Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the truth which is with you (2 Peter 1:12) .
No matter how old we are in the faith of Christ, or how much we have matured in our understanding and practice of Christianity, we can always benefit from reminders about our faith and what is really important. This was Peter’s message for his own time: he sought to remind believers of the truth of God in Christ even though he was convinced that they already knew it and were established in it. In the same spirit, then, let us consider seven reminders that can benefit every Christian.
1. Rejoice always (Philippians 4:4). If anyone had a reason to be down, it would have been Paul when he was imprisoned for the faith. Nevertheless, he encouraged believers to rejoice as he rejoiced, for no matter how dire or difficult things may be or seem on earth, the blessings we have in Christ far outweigh them. Therefore, regardless of our circumstances, we ought to rejoice in God our Savior.
2. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We never get too mature or too old to pray; in fact, as we grow in the faith, we learn just how dependent we are upon God. We have been granted the privilege of petitioning the Creator of the universe, the First and the Last; we ought to take advantage of that at every opportunity!
3. Give thanks to God in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). A significant element of our petitions to God should involve thanksgiving (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:14-17). While God does want to hear about our cares and anxieties (cf. 1 Peter 5:7), it is right for us to always thank God for all the blessings with which He has blessed us. Giving thanks to God reminds us just how blessed we are, no matter how difficult things might seem, and how God has already done far greater things for us than for which our current distress would call. Our attitude is often changed by just counting our many blessings!
4. Remember who you are and who you serve (Titus 3:3-8). No matter how much maturity we develop in Christ, how holy our conduct may become, we are not perfect, and we still fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8). From the beginning until the end of our walk with Christ, we remain sinners who have received mercy from God (Romans 5:6-11). We are not the judges; we serve the Judge (James 4:11-12). We are His servants; He is the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-33). We were bought with a price to glorify Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This is why we devote ourselves to good works, and we must never forget it.
5. The Gospel must never get old (Romans 1:16). We must resist the temptation to let the Gospel “get old”– a story that we have heard so many times that it has lost its power for us. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth– the essence of the Gospel– must continue to inspire us, lead us to give God thanks, and mold and shape our lives. The Gospel remains God’s power for salvation after two thousand years, and we have been commissioned to continue to promote it in our words and deeds.
6. Encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). There is a tendency also for the assemblies of Christians to “get old” as well, and it also must be resisted. We ought to understand that the assembly is more about one another than it is about ourselves as individuals; we gain encouragement by being the strength and encouragement for others. Much can be done outside of the assembly to encourage, and that we must do. Nevertheless, the assemblies are the consistent and frequent ways to get the opportunity to strengthen one another, and we ought to take every opportunity to do so!
7. Remember what it is all about (Romans 8:17-18, Ephesians 3:10-11, Philippians 3:12-14). We have been granted the opportunity to play a role in God’s eternal plan for the salvation of mankind, participating in His work as part of the Lord’s church. Through our lives God is to receive glory, whether in good times or bad, in ease or in distress, abounding or in want. We will experience some of the harsh realities of life, and they are preparing us to receive honor and glory beyond measure or imagination when the Lord returns to judge the living and the dead and His followers are granted the resurrection of eternal life. Let us keep these things in mind, live so as to glorify God our Savior, and obtain that resurrection!
Ethan R. Longhenry