Remember The Goodness of God
Remembering! It’s an activity that we’ve been doing a lot of around Hope this year, as we have celebrated 175 years of strong ministry. Not flawless ministry, but strong, vital ministry. Ministry that has touched the world with Jesus Christ’s love and grace. It’s good for us as a church to remember where we have been – so that we can vision for the future. In remembering we can find evidence of God’s faithfulness, His commitment to us and the covenant He has made with those who are His. Covenant to be our God and we His people. Covenant to place us under the blood of Jesus and apply Jesus’ righteousness to all those who will turn to Him. It is important that we remember where we have been and the call that we have as a church – the call to make Disciples for Jesus Christ. Remembering is important for the church. Not re-living, or going backward – but remembering so that we can move forward with confidence in our God – who was faithful to our ancestors, is currently being faithful to us and will be faithful to the future generations.
Remembering is also important for us to do as individuals. When we remember God and what He has told us, at least three significant things happen in our relationship with Him.
First we become confident of who we are in Him. 1 John 3:1-2 states:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
Remembering that we are children of God gives us great confidence in this life. As a child we have complete access to our Father. As a child we have the ability to ask for wisdom and insight in life. As a child we carry the name of our Father, His name commands respect, and that respect is bestowed to us as well. Too often we forget who we are and fail to live in the confidence of God. So remember and be confident of who you are in Him.
Second remembering our God compels us to make living holy lives important. Again from 1 John 3 we read in verse 4-6, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”
And from Psalm 119:6-9 we read, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord.”
Remembering not only all that God has done for us in sending His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for us, but also remembering as we hide His word in our hearts helps us move on toward living holy lives. Lives that are rich with the presence of God, lives that are pleasing and honorable toward God, lives that are healing and grace giving to our families and neighbors.
Third remembering helps us cultivate hearts of gratitude. Scripture is rich with reasons why we should give thanks, 1 Corinthians 15:57 states, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Christ we win – give thanks. Having a grateful heart enables us to see the world around us differently. Gratitude is a lens that changes how we see everything. Gratitude allows us to make room for what God is doing instead of imposing or trying to impose our human understanding on many situations that are ordained for God’s purpose and will. Scripture is rich with directions of when we should give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Always give thanks, always recognize God’s work in your life, Always rest in His wisdom. And scripture is rich with commands that tell us we should give thanks to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 16: 34. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Cultivate a heart that is full of gratitude for all that God has done, is doing and will do in the future.
Remembering isn’t just an exercise we do in order to beat ourselves up over our past mistakes. Remembering isn’t just a way to live in the past. Remembering is an act of worship as we remember who God is, what He has done and His consistent faithful presence in our lives today. Remembering who God is, is important so that we can live into His future for us with great confidence, knowing in the end we will rise as His chosen children!