I’ve been memorizing scripture for two weeks now-well, that’s been the goal anyway. And I thought I’d take some time to share with you all some of the things I’m learning about the value of committing God’s word to memory.
First, a confession. So far, I’ve only got 8 verses down, only 6 if I’m being really picky about it. This is tough. Towards the end of last week, I had a melt-down of sorts, and it seemed like my brain reached its capacity. The section reserved for scripture appeared to be full. So, I ignored my flashcards all weekend, and I didn’t even crack open the book of James once.
On Sunday, I started feeling pretty defeated. Not even two weeks into my New Year’s resolution, and I’d given up. Typical.
Thankfully, God intervened, and reminded me that when I started this, I recognized my inability to do this outside of his power. Somewhere along the way, probably around day two, I started relying on my own strength to accomplish it. So, I’m back to asking him for help and realizing that I can’t do this on my own (hmm, that sounds familiar).
Last night, I was reading John Piper’s famous treatise on joy, Desiring God. It’s taking me forever to read it because for a book on joy, it’s pretty heavy. It just so happens that I’m on chapter 5, “Scripture,” which I’m sure isn’t exactly a coincidence (to read it online for free, click here). Basically, the chapter is all about why we should memorize scripture. In sum, Piper says we should memorize God’s word because, “It is the source of life and faith and power and hope and freedom and wisdom and comfort and assurance and victory over our greatest enemy” (152). In two weeks, have I experienced all that, with only 8 verses? I think I can say yes, but perhaps with just a small taste of the full potential.
The first thing I’ve noticed is that it’s far easier to fight with a solid, sharp sword. The Word of God is our weapon against the attacks of the enemy (Ephesians 6:17). Before I memorized portions of scripture, I just had fragments of the sword to throw back at the enemy. When I was beaten down in the midst of a trial, I would despair and have little to claim except, “It says somewhere that God knows what he’s doing.” Sure, that’s true, but it doesn’t exactly have the redeeming power of this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete” (James 1:2-4). I know this because I’ve had several occasions to use it these past two weeks.
Another way scripture memory has been useful in my life is its power to combat insomnia. Some of you might recall my post about praying myself to sleep (click here to read it). Let me tell you, the knockout combination of prayer and scripture recitation will do it every time!
Are you lonely or bored out of your mind? Scripture makes great company. God’s Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), and it will always bring you fresh new insight and healing companionship. I’ve taken to reciting my memory verses while standing in line at the grocery store. I also found that they’re great to recite while walking from point A to point B (Just one note of caution, if you plan on reciting them aloud, insert your phone’s bluetooth earpiece so people don’t think you’re nuts).
The final way that I’ve been blessed through scripture memorization is by knowing verses to share with others. It’s a joy to encourage others with the right scripture at the right time. I’ve been a little too enthusiastic about this the last two weeks, and I must apologize to those of you whom I’ve barraged with verses from James! If they’ve been helpful, then I suppose it’s okay.
All this after only two weeks! I’m expecting to learn many things while I memorize this book. If any of you would like to share how God has blessed you through memorizing his Word, I’d love to hear it!