The Problem of Memory

It is now January 9th.

The high pitched ringing of fireworks in my ears has finally subsided. My tasks at work, daily routines, and responsibilities have resumed like before and have already begun to amass with more ease than I quite hoped for. The fridge is no longer overly stocked and the door is no longer abnormally weighed down on its two hinges so that the thud of it shutting isn’t as severe as it was just a week ago…

In short, the New Year is fully entrenched and here to stay. There’s no going back to 2011.

And yet there is an inward pull backwards like an imperceptible undertow. An internal inertia that is powerful and has the ability to annul any momentum I’ve managed to build up toward the beginning of this new year- memory.

Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before…

–Philippians 3:13

Maybe rather than make New Year’s resolutions we should simply forget and stretch forward.


Sometimes we are so focused on remembering things as Christians (verses, commandments, methods) that we don’t remember the importance of forgetting.

Memory can stunt our growth. What do you do when after the first week of January all your resolutions are already broken? Do you have to wait 12 months? Just write off the rest of the year as a wash?

With us there should always be something new and fresh. We should be renewed day by day, not merely year by year (2 Cor. 4:16). This touches on a deeper principle of death and resurrection.

Memory can become an insurmountable blockade to spiritual progress:

  1. Memories of past failures can eclipse the light of hope in future progress.
  2. Memories of old experiences together can prevent us from serving together in newness of life.
  3. Even memories of successes can dull our perception of our present need for Christ.

In this last sense, maybe a failure is better than a victory? This doesn’t excuse our failures, but we may be so victory-conscious that we would rather have victory than Christ.

Sometimes we must make our beds in Sheol to discover a new aspect of Christ or to convert the mere letter of doctrine into a real experience of Christ (Psa. 139:8).

The blood of Christ is so powerful and efficacious that it trumps the memory of the Almighty God:

(The piercing lucidity of the New Testament apostles pairs nicely with the poetic expressions of the Old Testament prophets.)

Hebrews 8:12 – “For I will be propitious to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins I shall by no means remember anymore.”

Isaiah 38:17 – “Indeed for peace I had bitterness, yes, bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of destruction, because You have cast behind Your back all my sins.

Micah 7:9 – “He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. And You will cast into the depths of the sea all their sins.”

True newness comes from allowing Christ to bring to an end all our old experiences so that they can emerge in resurrection.

9 thoughts on “The Problem of Memory

  1. Amen! Thank you Lord for your ever so fresh cleansing blood, which allows us to go on in You & have a new beginning!

    Let us continue to leave the old behind pressing forward towards our ever so fresh & new Christ. May this year be a year in Him in resurrection!


  2. Praise the Lord for His powerful and efficacious blood that trumps the memory of the Almighty God. Do you think we’ll have memory in eternity? We won’t remember anything from this age, but will we have the ability to remeber? There is no time in eternity, but will a fragment of time still be able to exist as an incorporeal thought in our fully matured and renewed minds?


    • Very deep thoughts Joseph. I’ve never read up on that but something tells me we will remember our experiences. The fact that the Lamb is on the throne in Revelation seems to hint that we will be eternally conscious of the fact that He is our Redeemer and have an eternal remembrance of His love, grace, and mercy in dying for us in our sinful condition. So I think our memory will provide a sweetness and preciousness that will only lend to our praise and worship of Christ.


  3. Pingback: Remembering in the Christian Life | life and building

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