Psalm 108:1-4 – My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. (ESV)
Synaptic potentiation is a mechanism in the hippocampus that enables us to remember. In a nutshell, the stronger the chemical pathway connection in our hippocampus to surrounding tissue, the longer the memory lasts. Triggers such as novelty, interest, repetition, and trauma are the main ways that reinforce a chemical pathway for a memory to be retained.
The happenings of life build up the connections, but they will automatically fade away as the strength of the chemical synapse connection diminishes over time through lack of stimulation. It's like wiping a whiteboard clean on the fridge: nothing routine to remember or do. If only life were that simple!
Key events enhance memory, such as when you received your first pay cheque, took your first holiday, had your first kiss, got married, or bought your first house or car. We get emotional feedback from the memories that remind us and strengthen the memory. Likewise, the downside is that traumas, failures, desires, embarrassments, and life-changing events get reinforced, too.
After years of the same routine, it is automatic that one day's functions blur into another, reinforced by that routine. Memory can bite, too, like when I park the car at the supermarket and come out after shopping, wondering for a moment: Where did I park that car?
I was getting ready for the day recently, when I wondered whether I had any antiperspirant on. Fortunately, I could smell the sweet fragrance of the product on my person to let me know: yep, okay, Rod, you did.
It was at this point that I was prompted from above: Where is the fragrance of Jesus? It was a bit like my wife helpfully giving me a nudge to focus on her. When that happens, I know that it is advantageous to listen and expect to have a further, more intrusive prompt. The same goes for God and me.
It appears that I have been taking God for granted, losing His aroma as He walks with me through the day. I know that He is there, but I have not been in contact, giving Him my praise, respect, and attention as I cruised through life on holiday this past summer. Yes, I have been praying, but not really humbling myself before the throne, not really focusing or expecting to hear much either. Life is good, so why bother, right?
So, where was the fragrance of Jesus? It was fast fading away, like a memory, through lack of interaction. Good memories are not a replacement for a meaningful relationship.
Is God asking where the perfume of His love and Word is noticeable on you today? If it's not, come to Him and be refreshed and washed, and know His presence and love. Join me in praying:
Prayer: Lord God, I messed up again. Show me Your way for me today. May I read Your Word and hear what You have to say. May it go deep into my heart to be an anchor, with the fragrance of Jesus going with me through the day. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Face To Face With Christ My Saviour" (Lyrics)