Do you have a moment in life that you’ll never forget? How about something you were saved from? A car accident, a house fire, or a big mistake someone’s advice spared you from? How about the moment you went from once going to hell to now being redeemed and destined for Heaven? That would seem like a momentous occasion, a decision that determines the rest of your eternity.
Deuteronomy 8:2 says... “ And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you ALL the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commands or not.” It says He was there through everything, especially the part at which He rescues you from your life of sin. Seems like something we’d easily remember.
I recently heard a message that really challenged my point of view in relation to forgetting my past and moving forward in contrast to remembering what the Lord my God has done for me. They don’t seem in opposition to each other, but I was having a hard time with what to remember and what to forget. In my last year of healing, it’s been a revolutionary thought that changed my path. Through the Holy Spirit’s prodding, I had come to a place of fully confessing my sins both to God and those whom I had sinned against. It ushered in a season of Godly sorrow that I had never experienced. To say that it completely wrecked me is an understatement.
I spent years in bondage to sin. God did a tremendous thing and freed me from so many areas and has graced me with a blessed life I don’t deserve. I have every reason the world can give to remain in self-loathing and wallow in my wretchedness. However, I came to a point at which I had to choose to believe God could do what He says He can do. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 God says He will make me a new creation, in Isaiah 61:10 it says He clothes me in His robe of righteousness and John 8:36 declares me free and clean! It was such a fantastical idea, something unreal and unbelievable in my estimation. I knew my part and what I had done, and in my mind I deserved to remain in self-degradation.
Philippians 3:13 references “…forgetting those things which are behind and pressing on to the things which are ahead”, meaning that I leave my life of sin behind and become more like Christ. I struggled with my thought life and my terrible feelings. This verse seemed impossible. However, when I heard that message on not forgetting what God has done it really put things into perspective.
I am not supposed to forget. If I forget what He’s done for me, I will be right back where I was. If I don’t remember what I needed saving from in the first place, what’s the point of needing a Savior? I am not called to a life of living in sorrow and self-abasement, I am called to victorious living in the freedom that Christ gave me. I have to know and remember what that freedom is for! Galatians 5:1 is on my wall in my house, over my mantel. It is how I remember every day. It says: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
You don’t have to look far in scripture to see over and over again how different heroes in the faith experienced incredible acts of God, heard His audible voice, saw the Red Sea parted, slain giants, saw dead people raised and desperate illnesses healed and yet easily forgot what they had seen and experienced. They either went back to the very bondage that God delivered them from or set off with alarming speed towards the next area of bondage. They were just like us, seeing awe-inspiring acts of God and yet the very next day forgetting to live how they were called because of what God did for them.
So how do you remember without wallowing in regrets? Through gratitude. It is a deliberate action to remain in freedom and not forget. I have to remember the desperate life I was saved from with a visual of the Cross around it. I have to deliberately choose to see those past sins and regrets nailed to the Cross. It is the very reason I need a Savior.