By Maria Fontaine
July 12, 2022
I often think of how much I need reminders regarding the essentials in my Christian life. I wrote about this topic previously, and I’m continuing to see how helpful reminders can be.
Sometimes I get distracted when I’m tired, busy, or trying to juggle many things at once, and I forget to calm down and sit quietly at Jesus’ feet so He can remind me of the things that are truly important that I might be missing or neglecting.
But Jesus, in His love and compassion, doesn’t limit providing these reminders to times when we get quiet before Him. He also brings them to our attention through other avenues.
For me, Jesus brings some of those reminders through others like Peter or one of my co-workers who remind me of the spiritual principles and practices that we all value but may not always be paying enough attention to. These reminders can be about such things as praising the Lord in the face of difficulties, trusting God for my work, or not allowing myself to be stressed over troubles and challenges that others are facing.
It may not always feel good in the moment to be reminded of the need to reemphasize these things. Refocusing my priorities often takes a conscious effort. Sometimes, it can also be a little embarrassing to have to admit, even to myself, that something I should have known to do needs to be reestablished as a priority in some area of my life.
One of the problems with others offering us a reminder is that we are all human and sometimes flawed in how we express or receive these reminders. Whether we are sharing a reminder with someone or someone else is sharing a reminder with us, it should always be done with humility and the assumption that the one sharing these reminders is sincerely trying to help. The Lord will always guide us in the best way to apply those reminders if we look to Him for His confirmation.
The Apostle Peter gave reminders to the believers in Asia Minor in an effort to help them. He wrote:
I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.—2 Peter 1:13, 15 ESV
In 2015 Peter wrote: “Godly reminders are an important component in our spiritual growth; they can keep us spiritually active, healthy, and well rounded. … We all need reminders to keep us striving to be like Jesus—gracious, loving, compassionate, honest, longsuffering, gentle, good, slow to criticize, and generous with encouragement.”1
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There will probably be times when we don’t have someone available to help us stay on track through reminders. In that case, the responsibility falls to us to make the effort to safeguard ourselves by finding ways to draw our attention back to the important spiritual principles on which our lives need to be anchored. I know of someone who has a large, decorative blackboard in her kitchen where she writes herself inspirational reminders such as Bible verses, thoughts that motivate her, or quotes about areas in her life where she needs to grow.
Here is an example of the kind of encouraging reminders that might be used. We might picture Jesus saying these things to us. Any one of these phrases, or all of them together, can be helpful reminders of how much we mean to Jesus.
I am with you.
I am strengthening you.
I am answering you.
I am protecting you.
I am providing for you.
I am giving you peace.
I love you. (ALWAYS HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL!)
So much depends on how we look at reminders. We can see them as a chore or something that we grudgingly endure while feeling guilty that we’re not perfect. That is unlikely to produce the motivation we need to use reminders constructively.
The alternative is that we can see these things as fresh opportunities to refine our skills by refocusing on the principles that the Lord loves to see us grow in. How we perceive these things can be pivotal in gaining more wisdom as we reapply a principle in our lives and our walk with Jesus. If we look at reminders as challenges to further refine what is pleasing to Jesus in our lives, then these reminders become opportunities to prepare us for the future.
The spiritual principles in God’s Word, such as following God, prayer, praise, resting in the Lord, spreading His love and truth, giving to others, having patience, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, serving one another in love, and many more are enhanced with use. Revisiting them can often help to keep our use of them updated with new ways to apply them.
As Jesus told me:
Learn from the past, its successes and mistakes;
Light your present, with joy and transformation;
Look forward to the future, the wonderful things that await you.
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God’s Spirit can show us ways to stay young at heart, no matter what our age. For example, adding a new twist to our witnessing approach or trying out something that takes a step of faith can bring inspiration to our lives and keep our hearts and minds challenged. And, if you have the blessing of working together with someone else, you can cheer each other on and remind each other of your new plan or commitment.
Joni Eareckson Tada described how a friend of hers worked together with others and added a new challenge to their witness. Joni wrote:
God gave my friend Jennifer a burden for waitresses. Once every two weeks, Jennifer and her Christian friends regularly meet for lunch, but before they choose a restaurant, they pray. Once it’s decided where to lunch, they sit down and strike up a friendly chat with the waitress. They learn her name and ask for her suggestions from the menu.
Jennifer and her friends visit the same restaurant at least five times, asking the maître d’ that they be given the same waitress. After so many luncheons, the women become friends with the waitress. … Jennifer and her friends not only have fun together over lunch, but they make an outreach of it. Waitresses are, in fact, their main reason for getting together.
No matter where we go or whom we meet, we can have an effective outreach for Christ in our community. No, Jennifer will never organize a group called “Eating Out for Jesus,” or plan a budget or print up brochures. But she will keep on doing what comes naturally: being a witness for the Lord.2
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In this often hectic world, there may be times when our focus is so fully engaged with what can seem most urgent that the long-term priorities get pushed into the background. However, the Lord has given us the blessing of reminders to help ensure that these foundational principles are not left in the background for long.
Whatever ways the Lord chooses to bring reminders to your attention, welcome them as the friends they are, and they in turn will help you to accomplish the most important things that the Lord asks you to do.
2 “Be a Witness” devotional, April 15, 2022, by Joni Eareckson Tada.