I cannot stress too much the importance of having Christ as our first true love. Our lives today as well as our lives in the future will reflect how much we tried to keep this concept through our everyday lives. In the last article I talked about the importance of simply reading God's Word. How can we expect to live a life full of love for our Savior if we don't take the time to read what He, with His heart full of love and understanding for us and our needs, had written to tell us?
The second vital key I want to talk about in having Christ as our first true love is taking time to memorize God's Word. Proverbs talks a lot about memorizing scripture and why it's important for us to take time every day memorizing parts of the Letter of Love from our Lord.
"My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." (Proverbs 4:20-22)
"Keep them in the midst of thine heart." Isn't that beautiful? How can we keep God's Word in our hearts if we don't work to place it there? These verses make it clear that hiding God's Word in our hearts give us life and health that not many people can say they have. What I find interesting is that in the very next verse, it says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23) What is in our hearts will flow out into our daily lives, and if we have God's Word in our hearts, our lives will speak of Christ's ability to mold and grow people who open their lives to Him. The more scripture we memorize, the less room we'll have for things that aren't important and that can draw us away from our walk with the Lord.
As I was reading through and meditating on God's Word, the Lord showed me six practical points in memorizing scripture that I would like to share with you.
1.Who? Who can memorize Scripture?
Anyone and everyone! No matter how hard it is for us to memorize, we CAN do it. Prayer and focus is the key. I found that stopping before I attempted to memorize any Scripture, no matter how short or long, and asking the Lord to help me memorize and retain what I learned, really helped to get both my mind and heart open and focused on learning God's Word.
2.What? What to memorize?
I know for me, the biggest problem in memorizing Scripture is deciding what to memorize. Just open the Bible and pick a chapter! James is great because of its many references to practical living, Proverbs is full of wonderfully short, easy to grasp verses that are useful in everyday situations, Psalms is full of amazing prayers and praises that your heart can easily pick up and quote at opportune moments, what more can I say? There is a bundle of wealth between the covers of your Bible, just start memorizing!
3.When? When is the best time to memorize?
This might not seem like a practical question, but for many people it is. I find the best time for me to memorize is early in the morning, when my mind is rested and refreshed. Some people do better in the evening, or in the middle of the day. Choose a time when you can think and focus most clearly.
4.Where? Does it matter where I memorize?
Some of you may be asking, "And why did you put that point in? You can memorize anywhere!" That's right, you can, I just want to stress the point further. Printing or writing out your passage to memorize and sticking it in places where you will frequently be throughout the day, in front of the kitchen sink, over your desk, in the shower (yes, I really did this, and it works well!), and index cards in your pocket when you go for a walk, the possibilities are endless! Make it a point to go over your verses every time you see it posted somewhere.
5.Why? Why is it so important to memorize Scripture?
I spoke about this a little bit earlier, but here I wanted to point out two good reasons to memorize scripture.
1)Most importantly, it will enhance your walk with Christ.
"My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes." (Ps 119:171) Praise, adoration, prayer, testimony, witness, whatever it is, God's Word can fill and overflow anything you do in your Christian walk. You would be surprised at how much the many words you memorize come back to you at different times and in different situations, and how those verses make those moments so much more special and meaningful!
2)It will warn you of danger.
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Ps 119:11) If you are consistent in memorizing God's Word, it will warn you and keep you out of all sorts of trouble. Take my word for it, those verses WILL pop up when temptations of any sort arises, whether it be when you are about to do wrong, make bad decisions, or put yourself in a situation that may become uncomfortable or dangerous, God will warn you through His Word.
6.How? Okay, I realize I need to memorize scripture, but how?
As I mentioned before, starting with prayer is probably the most important aspect of attempting to memorize God's word.
After you have chosen your passage, whether it be a few verses or a chapter, read it through a few times to grasp the concept of the whole section.
Starting at the first verse, read through a verse or phrase aloud at least five times, then look up from the page and repeat it five times without looking. If you need to go back and read it over again, go right ahead. The point is not to memorize quickly, but to memorize effectively.
After you can say that section three to five times through without any mistakes, move on to the next verse or phrase, and do the same thing. When you can get that three to five times without mistakes, put the two parts together, saying them out loud. Repeat them together until you get them perfect, and then move on.
As you memorize larger portions of scripture, you don't have to keep going over the whole thing each time you memorize a new phrase, just the two or three verses prior to it. At the beginning and end of your memorization time, go over all of what you learned once or twice.
As you memorize more scripture, it will get easier, and you will begin to find all sorts of hidden treasures you never knew of tucked away in God's Word. May God bless you richly as you hide His precious Word in your heart!