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Remembering - part 2 

blog 2 photo apr22

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it - they will be blessed in what they do (James 1:23-25)

I can recall quite vividly the first time I arrived at church after the first 2020 Covid lockdown and needed to unset the alarm system to get into the building. It was something I had done many times before. Indeed, when I was on the Staff Team I did it a number of times each week. But I suddenly had to think very hard about what code to use and which buttons to press. I knew that once I unlocked the door, I wouldn’t have a great deal of time to get it right. Getting it wrong would be both very noisy and very embarrassing! So, I thought long and hard, waiting hesitantly for a while before I turned the key. Thankfully the outcome was a successful one.
This little incident was a sobering reminder not only of my ability to forget but how quickly it can happen. It hadn’t been that many weeks since I had unset the alarm, and yet something so familiar suddenly became a challenge. I know that for many people Covid times have upset established patterns of life. Some of this has been good, as it has meant leaving behind unhelpful things. But some haven’t been so great, as we’ve forgotten habits and patterns that enrich our lives. And this can be true of what we do to strengthen our faith and build our relationship with God.
Two specific words in what James says at the top of this post particularly strike me. First, he speaks of looking intently. We won’t remember what God is like and how He wants us to live if we don’t take the need to remember seriously. If we only give what the Bible says cursory attention, if we only pray when we think all other options have failed, if we only come to church when there’s nothing else in the diary, then our friendship with Him will dry up and our faith will wither. We’ll quickly forget what He’s like, what He’s done and what He continues to do. Looking intently means being seriously intentional about what we do.
Secondly, James speaks of continuing in the perfect law that gives freedom. We can’t expect our faith to flourish unless we nurture it regularly and frequently. It doesn’t really work having occasional bursts of enthusiasm if they’re interspersed with times when we don’t really care or can’t be bothered. We need to put ourselves in places and situations where we receive constant reminders that life in all its fulness only comes when we stay close to Jesus consistently.
Lord, I’m sorry for times when you don’t have the place in my life that you deserve, when I pay little attention to you and miss out on the blessings that come through friendship with you. Please stir me to become a stronger rememberer, intently and continually looking to you, and walking closely with you. Amen

Keith Nurse, 20/04/2022