Remember the Earlier Days

By Pastor Teck Uy

We are a people with short memories of the good things that have happened in our lives. However, we have incredibly good memories of the bad things. Even after many years, we remember how people mistreated or abused us. The events that happened years ago become so fresh in our minds and we get bitter. In fact, many harbour such bitterness that it affects their daily lives. We continue to dwell in the past, to the detriment of their present. We need to learn from the apostle Paul, who said, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). Bad memories should be discarded quickly, so as not to disrupt our enjoyment of life. There is a better future waiting for us—and for us to bogged down because of these bad memories that should have been long forgotten is absurd.

Sadly, many of the bad memories that continue to oppress believers were not the result of major conflicts. Rather, these were born out of trivial issues that were not arrested quickly. They were not able to overcome the simple tests and they failed. God expects believers to do better. We all have to be tested and we need to outperform our enemies. When the prophet Jeremiah was complaining about God’s justice, God responded bluntly, saying, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (Jer. 12:5). What the Lord is telling us today is that if we cannot handle trivial issues, how can we handle bigger ones when they come? There will be bigger issues and whether we will overcome them will depend on how we respond to the smaller issues now.

The better way to live our lives is to remember the old good days. In particular, the apostle Paul said, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions” (Heb. 10:32-34). This is a call for us to remember how good the Lord is. We were once living in the dark and destined for destruction, but he saved us, delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col. 1:13). Remembering this gives us much encouragement to move on and not to be distracted in our walk with the Lord. Indeed, life was a lot better when we first came to know the Lord. He was so real to us and we trusted him so much that we were willing to sacrifice everything. As far as sharing the faith was concerned, we were as bold as a lion. No one could stop us from sharing, even if we were ridiculed or mocked. We were on “fire” and ready to die for Jesus.

Sadly this time, many are not living victoriously as Christians, because they quickly forget the good things they have experienced in life. They forget the Lord, who did great and marvellous things for them. While they used to be grateful for the little things that they received from the Lord, they no longer have this attitude. They expect bigger things and when they don’t get what they desire, they complain and murmur, and go to the extent of getting mad at the Lord, as if the Lord owes them something. They have forgotten the words the Lord Jesus Christ spoke through a parable: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:23). Indeed, they used to be faithful, grateful and appreciative of the Lord’s blessings when they were first saved. Now that they appear to have matured, they are no longer as faithful and grateful. Meantime, they expect more from the Lord.

Friends, it is time to go back to our first love. Let us remember those days in the beginning, when we first came to know the Lord. Let us once again express our love for the Lord by doing the work we did at first. Let us not forget his sacrifices when we take the bread and the cup in our communion. Let us refresh our memories of the good things God did for us and as we do, let us forget the horror of the past and move on. Hallelujah!