A couple of Sundays ago, my husband preached a message about the importance of meditating and memorizing the Word of God. To illustrate his point, he asked me the day before he preached this message if I would recite from the book of James at the conclusion of his message. I swallowed hard, blinked a couple of times, nodded and said, “Sure.”
By God’s grace, I had memorized the book of James last year, and had tried to keep it fresh in my heart by frequent review. But now, knowing I would be standing before our church congregation and reciting, caused me to grab my memory cards on which the chapters are written, and begin a serious studying for the morrow. I said it with my audio Bible, I quoted as I dressed, I whispered the verses as I drove to church.
Then at about 12:00 on Sunday morning, as my husband finished his sermon he called me to the front. With the plea in my heart for God’s help, I began. “James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the twelve scribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” I paused briefly in between each chapter, and for time’s sake I only went through chapter three, which took me right at ten minutes.
After the service, and since then, as people have spoken to me about my reciting those chapters, I have been addressed with some eyebrow raising comments. The statements are from sincere people, but they are truly mistaken about how I can memorize long passages of Scripture, and it has burdened my heart with the need to set the record straight.
- I’ve been told that I have an incredible memory. Really? Then why do I have to park my car in the same aisle every time I go to Walmart? Seriously, if I park anywhere else, I end up using my key fob so I can hit the lock and hear the horn sound! No, I do not have a great memory.
- I’ve been told that I have a special gift for memorization. Why then did I have to come up with clever ways to memorize historical facts in school, and usually ended up doing fairly poorly!
- I’ve been told that I have more time than others to spend on things like memorizing Scripture. Follow me around for a day or two, you’ll change your mind. Every single day is packed full, morning til night.
- Lastly, I’ve heard over and over that memorizing just comes easy for some people. One reason I love memorizing long passages, is because I don’t have to try to remember references. I struggle with that so much! So, even that isn’t easy for me.
If all these statements are not true, how then, can I memorize long passages? It comes by hard work, discipline and God’s grace. I’ve asked the Lord in recent years to give me a greater love for His Word, and He has. Because I love it, I want it. I want more of it. I want it in my heart. Therefore, I have chosen to memorize chapters of Scripture. It is a choice to work on it every day. It is a choice to work on it throughout the day.
It’s not another thing I add to my day – it’s a part of my routine. I have the verses written on cards, and I keep those cards with me so I can work on them while I’m taking my morning walk, while I curl my hair, while I cook or iron. I do it while I’m busy with other activities that don’t necessarily require my thoughts.
Can you say the pledge of allegiance? Of course you can. How many songs do you know my heart? Do you know a riddle, rhyme or joke by memory? How many phone numbers or addresses do you know? How did you learn all that? You learned it because you said over and over again. It becomes ingrained in your mind. The same can happen with God’s Word. It is my choice to review the chapters I’ve memorized so I don’t forget them. Without review, those passages would be gone in a matter of months (maybe weeks).
What I’ve accomplished in memorization is very minimal, but that is not my point. I desire to learn more; not for memory’s sake, but so I’ll know and understand my God better; so I’ll love Him more and be better equipped to serve Him. It’s easy for each of us to make excuses as to why we can’t memorize, but by God’s grace we can. Here’s one woman who is living proof. If this forgetful 50-something lady can memorize, so can you!
If you see me strolling up and down the parking lot at Walmart, please help me find my car!
I’m currently striving to memorize the first chapter of II Peter. What are you working on?