This is February. My least favorite month of the year.
The winter is kind of over, but not quite yet. Spring hasn’t really come. You have the post-Christmas and New Year’s hangover. Football is done, but baseball hasn’t quite gotten started, and the NCAA basketball tournament is still several weeks away. Sure, there’s Valentine’s Day. And President’s Day (I guess). But all in all, February is one of those months that just seems to fit in between things.
It’s a season of funk. Of malaise. Of just kind of being there. And it happens every year. Perhaps the same thing happens to you spiritually.
Just like seasons of the year, we go through spiritual seasons in which we feel more alive. Sense God’s presence more closely. Look more forward to time in the word. Are more rejuvenated during worship with God’s people. But then there are other times when you just feel the funk. You’re kind of just… there.
Those are the days when we need a disciplined approach to the spiritual life because discipline, but it’s very nature, is to act contrary to what you feel. You read, you pray, you worship, you keep showing up at church not because you feel like it, but because you know it is the best thing to do. You do so in your discipline, trusting that eventually the Holy Spirit will take that sense of duty and turn it into delight.
Let me offer today one other discipline that can help turn the corner. That is the discipline of remembering.
God is, in fact, very concerned with this discipline. In one version of Scripture, the word “remember” appears over 200 times in Scripture. Sometimes it’s a plea from a person to God – it’s a prayer for the Almighty to remember His promises, His great love, His covenant. Other times, it’s a command straight from God to His people. For example:
- “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).
- “Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God in the wilderness. You have been rebelling against the Lord from the day you left the land of Egypt until you reached this place” (Deuteronomy 9:7).
- “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
- “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come against you” (Revelation 3:3).
We need to remember to remember. In fact, we are actually precariously close – closer than we might realize – to forgetting. Consider this text from Judges 2 about the end of the life of one of God’s great leaders, Joshua son of Nun:
The people worshiped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua. They had seen all the Lord’s great works he had done for Israel.
Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. They buried him in the territory of his inheritance, in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works he had done for Israel (Judges 2:7-10).
It’s staggering, isn’t it? During Joshua’s lifetime, the people worshiped faithfully, having their worship formed by their past. They remembered. But they were only one generation away from forgetting all God had done, and therefore the Lord Himself.
Remembering is what gives us confidence in the present. And remembering what God has done can help us move into greater spiritual vitality.
Remember today, Christian. Call to mind the faithfulness of God. Think on all the ways He has been good to you, both big and small. And more than anything else, remember Jesus. Call to mind the old, old story of a Savior who came from glory, and gave His life on calvary, to save a wretch like me.