I’ll never forget the story my dad told me when he suffered from amnesia. He was walking to a Cub Scout meeting, tripped in a hole and could not get his hands out of his pockets quick enough to catch himself before he fell. When he came to, he had no clue who anybody was, not even himself. He told me it was one of the scariest feelings, forgetting who you were and who others were. After a short time, his memory returned and we was able to remember who he and others were.
The word amnesia comes from the Greek work that means forgetfulness or without memory. There are several causes of amnesia and different degrees of it. Some are mild cases, like my dad’s, but others suffer from amnesia for a long period of time. It’s this phenomena that one forgets what he or she knows and is unable to retain memories. I couldn’t imagine forgetting who I am or the people around me. However, I think that many believers, myself included, suffer from something similar.
I believe that many Christians suffer from spiritual amnesia.
This is one of the major things that prevent Christians from being who Christ created them to be and to do the things He has called us to do. Throughout Scripture, the Lord has to constantly remind His people what He has done for us and who we are in Him. The reason He has to continually do this is because we forget way too easily. I constantly need reminding of the Gospel and the new position I now have in Christ, because there is a tendency to let the world, culture and environment define who I am.
This was one of the problems James addresses in the first chapter of his book. The believer’s that were scattered because of persecution were forgetting their position in Christ. They were suffering from spiritual amnesia:
“Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich brother boast in his humiliation.” -James 1:9a
James was instructing these believers to boast in their position in Christ, not who the world said they were. There were two types of believers that he was addressing.
1.) The Insignificant
There were some that were accounted as lowly, insignificant, and despised by the world’s standards. And they were letting this shape who they were. James says, no! Remember who you are in Christ. For some of you, you may feel that way. Lowly, insignificant or despised. You may feel this way from your family, friends, co-workers or the world. However, as a believer, that is not who you are! Don’t forget your position in Christ:
You are now a son or daughter of the King.
You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
You are more than a conqueror through Him who loved you.
You are a co-heir with Christ.
This is who you are in Christ! Don’t let the world define you.
2) The Significant
There were also some that were accounted as rich, powerful or significant by the world’s standards. And they were letting this shape who they were. James again says, no! Remember who you are in Christ. For some today, the world or culture may look at you and deem you significant. Your family, co-works/employees, or the world may see you as someone who is important and successful. However, this can be very destructive for a believer because that is not who you are in Christ. Don’t forget your position in Christ:
According to the Gospel, we are nothing, sinful and deserving of the wrath of God. Our “good” works, influence or success is not enough to make us acceptable to God. But Jesus, who was perfect, died in our place so that we could enter into a personal relationship with God. We are nothing and Jesus is everything! Our position in Christ has nothing to do with our performance, but Christ’s performance on our behalf. So we must not forget who we are in Christ. We can’t live like it depends on our success or performance because our position in Christ is only by grace. We must live and walk in great humility knowing that we are nothing and that Jesus is everything!
As believers, we must not forget who we are in Jesus. We must continually preach the Gospel to ourselves and be reminded of who we are in Him. Believer, the world cannot define you, because you have been given a new identity and position in Christ!
May the Lord remove our spiritual amnesia!