord, we will easily wander into wayward and corrupted paths. But when God is often in our minds and memories, we can walk closer with Him and enjoy His sweet fellowship and protection.

Now, when we talk about memories, we know there are both sweet and painful memories, so what purposes do they serve and how is God using them to bless us?

 

Good memories.

1) The best memory a believer should have is the first love with God.

There is nothing better in our lives than to be saved by Christ. Thus, one of reasons why God let us have memories is so that we can always remember His love, faithfulness and goodness. When our memories are full of these, our love for God can then continue to grow instead of turn cold. Therefore, God told the Ephesian church, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” <Rev 2:4-5> So we know that God is pleased when we remember Him. Remembering God is like preaching the gospel to ourselves over and over again, constantly reminding ourselves the reasons to give thanks, to rely on the Lord, to love Him and to serve Him. The memories that God gives us are for a purpose, mainly to help us know who God is, what He has done for us, how dearly we need Him and how closely we should be following Him.

 

2) Sometimes, when we are facing suffering, our previous good memories with the Lord will give us hope and strength.

Just as the psalmist said, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago…You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.” <Ps 77:11, 14-15> Our memories of God’s past faithful grace will help us get through the new challenges we face and find strength to continue to trust and follow Him.

 

3) But we also need to be careful not to let ourselves remain stuck in good memories and become stagnant.

<Ecc 7:10> Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. Satan is so cunning that he can even use good memories to make us despise our present reality. Or he can make us only live in past good memories and reminisce so much that we cannot see God’s perfect will for now, nor focus on what God wants us to do right now, thus missing out on present grace. But Paul said in <Php 3:13-14>, “Brothers and sisters, 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.”

Actually, our past is meant to move us forward into the future. So if we keep reminiscing about past good memories but refuse to move on, how can we progress further in the Lord? God gives us good memories not to lock us in but that we find strength to continue doing His will.

 

Cherish even memories we did not yet understand, for they can make sense later on to help us know and trust God better.

One example is when Jesus predicted His death and resurrection. People did not understand Him when they first heard it, but later on they understood and gained faith. <Jn 2:19-22> Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Indeed, it is perplexing when we cannot immediately understand God’s word and will. But we still should keep God’s word in our memories, even those words which we cannot understand yet. In that way, when some things happen later on, it is easier for us to connect with God’s earlier words, as what the disciples did.

 

There may also be some bad memories in our lives.

We all have memories which we hope we can forget, such as memories of hurts, failures, regrets, shame, crushed dreams, etc.

1) We must not let painful memories tie us down, because God can bring about healing and renewal.

We cannot allow the sorrows, failures and hurts of yesterday to steal away our joys today. We already have a Saviour who can heal all our brokenness and pains, and who can renew us. This Savior loves us, comforts us and gives us a new identity as the beloved child of God. Our past cannot determine our destiny and worth, because God can even use our past bad memories to glorify His name. Some of our past bad memories can also make us realise how much God has transformed, healed and blessed us now as compared to the past.

 

2) Some bad memories can also serve as a form of deterrence.

When we recall some of our past sins and their consequences, it will remind us not to repeat the same mistakes and regrets, but to humbly obey and rely on God. Thus, those memories offer helpful precaution.

 

So we see that whether it is good or bad memories, they all have God’s perfect will. Thus, let our good and bad memories not hinder us from moving on, but may our memories make us more thankful to God, rely more on Him, treat Him more seriously and walk with Him more closely!

Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun
huijun@lifechurchmissions.com

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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