Are You Caught in Spiritual Amnesia?

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Oct 20, 2021
Are You Caught in Spiritual Amnesia? Plus

It sounds uncanny to say, but I believe that as Christians, we tend to develop spiritual amnesia more often than we’d like to admit. And if we aren’t careful, this religious memory loss can lead us down a deep road of hopelessness, despair, anxiety, and heartbreak.

As a little girl, I remember the day I first met my Savior. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was a tomboy in spirit. Gaming it out on Ratchet and Clank at 2:30 a.m., my Dad gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.

From that moment, I dedicated myself to the sole pursuit of Christ and proclaiming His Gospel to the nations. While I grew out of the tomboy phase, my faith rose higher. No matter what circumstance, addiction, or illness came my way, I was committed to remembering who Christ was and still is to me.

It sounds uncanny to say, but I believe that as Christians, we tend to develop spiritual amnesia more often than we’d like to admit. And if we aren’t careful, this religious memory loss can lead us down a deep road of hopelessness, despair, anxiety, and heartbreak.

When I started developing an unknown illness in May 2019, shortly after graduation, I never imagined that faith being tested like it has been now. Over a year and a half later of suffering, I only recently came to the recollection that I had mentally given up that I’d get better.

While I was still fighting physically to grow stronger in health, my mind was already checked out on the final destination of stagnancy. Did I truly believe my life would heal to that which it once was?

Do you want to live like this for the next 25 years? The Holy Spirit prompted me, piercing my heart to keep on fighting.

IBS-C and endometriosis are incurable illnesses; what makes you think you’ll get better? The Father of Lies called out to me, attempting to drag me away from the true Father’s hand.

Why have you suddenly forgotten the power of my name and who I say I am? The Holy Spirit pushed back in resiliency to the drowning thoughts.

Spiritual amnesia, I heard Satan laugh as if he’d hooked his latest victim.

A problem of the ages, The Holy Spirit comforted. And like the Israelites, I, too, will rescue you, my people.

In Exodus Chapter 33, God had recently delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians and Pharaoh. After deliverance, however, God wanted to speak to Moses about a New Covenant He would make with His people.

Because the Israelites didn’t have the best track-record, they were known for their constant disobedience. Blaming Moses and God for every bump in the road, it was startling to see how a people group could indict He who they prayed to for rescue and deliverance.

By Chapter 33, God had called Moses to Mount Sinai, where he was given tablets written by God’s hand. “When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18).

Within this law, though, the importance was not solely on obedience but remembrance.

For example, nearly ten chapters prior, Exodus 24 reaffirms this through the people’s cry to submission. “When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do.’ Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said…” (Exodus 24:3-4).

After Moses had been gone for a very long time, however, the Israelite’s minds began to fail them. What once faithfully declared, “Thank you, Lord,” was heard in shatters of traitors and evil revelry.

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’” (Exodus 32:1).

Oh, how easily we contract spiritual amnesia when things don’t go our way or take longer than we anticipate. I wonder how many matters we take into our hands, only to watch God remove and unfold the mess we made for ourselves and had to pray our way out of due to disobedience.

The Israelites, described above, clearly knew it was God who rescued and delivered them from Egypt. Like a roller coaster, they would complain to Moses, and God would save them time and time again. But by Exodus 32:2-4, their overwhelming emotions created impending inaccurate facts of prudishness.

“Aaron answered them, ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’”

Did you catch it? Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” Not God the Father and Yahweh who had split the Red Sea, but human-made idols of gold. And as much as we read this with utter disbelief, I am embarrassed to say that you and I do the same thing today.

A woman walks away from the camera down a beach in thought under grey skies

Photo credit: Unsplash

Without realizing it, how often do we beg the Aarons (support systems, leaders, advisors, parents, friends, etc.) in our lives to create idols (comforts, pleasures, goods, services, finances, etc.) for us when life gets tough? How frequently, then, do we act as Aaron and give the people what they want out of fear? Even more so, do you find yourself worshipping other gods because holy negligence has clouded your vision? What about giving up on dreams and healing because nothing is working or getting better?

While it is shaming to say in transparency, even I, myself, have fallen into this trap of forging the God who has rescued me timelessly for incomparable and deceiving vices. Externally, I’ve been trying to fight sickness in my body without using the source of life that’s already been invested deep into my soul.

And though I unintentionally developed this loss of consciousness, this loss of oneness with the one inside my bones, the idolatry of self leaves me the same as the Israelite’s of the Scriptures: broken, hopeless, anxious, depressed, and ridden with overwhelming scrupulosity.

Yet, it also leaves us with hope if we choose to allow our memory to be restored.

“The next day Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’ So Moses went back to the Lord and said, ‘Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.’ The Lord replied to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.’ And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made” (Exodus 32:30-35).

Because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, we no longer need a Moses or Aaron to go before God and beg for our forgiveness; He’s already freely given it to each of us. And while giving up hope on being healed may seem like a small issue, it’s my prayer that this will speak to your larger issues of life as well.

Do not forget that our God is the same God who fought for the Israelites and freed them, only to have them abandon Him in the process.

When chaos, disease, and stress flood your life, don’t allow the spirit of fear to overtake your soul, but remember and recall the Lord’s faithfulness through and through.

“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

Instead, pray to the Holy Spirit in the moments that feel uncertain. Ask God to test and examine your heart, and forgive you for all the moments you’ve forgotten who He is and the power with which He’s empowered you to become who you are. Express praise and thanks to a God who still loves and pursues us even in the face of spiritual disobedience. Write down something you’re thankful for every day and receive the peace of a loving Father who looks over every single case of refined memory loss.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11).

Spiritual amnesia is not a new concept, but it is one that will continue to plague the lives of nations until we set our sights on Him.

“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not” (Deuteronomy 8:2).

For at the end of the day, even when we’re faithless, He’s faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

In what ways are you fighting spiritual amnesia today? Keep fighting, keep remembering, keep obeying. Great is His faithfulness.

Agape, Amber.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/splendens

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a young adult writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic worship arts, and volunteer roles. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is a featured writer for Crosswalk, ibelieve, Salem Web Network, The Rebelution, Daughter of Delight, Kallos, Anchored Passion, No Small Life, and Darling Magazine. In the past, she's also contributed to Called Christian Writers, Southern Ohio Today News, Ohio Christian University, and The Circleville Herald. Visit her website at amberginter.com.