by Bob Allen:
I forget stuff in my office all the time.
I get home at the end of the work day and dig through my bag for a book I’m trying to read or a note I need to share with my wife and it’s never there. She typically bemoans my forgetfulness with mild chastisement. You would think I’d pay a little bit closer attention to it since I know it’s a problem. I don’t, but you would think I would by now. Back when I pastored in West Central Missouri, my office was literally 35 steps from my back door so leaving something behind was never a big deal. Now, it’s a 10-15 minute drive depending on how lucky I am with traffic lights.
I’m sure there are people in this world who never forget anything when they travel or when they are leaving work or when they are heading off for a meeting (there’s probably an enneagram type associated with them). I envy those people because few things are worse than realizing you’ve forgotten something critical to whatever it is you need to accomplish.
There are “life hacks” which are supposed to help with stuff like this: creating a to-do list, putting books or paraphernalia you need in your preferred carry case (ie: a backpack, messenger bag, briefcase, purse, etc.) as you recognize your need for them, etc. These tips and tricks for efficiency and productivity can be super helpful, but what about living the Christian life?
I think this is why the apostle Paul stresses the gospel so incredibly much in his letters. Trying to live faithfully obedient to God and forgetting the importance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is equivalent to trying to boil water without turning on the burner on your stove.
God knows our need, our frailty, and our inadequacy and provided his Son to take care of all of them. The news of the gospel tells us that God has seen our helpless estate and intervened in history to make us “more than conquerors” as Paul writes in Romans 8:37.
And yet, I absentmindedly run to things other than God when I am in need. I think everybody does at some point or another.
Time and again, I find myself an amnesiac when it comes to what my gracious Lord has done on my behalf, I become oblivious to the gospel and what he has provided through Jesus. I fail to remember that, “his divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3)
This is why Paul writes over and over about the significance of the work of Jesus at the cross and the power of God over the grave.
Every “life hack” about how to be a better Christian or how to view your vocation as your calling or any “do this to be a better follower of Jesus” message falls short if it isn’t focused on keeping your eyes on Jesus. Giving “holy homework” without focusing on the holy work of the cross just produces a standard people cannot possibly meet.
God loves you and sent his son to die on a cross so that you could return to a right relationship with him. That’s the thing to remember. That’s the power and the strength to fight the good fight against the draw of this world.
The truth we must cherish, on which we must meditate, from which we draw our hope, through which we glorify God.