Day 62: Remembering Truth
REMEMBERING TRUTH IN THE MIDST OF A BATTLE
Remembering truth (and all that we have learned) is a HUGE part of battling sexual sin. Consider this testimony:
I would do everything in my power, during times of clarity, to ensure that when temptation came I would be able to stand against it without giving in. I would memorize scripture, change passwords, remove sources of temptation, and would confess my sins. But when temptation came, I was seemingly unable to recall anything that I had previously thought to be so important. Like a brute beast, all reason faded into the background and became all too easy to ignore.
I "knew" the truth, but it had yet to be burned onto my heart in such a way that I couldn't ignore. In moments of temptation I lost my name, my identity, and my sources of strength all because I didn't take the time or effort to remember all that I held dear.
It should come as no surprise that our memory and our ability to remember play a critical role in our struggle against sexual sin. This course will help you learn important means of battling in this struggle, but it is meaningless if you do not take it to heart and apply it.
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." - James 1:22-24
What role for us, then, does memory play? Humans are generally poor at remembering much of what they have learned. How we encode and recall memories effects our ability to remember important information. We are more likely to remember information that was meaningful and/or emotional as opposed to mundane information. These factors play crucial roles in making lasting changes.
Memory doesn't just dwell in the mind but also in the heart. During temptation, our minds are often tricked, but a changed heart cannot help but feel conviction. Isaiah 53:5 ought to radically change our hearts. Upon reading it, a desire should swell up in us to be free from all of sin. The Holy God, creator of all existence, came down and gave His own life on a cross so that we’d have peace.
For a long time, scripture just didn’t seem to pop off the page at me. I read verses like this and quickly forgot them. When you’ve struggled with sin for a long time and have tried to find freedom in many different ways, you eventually figure out that the only way to freedom from temptation is holding fast to His word. This doesn't just mean processing and memorizing scripture, it means applying it daily until it's written on our hearts. The word of God is the sword that we use to cut through temptation:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12
It’s important for us to be in the word and to long for it. Once I changed my lifestyle, and dedicated time at the beginning and end of each day, I found myself craving His words to get me through the day. Honestly, I don’t know how I lived a large portion of my life without these still, quiet moments with God.
By being in the word we are memorizing it, dwelling on it, and applying it. We are continually equipping ourselves to wage war against the powers of darkness through the reminder of Christ and his sacrifice. His selfless act gave us limitless freedom, and through that knowledge we find a desire to never sin again.
My desire to sin only grew as I avoided God’s word. My sword was dull, and I was walking around blind, stumbling frequently into pits that I was blind to. No wonder it lasted as long as it did. No wonder I forgot the cross of Christ often. When the reality of what Christ bore on our behalf constantly burns in the back of our minds, sin begins to taste bitter. The desires of this world slowly fade away in light of His glory and grace.
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” -Luke 22:19
Why did Jesus ask that we remember him? Simply because we are prone to forget. Have you forgotten God? Have you neglected to change your lifestyle, habits, and heart throughout this course? Friend, if we neglect the word of God in our lives, if we refuse the truths that have been laid out here, the struggle will only get worse and will only continue. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or get married, the struggle will manifest itself throughout.
Learn this hard lesson now before it’s too late. Learn it before you waste more years of your life struggling with sin and the guilt that ensues. Seek the Lord above all things, pray without ceasing and study His word diligently.
Although recent research is unsure of just how well people are at remembering, it is generally accepted that our memories aren't that great. Our minds attempt to work in the most efficient way possible, remembering what it deems "important" and fudging the rest of the details. For example, I know who the first President of the United States is: George Washington. I don't know, however, when or where I learned this information, and what else may have been happening that day. I can't even remember what I ate for dinner two nights ago!
This type of information I've learned is a far comparison from emotional memories, however. When we experience fear, sorrow, or joy, for example, we are much more likely to remember far more contextual details (this goes back to the heart and how it retains memories similar to the brain). And guess what? When you are feeling joyful, you are more likely to recall other memories where you were feeling the same way. This can have a kind of "snowball" effect, where our minds can switch gears to recall certain information. You better bet this has implications for what we remember and what we don't during moments of arousal.
The bottom line in memory is that you will remember information that you find to be meaningful. For instance, I can remember a long stream of arbitrary numbers: 19874574500 if I think of it as a telephone number: 1-987-457-4500. If change is important to you, if you are truly applying what you're reading here, you will certainly be more likely to experience a difference. However, if you are simply reading these lessons, going through them quickly without much thought, you will probably forget much of it.
Day 62 Application
Have you ever noticed the word of God change or affect your heart? What will be your approach to replicate that in your life?
Why did Christ ask his disciples to remember Him? What can you do to remember Christ and the word in meaningful ways?
How does your relationship with God influence your relationship with other people? Does your relationship with people affect your relationship with God?
What temptations are difficult for you to escape from? How have you learned to handle those times? Have you discussed those difficulties with an accountability partner?