Understand and Remember
Unless we are continually reminded of the truth, we are destined to forget it, and if truth is forgotten, misconceptions and illusions achieve an easy foothold. To avoid this fatal intrusion, we would do well to exert the necessary effort to remember the truth, and what better way is there than to read it or hear it read from the Holy Page? The mind is like a sponge and it is going to absorb whatever it is exposed to. If we fail to feed it words of truth, it will just naturally absorb the things of the world. Without a routine diet of the words of GOD, eventually the truth is crowded out, and our decisions will of needs be based on the world's established pattern of lies.
No one is exempt from this reality. Yeshua (Jesus) connected His own disciples inability to understand GOD's ways with their failure to remember GOD's works. Matthew records the Lord's frustration with them.
MATTHEW 16:9-11 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
Having just previously performed two gigantic miracles by feeding thousands of people with a few fragments of food, Yeshua was irritated at His disciples preoccupation with worldly needs. He had been trying to teach them to beware of the false teaching of the religious leaders but they failed to understand, being absorbed with getting their daily bread. "Do ye not yet understand, neither remember...?"
Memory is a key function in accomplishing our transformation. It is a mechanism designed by GOD to effect within us this metamorphoo. As we reflect upon some of the various times GOD has worked in our lives, thought patterns are established to accomplish within us a sunesis, an understanding of HIS ways.
If not even a sparrow falls to the ground without GOD (MATTHEW 10:29), and if each hair of His disciple's heads were numbered (MATTHEW 10:30), then we can be assured that the Creator is easily able to place in our paths the necessary experiences to effect within us our transformation. Each experience is mixed together as a separate ingredient in life's stew by means of memory. By way of memory GOD can also cause us to recall various thoughts so as to help us more fully understand some particular fragment of HIS revelation.
To remember is also paramount in our ability to remain faithful. Towards the close of His earthly ministry, Yeshua instructed His disciples to "Remember the word that I said unto you" (JOHN 15:20). "Remember the word!" To remember the word, they must first have had the word. We today must first read or hear the word to have the word. This is why it is so important to place in our minds the words of GOD, that "when the time shall come" we might remember.
JOHN 16:4 But these things have I [Yeshua] told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them...
Yeshua often charged His listeners to remember that which He had taught them. Understanding His words are the building blocks of our transformation, and our memory is the mortar that binds those blocks together. As we hear and begin to grasp one truth, we are being prepared for our next learning. Being fed with milk we are being made ready to receive meat. The more oftener we frequent GOD's way, the more godly memories we will have in our treasure house. But, the oftener we chase after the things of the world, the more often carnal thoughts will tend to rule our minds.
Along with Yeshua, Paul also called his followers to remember.
ACTS 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
If we haven't recently heard the truth, what is it we will most likely remember? What we expose our brain to is what we will have a tendency to reflect upon. Remember, where our treasure is, there will our heart be also (MATTHEW 6:21). We must receive the word, then hold it fast till fruit is produced. The fruit is the desired end. We are taught truth and then reminded of that truth, that our thoughts might incrementally be translated into good works.
ACTS 20:35 I [Paul] have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Again, "Remember the words". It is so easy to forget when we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of life's daily routines. That's why we must make GOD's word our new routine. It must become a regular part of our lives. "The words of the Lord Jesus" which Paul referred to are vital because He spoke GOD's words. Likewise, His apostles spoke and wrote the words He had taught them, thus they also spoke GOD's words (1 THESSALONIANS 2:13).
2 THESSALONIANS 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I [Paul] was yet with you, I told you these things?
"These things" which Paul referred to were the truths he taught them concerning the "gathering together" of some, and the "falling away" of others. His concern was that they "be not soon shaken in mind" and therefore, remembering the truth was necessary so that they could be sound in the faith. Of course, first we must understand the truth, but then we must remember it, we must meditate upon it.
2 TIMOTHY 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
Paul's gospel contains many of the words our minds require to cause within us our transformation. But not from a single reading or an occasional hearing. We must consistently watch, hear and remember to be able to understand (see 2 PETER 1:12 and 3:1).
MARK 8:18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?
One of the keys to obtaining our transformation is to consistently re-inject truth into our minds. Looking and listening for GOD's workings, we then can learn and grow from our experiences instead of just becoming depressed and despondent over them. If we are pursuing the way of GOD, then we can be assured that each step can be directed by HIM for our continued growth. As such, each experience is designed for our transformation.
We are who we are because of all the experiences we have endured. Our past experiences are as much a part of who we are as the present experiences are. Understanding this we are free to live the moment, because each moment is a still frame in the motion picture of our life. Each experience leaves its brush stroke upon the canvas of our minds.
It is also important for us to remember how fraught with despair our life was in times past. As Paul wrote the faithful in Ephesus, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh..." (EPHESIANS 2:11). Remembering the days before our conversion is a vital part of our transformation. For better or worse, we are the culmination of all those memories.
"In times past" we were tossed to and fro by each passing trend. Being entombed in the grave we were without hope. Our future frightened us, our past haunted us and our present left us in despair. But now we have a new perspective. Being risen with Christ, now we are being "throughly furnished" for our new journey (2 TIMOTHY 3:17).
Our experiences can give us a fountain of memories from which we can draw the necessary thoughts to quench our thirst. Memory provides us with the ability to consider and ponder some of the many times GOD has had HIS word sown in our hearts. Connecting the dots, putting the pieces of the puzzle together in our minds, the various "acts of GOD" in our lives, causes within us an enlightenment, an illumination (HEBREWS 10:32), even our transformation.