In this last message for our series, we welcomed Joel Thomas, lead pastor at Mission Community Church in Phoenix, AZ. Joel shared with us that the things we hold onto in our hearts are reflected outwardly in the words we choose to use during our conversations. Throughout Joel’s talk, he shared the importance of storing up good things in our hearts, and memorizing scripture is one of the best ways to do that.
The meaning of change in the dictionary is “to transform or convert.” If you’re serious about being spiritually strong and mature, the greatest habit you can develop is memorizing Scripture.
When I served on the DreamTeam as a greeter, my team lead was a stickler on memorizing the theme verse and would often ask for a volunteer to repeat it to the group. Most of the time, people did not know the verse, or even know what it was, so he would remind us about the importance, as believers, to have God’s word in our hearts and minds.
From that day on in 2010 until now, memorizing and repeating the theme verses everyday has been important to me. I have found that in everyday situations, it has helped me combat the evil one from my thoughts. Knowing and sharing scripture also gives hope, comfort, and courage to people in your life. Personally, I have found that scripture comes to light from my committed memory in times when I need it most.
You can search and find different methods to memorize scripture, but for me, I relate the verse to the military clock. For example Lead Pastor Ben asked us to memorize the theme verse:
Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Using my method, 4:29 in military time is 0429 hours, then I add the book (in this instance Ephesians), and commit it to my memory. Next, I print or write the scripture out, place it on my vehicle’s dashboard, and text it to myself for a quick reference while I’m memorizing it. Finally, I say the verse before bed and first thing in the morning. Repetition is key.
C.H. Spurgeon once shared that we should carry the truth of God within ourselves, in our hearts; so that if we were dissected, there would be found the truth of God in our innermost being. Remember what the Psalmist said, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalms 119:11).
I also like to research the scripture I’m memorizing when time allows to better understand what is speaking to me about it. Making sure that I understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to me in the verses helps strengthen my memory.
When you commit scripture to memory you are equipping your heart and mind to battle against Satan’s attacks. Recalling scripture and praying it over our circumstances grows our faith, reminds us of our hope, and keeps the enemy from us.
In Matthew 4, it says that after his baptism, Christ was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus handled this temptation by quoting scripture because Satan knows the Bible as well, and knows how to distort it. But Jesus was not fooled, because Jesus not only knew the scripture but also knew how to correctly handle it.
“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
The Word of God is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training others in righteousness. Do you want to memorize as much of it as you can? How well are you doing at hearing God’s word and DOING what it says? Are you allowing God’s advocate, the Holy Spirit, guide your words toward others? When was the last time you memorized a verse in the Bible?
Memorize scripture and spend more time with God, getting to know what is on his heart. He said in John 10:27 (NIV): “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Whether you use flash cards, notes, or download an app, take the time to research what you’re memorizing to find its meaning. Attend church and join a Group with other Christ followers to support your memory.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your Word. Help us to take time to prepare our hearts not only to read your words but also to understand how to apply them to our daily lives. Help us also to shed our old ways and be truly transformed by memorizing your Word! We thank you for being the living word and for giving us the Holy Spirit to help guide us. In Jesus’ name, amen!
This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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