Have you ever heard of the condition “déjà vu amnesia”? Shai Linn, a speaker at the recent T4G conference, coined the phrase. It’s an especially common malady that affects Christians. We find ourselves saying time and again, “I know I’ve forgotten that before!” When it comes to God’s word and the truths of the Gospel we find we must often confess, “Oh yeah, I’ve been here before. I guess I forgot.” We’ve done that lesson, studied that passage, heard that sermon and even personally experienced the truth of God’s word on a particular subject and yet it seems we have to cover the same territory over and over again. We forget, even when we’ve known it before.
Part of the reason that the Lord calls us His sheep is that we are so easily distracted, preoccupied and prone to wander away. We forget the lessons we’ve learned and the truths we’ve been told; thus we have to learn them and hear them again. Have you ever noticed how often the Scripture calls us to remember? If you do a survey of the Old Testament, you’ll see in virtually every book a call for the people to remember the Lord and to remember the mighty work He did in bringing them out of Egypt and into the promised land. Of course the New Testament is replete with calls to remember Jesus Christ and the Good News of all that He has done. In 2 Tim. 2:8 Paul even goes so far as to tell Timothy to “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead….” Timothy was a preacher of the Gospel, a herald of the Good News and yet Paul tells him to remember Jesus Christ!
We’re prone to forget. That’s why we must open our Bibles daily and actually aim to engage with the Lord through His word. We’re prone to forget. Which is why we need to regularly gather with other believers to study God’s word and worship Him together. We’re prone to forget. So we need to be intentional to set aside time to seek the Lord in prayer. We’re prone to forget. So it’s good to reflect on our salvation experience and remember our lives before Jesus saved us. We’re prone to forget. Which is why we need to daily rehearse the Gospel story and be reminded that the Son of God gave up Heaven for us, lived the life that we failed to live, died as our substitute, bearing the wrath of God that we deserved. We must remind ourselves that He is raised from the dead, securing our eternal life and imparting to us His Holy Spirit. We should also remember that He is seated at the Father’s right hand, interceding for us even now and that the day will come when He returns to gather us home and make everything right. I know you know all that. If you read these articles then you’ve read it all before and you may have skimmed over that last section thinking “there he goes again, spelling it all out like we’re little kids.” Nope. We’re sheep. We’re prone to forget.
You see, if we don’t intentionally remind ourselves of these things, we’ll find ourselves in the middle of our day being fretful, angry, envious, lustful, jealous, greedy, complacent or any number of other things we know we shouldn’t be. That’s when we’re tempted to kick ourselves and light the candle for our personal pity party, wondering why we never seem to get it right. Then we’ll get a note or read a post or hear a word from a friend that will remind us of the Lord’s faithfulness and His goodness to His children and we’ll find ourselves saying “I know I’ve forgotten that before.” To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu amnesia all over again.”
“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider (remember) what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24