Jump Start # 1934
2 Peter 1:9 “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”
His name is Aaron. He is a fine preacher and a wonderful friend. I received an email from him this week. He reminded me of a special event. It wasn’t his birthday, or wedding anniversary. It was thirty years ago to the day that I baptized Aaron. He not only remembered the actual date, he remembered what I preached that night. Thirty years ago. I was just a young preacher and Aaron was just a young man. That Sunday night, a long time ago changed his life. Aaron went off to college, later met a beautiful girl and he asked me to preform their wedding. Their family has been blessed with children and he decided to preach. He’s a marvelous preacher and has done great work. But all of this started thirty years ago when he decided to allow the Lord to cleanse him and lead him. He hasn’t looked back since.
Our verse is what I thought of when I read Aaron’s note this week. It follows what we call the virtues of the Christian character. You’ll remember, add to your faith, virtue. To your virtue, add knowledge. A whole series of powerful qualities that are connected to one another. This section ends with our verse today. Not having these qualities results in two things:
First, it makes us blind spiritually. We will never be as God wants us to be without these qualities. Sure, we can still go to church services. We can sing the hymns, bow our heads, but it’s what’s missing in our hearts that will trip us and cause us to go back to our old ways. God wants us to excel. God wants us to grow, be strong and be powerful in Him. We must be busy “adding” these virtues to our lives.
Second, lacking these qualities tends to make us forget where we came from. It makes us forget that we were sinners that have been forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. The great hymn, “Amazing Grace,” states, “I once was lost, but now I’m found.” There are some things we should never forget. Through the years a person has a way of not seeing the past as clearly as it was. “The good ole’ days,” seem pretty good when you only think about the pleasant things. I don’t find modern homes being built without bathrooms. Going to the pump for water and the outhouse to use the bathroom doesn’t sound very good to me. You’d think, if those were such wonderful days, there would be folks building houses that reflect that. They don’t.
Do you remember what it was like when you realized that you were lost in your sins? Remember that awful feeling? Remember being scared of dying? All the running with the wrong people. All the terrible things you did. They seemed like fun at the moment. But when the purity of the Gospel reached our hearts, we saw those things for what they really were, sinful. We disgraced God. We disappointed God. We rebelled against God. We were lost. We were dead spiritually.
Someone took the time to show us the saving message of Jesus. Light bulbs came on. We understood. Can you imagine where you would be today if that had not happened? Can you imagine how deep into the well of sin you may have fallen? How many marriages would you have crashed by now? What addictions would you have? How many lives would you have hurt?
When we forget, we tend to take our foot off the spiritual accelerator. We find ourselves flirting with the world once again. Some, will even put one foot back into the world. Why? Why would they want to return to where they once were? Why would they want to be lost again? Why would they give up all the good things God has done for them? Is sin better than grace? Is sin more fun than living for God? No. Always NO. The problem is that a person has forgotten.
Not only can we forget where we came from, but we can forget what we have. We can take things for granted. A wonderful marriage. A great family. A church that accepts, loves and supports you. A God who considers you as one of His. A purpose to live by. A plan that leaves us a clear path to follow. No doubts. No question marks. What a joy it is to be a Christian. Have we forgotten? Count your many blessings, name them, one by one. A life without worry. Living without the fear of death. Knowing that someday, God’s home, will be my home. That’s what we have in Christ. Have we forgotten?
There are certain events that should never be forgotten. We remember 9-11. We remember the Alamo. Every Sunday, we remember the death of Jesus. And in our own lives, we need to remember where we were, where we were headed, and what we have in Jesus.
I am thankful that my good friend Aaron reminded me what happened thirty years ago this week. I remember baptizing him, but I’d forgotten what month and what year. He didn’t. He even remembered the sermon. I don’t know where that sermon is or even what I said in it. But he remembered. He remembered the song leader that night.
How about you? Can you remember the actual date you became a Christian? Can you remember who was there or what sermon was preached?
It’s good to remember. It’s good to never forget some things. It’s good to see how far we have come. It’s good to see that God has been good to us. Who would have thought, thirty years ago, that the young man I baptized would grow up and preach the gospel. I hope Aaron, someday you’ll get a note from someone thirty years later, thanking you for what you did to their life. All of this is only possible because of Jesus. We are part of one long chain of people helping others. Someone helped us and we help others. It is our spiritual legacy and our spiritual joy.