Spiritual Amnesia – “Why do we forget who God is?”

I admit it. I am prone to Spiritual Amnesia. I am susceptible to forgetting spiritual markers, tymes of worship, and experiences with the Holy. Though powerful at the tyme, those moments fade in the background all-too quickly and are replaced with daily reminders that I live in a fallen world. Traffic. Mean people. Job stress. Shameful memories. The flu. Strained relationships. It’s enough to make you wonder where God is. I think that’s why the word “Remember” is found in Scripture so much.

  • Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Ex. 20:8).
  • Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years (Deut. 8:1). 
  • Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you (Duet. 15:15)                                                                                                          
  •  Remember what Moses the Lord’s servant commended you (Josh. 1:12).                  
  •  Remember His covenant forever — the promise He ordained for a thousand generations (1 Chron. 16:15)                                                                        
  • I will remember the Lord’s works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders. I will reflect on all You have done and meditate on Your actions (Psm. 77:11)
  • So remember your Creator in the days of your youth (Eccl. 12:1).
  • And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).

Why the constant reminder to remember? Because it’s easy to forget. It’s so easy to forget when the bad news comes. When the paycheck is small and the bills loom large. When the walls between family members stand impenetrable. When the enemy throws the past in your face and casts doubt on your present. In those tymes, Spiritual Amnesia creeps in, crowding out any memory of God’s faithfulness and providence, His forgiveness and restoration, His fierce and determined love. This is definitely something I had struggled with. Every tyme I walked my own path, I fell. HARD!!! And yet I was so surprised and disappointed that I decide it hurts too much to try again. I conveniently forget that it was me who messed up in the first place, not God, and that His promises are always true and waiting for me. To be truly honest, it isn’t that it’s hard to remember, but it was to easy to forget.

It’s always amazed me to read the Old Testament accounts of the Israelites‘. They would ask God for something like food or protection, and no sooner would God provide, but they would be back into their habit of complaints and begging. It’s like they had amnesia? Better yet Selective Spiritual Amnesia about everything God had done for them in the past. Each tyme they got Spiritual Amnesia it seemed that He was never going to come through for them. The Israelites even said, “It was better when we were in Egypt,” even though they lived in slavery! Now that’s just a short attention spans, and it is evident in some of our relationships with God.

Amnesia n.~Partial or total loss of memory [Greek amnēsiā, forgetfulness, probably from amnēstiā, from amnēstos, not remembered] It's different from the loss of memory due to diseases such as Dementia or Alzheimer's because it can affect a person of any age and isn't usually progressive. It seems as if amnesia can be selective, though, affecting either short-term or long-term memory.  Or it could be a particular episode or tyme period in a person's life that’s not remembered.

Where are they? Ugh, this is such a pain. Where did I put them? Honestly, this is embarrassing. I’ve turned the house upside down! I’ve got places to go, and people to see, and I can’t find them anywhere. Where are my keys? The car! Have you had this conversation with yourself? I mean, it’s not like keys aren’t important. As a matter of fact, they’re very important; you use them everyday. You need them to get you places in life. You need them to open doors in your life. However, as important as they are, we seem to have short-term amnesia when it comes to where we put our keys. Our spirituality is treated much the same way. Even though focusing on spirituality has given us peace, we often don’t go there. No matter how many doors our faith has opened for us in our lives, we tend to forget about it. It’s almost like when it comes to our faith, we have short-term Spiritual Amnesia.

God seems to know something about amnesia. Not that God experiences amnesia but that we do.  “Have you not known?  Have you not heard?” Isaiah wrote. “Has it not been told you from the beginning? …the Holy One is great in strength and mighty in power… his understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40:21, 26b). It seems like ever since the beginning of tyme we keep forgetting that! Didn’t Adam and Eve have everything they could ever want or hope for in the Garden of Eden? And didn’t God tell them to enjoy it all, except for one thing – that tree with the apples on it? Adam and Eve seemed fine with that until a serpent came along and tempted Eve to forget about what God had just told her. And when she did forget, she plucked off an apple and shared it with Adam. That kind of Selective Spiritual Amnesia led to an act of disobedience.

Now picture Moses telling his kinsmen to wait for him at the base of Mt. Sinai while he climbs up to receive the 10 commandments from God – the same God who led this tribe out of slavery in Egypt and sustained them with food and water in the desert; the same God who had made a covenant with them asking only in return to worship Him and only Him.  No sooner had Moses climbed up the mountain then his own brother Aaron helped the Israelites fashion a little golden calf which they all thought worthy of worship.  That kind of Selective Spiritual Amnesia led to an act of idolatry.

“One reason we don’t grow in ordinary, grateful obedience as we should is that we’ve got amnesia; we’ve forgotten that we are cleansed from our sins. In other words, ongoing failure in sanctification (the slow process of change into Christ-likeness) is the direct result of failing to remember God’s love for us in the gospel. If we lack the comfort and assurance that his love and cleansing are meant to supply, our failures will handcuff us to yesterday’s sins, and we won’t have faith or courage to fight against them, or the love for God that’s meant to empower this war. If we fail to remember our justification, redemption, and reconciliation, we’ll struggle in our sanctification.” Elyse Fitzpatrick

We Need To Get Out of Your Own Way! More tymes than not, when dealing with any internal or external struggle, we just have to learn to get out of our own way! Think about it. How often do you find yourself struggling to make something work or happen in your tyming! And your picture only to later realize that you were violating the Principle of DIVINE TYMING? How many tymes have you temporarily “forgotten” that all things are in DIVINE ORDER, and therefore gave up because things were not happening according to your HUMAN EXPECTATIONS? How often have you misinterpreted your DIVINE PURPOSE, and found yourself spinning in circles because you refused to acknowledge and act upon DIVINE INSPIRATION? These are all powerful signs that you have been a sufferer of Selective Spiritual Amnesia – that temporary forgetting of your DIVINE TRUTH.*

Regaining our memory and recovering from Selective Spiritual Amnesia is the first step in recovering your DIVINE GUIDANCE is to take the tyme to go inward, access you’re DIVINE VOICE and DIVINE INTUITION and a deeper spiritual resonance. This voice is often muted by spiritually irrational fears, fears so great that they inspire spiritual denial, ultimately leading to the temporary forgetting of one’s purpose. The second step is to invest the tyme and energy into truly identifying and defining your DIVINE PURPOSE. As a culture we tend to focus on finding that magic bullet or pill that will make all of our dreams come true.*

People spend thousands and thousands of dollars a year on perceived “quick fixes,” get rich quick schemes, and strategy based solutions. Know this; if your endeavors are not aligned with your purpose, your very reason for being here, nothing you do, no amount of money you spend, will ever result in deep spiritual fulfillment.

Purpose gives you meaning and frees you to be and do what you are meant to be and do. Purpose is and should be foundational to vision, mission and strategy and serves as the big WHY. Aligning with purpose gives us an unimaginable level of commitment and resiliency, both of which absolutely need to be in place prior to any worthy pursuit being fully realized. The third step in recovering from Spiritual Amnesia is to uncover the beliefs that are driving your thoughts, perceptions, feelings and behaviors. Spiritual Sleepwalking is important to mention here. Spiritual Sleepwalking is the very human phenomenon of living and operating on automatic pilot, not being present to the DIVINE KNOWLEDGE that is always accessible to us.*

When in a sleepwalking mode, we unconsciously gather and adopt beliefs that are spiritually irrational, based on other people’s perceptions of how the world operates, and the stories they pass along like a poisonous virus. The stories are often unconscious fibs or universal generalizations — which tend to be false—yet they choose to tell them and we choose to listen (and often retell, thus continuing the cycle of self deceit). Spiritual Sleepwalking is akin to being a magnet for misinformation. Myths, opinions and beliefs that do not serve your highest good or highest purpose permeate human consciousness and take up residence in your mind, thus creating major blockages to the realization of DIVINE TRUTH.*

In the past few days, God has been gently reminding me again of His faithfulness in the past. Every issue I have dealt with has seemed dark and impossible, but He has always been faithful to dispel the darkness with the light of His love. I have no reason to fear that this tyme will be any different. God has not changed.

I can definitely step into the shoes of the Israelites today and understand how, at tymes, every fresh challenge can seem insurmountable. However, I know that the God who sent manna to His people is the same God who will raise me above &  lead me through my latest challenge. My job is to thank Him for the victories that have been and the victories that are on the way. And then I can relax and enjoy the journey.

Is it hard to remember what God has done for you?

*Images/Resources: Miss Poppy, Pam Gibbs, Anita Pathik & Karen Noe


4 thoughts on “Spiritual Amnesia – “Why do we forget who God is?”

  1. I won’t forget what He’s done for me. His benefits forever in my memory.
    Psalm 103 as I call on His many names I will stand in rememberence of all He is, has been, and will continue to be in my life. Thanks for the reminder 😉

  2. Pingback: understanding metaphors like the tree of life, the eyes to see and the ears to hear « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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  4. Pingback: God: “Be Ye Perfect.” Moses: “Well, what if it doesn’t resonate with me?” « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

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