When we start cleaning our house, storage experts suggest we make different piles: things to keep, to give or to throw away. When it comes time to clean up our thoughts, we can do the same.
While the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, God asked them to adopt certain habits to remember the laws of God, like by writing them on their house posts in Deut 6:9, or to remember their deliverance by celebrating Passover, found in Deut 16:3). We too must take the time to remind ourselves of certain things.
For example, we must take the time to remember how we were before our salvation, to remember what God has saved us from. This allows us to remain thankful and humble. If we find the path of truth difficult, if we feel its narrowness uncomfortable, we can remember where we started (Ephesians 2:12) and that will encourage us to continue.
God also encourages us to remember the prayers we have made, and He answered (Psalm 103:2). When we take the time to remember all the times God has helped us, our hope grows, we then believe that He will do it again (2 Corinthians 1:10, Hebrews 13:8). When the enemy comes whispering in our ears that God does not listen to our prayers, we can silence him by remembering all the good things God has done for us so far. It is a very effective weapon against discouragement.
We must also take the time to remember the instructions of God. Every day we must put Him back on the throne of our heart, we must repent and choose to do His will (Matthew 6:9-13). It’s easy to take control of our projects and forget to listen to His direction. If we deliberately take the time to stop to remember what He has told us to do and especially not to do (James 1:25), we will keep our foot from slipping.
We can also reflect on the lessons that our mistakes have taught us (Hebrews 12:5). Even storms that have surprised us in the past, those that have shaken us without us provoking them, can serve as a valuable life lesson. When the apostle Paul tells us that he forgot what is behind (Philippians 3:13), he spoke of what could inflate him with pride (Philippians 3:8). He did not speak of forgetting the blessings God gave us or the lessons learned.
On the other hand, there are things that we must definitely forget. We must give up the offenses that others have done to us to be able to forgive them (Matthew 6:12). We must choose not to bring them back to our memory, just as God did with our sins. We can remember lessons learned or the way God delivered us in those hurtful situations, but we must choose not to hold a grudge against those who hurt us or even ourselves. Resentment? Definitively throw it away!
Like Paul, it is good to put aside our skills to rely more on God. It is good to forget the logic and human reasoning (Romans 12:2) which until now was the basis of our wisdom. We must put our talents and knowledge in the hands of God and let Him use what He wants to use to move us forward. God’s thoughts are far greater than ours (Isaiah 55:9). Our talents? In the pile of things to give away (to God)!
So there are thoughts that you have to give up and forget, but there are definitely a few things to keep in mind and remember regularly.