So, I have a horrible memory. Because of this, it absolutely amazes me to hear someone recall the exact date and place that an event happened five years ago, or to witness someone recite every Yankees player who has a retired number. I’m not that person. I’m the person who has to make crazy, silly connections to remember names, numbers and birthdays. But overall, I get by.
Thankfully, we live in a day and age where we are just a click away from finding out the answer. So why should we waste time with memorizing? I guess my question is: Should we have that same mindset when it comes to Scripture?
Are these following verses from the Psalms outdated and no longer applicable?
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” -Psalm 119:9-11
We would all agree with the words that follow 94 verses later, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” but without memorization, without committing to heart God’s words to His people, it’s so easy to leave behind His truths when we close our Bibles and go on with our day. A general command or story may stick, but as Paul says in 2 Timothy,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture…” Every word.
There have been a few seasons throughout my life, whether it was a Bible study, missions trip, devotional, etc. where memorization was required or recommended, but it has been months, maybe even years since I committed God’s word to my memory. As I mentioned earlier, memorizing something doesn’t come easily to me, yet God challenged that area in my heart last week, and I want to share with you how He did this.
I read a single verse in Philippians. A single verse that I had read before, but this time those words jumped off the page and pierced right into my heart.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” -Philippians 4:8
We can all agree that everything we say and do first starts as a thought, and God wants Scripture to be our filter. Filling our minds with God’s word will keep us from saying or doing things that aren’t glorifying to Him, but also it helps us to stop thinking of those things in the first place.
Let’s look at this verse again…what are we encouraged to think about?
Things that are…
Worthy of Praise
Paul is encouraging believers to sift their thoughts through this eight layer filter. Next time you feel the Holy Spirit prick your heart, question yourself as to whether what you are thinking about is pure, excellent and true. If Paul were writing to American churches today, he might compare it to the saying, “you are what you eat.” So be proactive. Just like with nutrition, it starts by making healthy choices every day. The same is true with what we put into our minds. If we are filling it with truth from Scripture, our spiritual health will be strong.
Even as I am writing this, the Holy Spirit is convicting me to put this into practice immediately. So let’s do this together. Start with a verse. Write it on your mirror, a post-it-note, or a note card. Have a copy that you can carry with you wherever you go. For a while I had a few verses I was trying to memorize in my car, and at stop-lights or when I was waiting for someone, I would try to memorize those scriptures. Ask a friend from church to be your accountability partner and check in on each other to see how your memorization is going. There are tons of ways to memorize, there is even a scripture memory app that’s free!
That verse in Philippians was how God reminded me of the importance of memorizing His Word. Is He asking you to do the same thing? Committing God’s Word to our hearts is only good. Filling our minds and hearts with His Words and promises will help us better hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives. It will help us share our faith with others more effectively, but ultimately, it will draw us closer to the heart of our Savior, our Creator, our Lord.
Philippians 4:8 is my verse right now, what’s yours?