From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ (Malachi 3:7)
This scene of God’s Old Covenant people forgetting Him repeats itself throughout scripture. God even warned them against forgetting Him, “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today,” (Deuteronomy 8:11). But forget Him they did.
Paul warns about Christ taking vengeance on those that do not know God (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9), I believe that includes those that forget God today. You are thinking, “I won’t forget God. I know that He is. I go to church and occasionally read my Bible. I pray before meals. I have not forgotten God.” Take time to read the four short chapters of Malachi. The people claimed to know God and even practiced sacrifice and tithing to Him, but God still accuses them of disrespecting His name, forsaking His covenant and laws, and robbing Him. They do not know they are doing these things. They do not know because they have forgotten God. We can forget God. We can forget what He has done and does for us in Christ.
How can I know if I have forgotten God, or that I am forgetting God? Here are six symptoms to look for in YOUR life:
- Selfishness. Selfishness is the root of all sin. Selfishness puts my desires above what God wants of me, for me, and from me. Do I think or say things like, “I know that the Bible says this is sin, but God wants me to me happy . . . “
- Pride. In Luke 18 a Pharisee was so full of pride in his own self-righteousness, that he could not see his own short-comings before God. He was even judgmental of another who was also praying to God.
- Worry. Worry comes from forgetting that God is in control and that He cares for us. Take time to read Matthew 6:25-34 or consider what Paul says in Philippians, ” . . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. . . And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6,19)
- Envy. Envy looks at others blessings or perceived blessings and questions why God is not equally blessing you. When we are envious of others, we forget what God is doing in our lives.
- Ungratefulness. This is a sign of our times. In our society of entitlements, we expect to receive and are ungrateful for our blessings. Paul writes about this in Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Ingratitude forgets that all our blessings (even life itself) come from God.
- Unfaithfulness. God is always faithful to His promise even when we are unfaithful to Him – He will not deny His nature (2 Timothy 2:11-13). We must stay focused on God’s will and faithfully walk in His light. When we choose the way of the world, or our own will, over God then we are unfaithful to Him – we have forgotten God.
Maybe that is why the psalmist penned these words,
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalms 103:1-5)