“And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the LORD told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there” (Joshua 4:8).
Spiritual memory is crucial in the Christian life. Do you vividly recall times when you know God spoke to you? It would be tragic if, in your haste to advance in your Christian faith, you neglected to leave spiritual markers at the key crossroads of your life. Without the help of these markers, you will lose your spiritual bearings. The Israelites experienced a tumultuous pilgrimage. Their doubt that God was powerful enough to give them victory cost them forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Then God miraculously parted the waters of the Jordan River so they could pass over and continue their conquest. God knew that at times the Israelites would face intimidating enemies and would need a reminder that He was powerful enough to protect them.
The Israelites might be tempted to think they made a mistake entering Canaan. For this reason God instructed them to build a monument on the banks of the Jordan River. Whenever they returned to this spot, they would see the monument and be reminded of God’s awesome power and His mighty act on their behalf. This marker would give them confidence to meet the new challenges they faced. The marker also provided the people with opportunities to teach their children about God’s activity on behalf of His people.
A Spiritual Marker identifies a time of decision, direction, or transition when you clearly knew that God guided you. Can you remember the moment you became a child of God? Were there specific times when He called you to His ways of living? Can you point to times when He clearly guided you in a decision? Were there times when He spoke powerfully to you about a commitment you should make? Keep track of these important moments! Regularly rehearse them and notice the steady progression in the way God has led you. Use your Spiritual Markers as the Israelites did – to be reminded of God’s awesome power and His mighty acts on your behalf and as opportunities to teach your children and grandchildren about God’s activity on behalf of your family.
If identifying your Spiritual Markers is new to you, here are a couple of ideas to get you thinking:
Simply make a list on a sheet of paper or in your spiritual journal. Pull away to a quiet place for a bit and think on your life. Write down those moments when you knew God was guiding you. Then over the next hours or even days as other “moments” come to mind, add them to your list.
Again, with paper and pen or pencil, sit quietly with the Lord. Devote this time to thinking back over your life and creating a timeline of the major events. From this timeline, you will be able to identify many personal Spiritual Markers.
Just as the Israelites did in Joshua 4:8, gather some stones of remembrance. Go outside and gather some stones. Then as you sit with the Lord, think back and identify the Spiritual Markers of your life. Write each on a stone.
In identifying the Spiritual Markers in my life I began with a list. However, I did not want to leave it as a list. My desire was to find a way to “set up a monument” that I would pass by often. For my monument, I chose a bracelet because I had also been looking for a piece of jewelry that I could wear as a symbol or reminder of just who I belong to and whose I am. My choice was to combine the two. I purchased a bracelet of the European charm variety and then began searching for just the right bead to represent each of my Spiritual Markers. This bracelet is now one of my most valued possessions. I wear it almost daily, and each time I glance at it I am reminded – of God’s “life-from-the-dead” power on my behalf, of who He is, and of who I am in Him. An added bonus to this type of monument: my grandchildren are drawn to my bracelet. The beads on the bracelet have created and continue to create such wonderful opportunities for me to share my Savior and His work in my life and our family with my grandchildren!
Are you ready to identify your own personal Spiritual Markers? Schedule a date, pull away from your routine, and begin by making a list or a timeline of your own. Then begin rehearsing them, over and over, in order to be reminded of God’s awesome power and work in your life. This is an absolutely amazing practice for drawing your heart toward Him and moving you toward singularity of purpose.