A goal for the New Year

I spent some time with a dear friend of mine, Tracy, back in October. We met at a local park so that her two sweet kiddos could play and we could chat. We happened upon the topic of raising children, and Tracy shared with me that she wishes she spent more time memorizing Scripture during the quiet moments before she had children. Our discussion really challenged and convicted me. Not only is memorizing Scripture of immense benefit to me, but it is a way that I can speak the Truth (Jesus is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Light…John 14:6) to my future children and teach them about the character of God.

I must admit, Scripture memorization is probably the Christian discipline that I have struggled to practice and value the most. The sheer volume of material that I had to memorize in the Navy made it so that memorizing anything else sounded extremely unpleasant. But honestly, even before I went to the Naval Academy, I did not take the time to memorize Scripture. I think I failed to acknowledge the role that the mind has in being the origin of sinful actions. The Bible is full of verses that talk about the importance of pure thoughts, the weight the Lord gives to our thought life, and how taking every thought captive can lead us to live a life of obedience to God. I will list just a few of many Scriptures that support this statement:

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (This verse directly links meditating on Scripture to a life devoid of sin.)

“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 find all of these qualities in Scripture…God’s Word is true, honorable, just, pure, etc.)

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgement.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement…You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5: 21-22, 27-28 (with an emphasis on anger and lust being wrong even when they are mere thoughts and have not yet developed into action)

So much more can be said about the importance of mental discipline in living out our faith, and I plan to tackle this topic in a future blog entry. But for now, I want to share how the Lord has blessed my initial attempts to spend more time memorizing Scripture, some practical ways that I am doing so, and ask for you to hold me accountable as we start this new year!

My friend Tracy utilizes car rides as an opportunity for her whole family to memorize Scripture, together. She uses a phone app called “Fighter Verses” that puts Bible verses to song – I love this app! Not only do these tunes easily get stuck in your head (and therefore the Scripture verses are constantly playing through your head) but the app provides ways for you to test yourself to ensure that you remember the verses that you memorized during previous weeks.

In addition to using this phone app, I joined Community Bible Study (CBS) last fall, and I was excited to learn that they have Scripture memorization as a part of the study!

It is amazing what a difference Scripture memorization has made in my day-today life. Scripture verses will come to me at critical moments, providing me with comfort or convicting me as my heart and mind stray to impure thoughts. God’s Word is beautiful and transformational! It is fully relevant for all people, in all times, and it is a Word of love and hope for those who look to Jesus as their Savior!

I have been so encouraged by Scripture memorization and my prayer is that as I plow through 2020, I will remain disciplined and my love for Christ and desire to live a life of obedience will grow as I memorize more of His Word!

Post by Brynn Gray

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