Try it. It’s worth it!

I guess you could say that I’ve been a Christian “all my life.” I vaguely remember kneeling with my father beside the bed and saying a prayer that asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to come into my life. I was only 4 at the time, so it’s uncertain as to how much I actually understood about sin, grace, substitutionary atonement, justification, etc. In fact, I know that it wasn’t until high school that I really noticed significant spiritual growth taking place in my life. And I can safely say that even then, I was only taking baby steps. It probably wasn’t until years later, post-college, while in seminary, that my relationship with the Lord was really my own – separate from my parents, my church, my religion, my friends. I guess that’s the thing about spiritual growth – it’s organic; similar to watching a plant grow from a seed. You may not be able to look at it and actually see it growing, but if you come back a week later, a month later, a year later – all of a sudden the significance of it’s growth is unmistakable.

Yet one thing has remained constant in this slow, steady growth in my walk with the Lord. Something that is irreplaceable to me: hiding God’s Word in my heart. Since childhood, my parents had me and my sisters memorize Bible verses. To this day, I recall many verses and chapters in the good old King James version, which apparently was the standard version 30 years ago. The great thing is that even during times of stagnation or even hardness of heart during my Christian life, I have always been able to bring these verses to mind. There have been moments of sorrow, guilt, questioning or darkness that have been dispelled because I have been able to draw on truths that are tattooed on my heart. Knowing God’s Word has kept me from making foolish decisions, indulging in sin and has allowed for growth in my life spiritually in ways that I never would have thought possible.

Perhaps you have never memorized even one verse of Scripture. It’s not too late! I would encourage you to choose your favorite verse (or chapter) in the Bible, and tell a friend that you are committing yourself to memorizing that passage. Ask them to keep you accountable. One way I have used to memorize verses is to photocopy the page out of your Bible and take it with you wherever you go. Maybe while you’re running on the treadmill or waiting to pick up a child from school, you can pull it out and work on memorizing it. Start by reading the verse several times through, maybe even out loud. Then look away from the passage and try to say the verse out loud. If you mess up, look down and find the next word and then keep going until you finish. Do that several times in a row. Go back to it the next day and do the same thing. If you keep refreshing your mind with the verse daily or several times a week, you will have it memorized before you know it. There are other ways to memorize, so do what works for you. If you’re up for a challenge, pick an entire chapter (or book!) and use that process, adding one verse to the next until you complete the chapter. This could take a couple of months, so stick with it. It’s worth it! Once you have completed it, you will have nuggets of gold buried in your heart and mind to draw on whenever you need them.

The psalmist refers to God’s Word as “more desireable than gold, yes, than much find gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10) Scripture is living, breathing and active – it is literally God’s words breathed out of His mouth to us. In them you will find counsel, comfort, guidance, wisdom and grace. And in studying it, you will be pointed to the majesty and beauty of Christ. So I urge you to try it. You will never regret the time you have spent committing God’s Word to memory. Just remember, the ultimate goal is not to be able to say that you have memorized Scripture. You are seeking to meditate on the truths in the Bible so that you will grow in your understanding and knowledge of God and as a result, to bear spiritual fruit. Once you have verses tucked away in your mind, you will find yourself drawing on those truths often and will hopefully see spiritual growth along the way. If you take up this challenge, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what happens…

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