Memo 1108: Short-Term Memory Loss
You're a powerful person in the Lord because you carry the power of God through the presence of His Spirit. What's more, you have proved this again and again, but you may not realize it. Some "experts" say that we pass through our successes and victories much too quickly and thus are unable to extract all the lessons from those outcomes. For believers, these victories are called our testimonies of how God moved and worked in our lives to bring about His purpose.
David didn't fall into this trap, but instead recounted his past in the Lord as a means of worship:
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me (Psalm 18:16-19).
When you read Psalm 18 in its entirety, you'll see that it's devoted to David recounting his God history. Why is it important for you to do the same? I'm glad you asked, but for the answer, you'll have to read on.
EASY TO FORGET
Someone with something called short-term memory loss finds it difficult to remember what recently occurred. The Jews had this spiritual problem when they left Egypt. They saw God part the Red Sea but shortly thereafter, we read the following:
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death" (Exodus 16:2-3).
This wasn't the last time the people panicked when things didn't go according to their liking even though God had proved Himself to them. Eventually, it cost them their chance to enter the Promised Land when they rejected the positive faith report of Joshua and Caleb and instead endorsed the negative report of the other ten spies. At that point, God had had enough and blocked their entry into the land flowing with milk and honey. The people were never willing or able to base today's journey on yesterday's lessons. They had a "what have you done for us lately, God?" attitude and forgot about the past in light of their present dilemmas.
This series' goal is to help you identify what I'm calling PowerPoints for Living, steps that can help you live the abundant life Jesus promised you'll live: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10, NASB). If you're going to live the abundant life, however, you're going to have to remind yourself of your victories and testimonies along the way to stimulate and nourish your faith for bigger and better things. Here's how you can do so.
I have an index card that I carry along with my goals that has two lists on it. One includes ten of my victories and successes that bring a smile to my face whenever I read them. They include writing my books, earning my D.Min. degree when I was 61 years old, and writing my 12-volume New Testament commentary. Then right next to my successes, I have a list of failures or at least difficult things I walked through with God's help. Those include leaving a church I had been connected with for 27 years, some financial failures, and a few of my more difficult conferences I planned.
I include that second list because when I read it, I'm reminded that God brought me through those things and can bring me through similar things I'm experiencing today. In a sense, those two lists are my Psalm 18. They're my attempt, like David did, to keep God's presence fresh in my mind so I don't doubt His faithfulness. And now it's your turn. I'm including a picture of my card, but I don't expect it to make sense to you—only me. I only show it so you can see that it's not fancy, but it's functional.
On a sheet of paper or card (or on your phone), first list ten of your most satisfying successes and victories. It could be that you finished high school algebra with a passing grade. They don't have to be earth-shaking events—but they were significant events for you. Then list another ten things that when you went through them, you thought you were going to die—but you didn't—or never recover—but you did. Then read those lists every day this week along with Psalm 18, praising the Lord and thanking God as you read. You may want to compose your own worship psalm that emerges from your daily list review.
Therefore, your PowerPoint for Living this week is as follows:
You must work to preserve the memories of God's faithfulness to you through good or challenging times. If you keep a record of both like David did, you will find it easier to build and maintain your confidence that God is with you.
Do you suffer from short-term memory loss where the Lord is concerned? if so, follow through on my prescribed exercise today. If you don't suffer from such loss, I still recommend you produce your lists, for they'll only make you stronger and more committed to God and His purpose in your life based on His faithfulness, past and present. Have a blessed week!